Current Issues, Events, Gardening Year, George, Hampton Court Flower Show, News, RHS

Another year, another roster of fabulous events to pack out you calendar. We’ve gathered up the best exhibitions, flower shows and festivals coming down the track, so you can start booking your tickets and grab the best deals for gardening events in 2018. We’re excited already!

gardening events 2018

2018 Gardening Events

January

27-29 Jan – Big Garden Birdwatch – Do your bit to help keep track of what’s flying around our back gardens by joining in this nationwide event.

February

10 Feb-11 Mar – Kew’s Orchid Festival – Thailand is the star of this annual celebration of the vibrant world of orchids.
13-14 Feb – RHS Early Spring Plant Fair – The first tinges of spring are in the air at this show to inspire your new year’s gardening.

March

16 MarNational Collection of Magnolias – Hear from the owner of Caehays Castle’s magnolias in a lecture and tour of the gardens.

April

6-7 Apr – RHS Orchid Show & Plant Fair – You won’t want to miss the spectacular spring plants on display at Lindley and Lawrence Halls.
13-15 Apr – RHS Flower Show Cardiff – The first major plant show of the year brings the joy and inspiration of gardening to Wales.
22-22 Apr – RHS Spring Plant Fair – Visit Hyde Hall to stock up on plants for the season ahead, with a range of specialist growers.
26-29 Apr – Harrogate Spring Flower Show – Show gardens, floral art and plants for any type of garden are all waiting for you at Harrogate.
30-6 May – National Gardening Week – Host your own event or take part in a local activity to share in this celebration of all things garden.

May

10-13 MayRHS Malvern Spring Festival – Join in with this proper family event, full of shopping, flowers and food.
22-26 MayRHS Chelsea Flower Show – The ultimate flower show that is always unmissable for any lovers of plants and garden design.
26 May-3 JunNational Children’s Gardening Week – Get the kids into gardening with fun events and activities to do.

June

1-3 JunGardening Scotland – Celebrate the joy of everything garden in Edinburgh, from inspirational designs to accessories and plants.
6-10 JunRHS Chatsworth Flower Show – Talks, floral displays, advice and shopping round out this unique garden show.
14-17 JunGardeners’ World Live – The nation’s favourite gardening programme comes to life with talks and exhibits for you to soak up.
23-24 JunWoburn Abbey Garden Show – Experience the 9th annual show at Woburn Abbey for talks, advice and lots of fun.

July

2-8 JulRHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show – Take in a historic royal landmark alongside its gorgeous gardens and plant shows.
18-22 JulRHS Flower Show Tatton Park – Experience the work of up and coming garden designers in this summer exhibition.

August

16-19 AugSouthport Flower Show – The theme is ‘Once Upon a Time’ for the country’s largest independent flower show.

September

29-30 SepRHS Malvern Autumn Show – the second annual Malvern show packs in autumn plants and cookery workshops.

October

27-28 OctRHS Urban Garden Show – City growing and houseplants are order of the day at this inspiration exhibition.

November

24 Nov-2 DecNational Tree Week – Celebrate the start of the winter tree planting season by joining in with a local project.

So there’s our gardening events 2018 calendar. Hopefully you’re now feeling inspired for the year ahead – and please do let us know if you have any more suggestions!

George at PrimroseGeorge works in the Primrose marketing team. As a lover of all things filmic, he also gets involved with our TV ads and web videos.

George’s idea of the perfect time in the garden is a long afternoon sitting in the shade with a good book. A cool breeze, peace and quiet… But of course, he’s usually disturbed by his energetic wire fox terrier, Poppy!

He writes about his misadventures in repotting plants and new discoveries about cat repellers.

See all of George’s posts.

Flowers, Gardening, Gardens, How To, Liam, Plants, Ponds, Weeding

Water HyacinthWhat to do with pond plants in winter

Pond plants are categorised as hardy or non-hardy which determines how you prepare them for winter, while for some it may be best to throw them away others can be protected and sprout again come spring. Hardy pond plants such as hardy water lilies can be moved to the deeper areas of the pond (at least 18 inches), pruned to the crown and then submerged in the water which will remain warmer than the outside air. For some non-hardy pond plants such as Water Hyacinth or Water Lettuce it may be worth simply to remove them and then replace them come spring. For more expensive non-hardy plants such as tropical Water Lilies you can place them in a tub or bucket and to move them inside to a greenhouse or garage provided the temperature remains above 12°C.

What pond plants survive winter?

Hardy Water Lilies from the Nymphaeaceae family, hardy oxygenators such as Variegated Pennywort or hardy shelf plants such as aquatic Forget-me-nots will all survive winter but how they should be prepared will differ. Depending on the plants preferred growing habitat (i.e deep water, marginal etc) these plants have different methods of preparation if they are to survive through to spring. If the plant is growing in the water, such as Rushes or Iris then you should cut to roughly 20cm above the water line ensuring that the plant does not become submerged otherwise it could drown. Hardy water Lilies or floating plants should be moved to the deepest parts of the pond as the water will stay warmer than the surrounding air. Hardy marginal or moisture loving Perennials should be cut down to as low as 5-10cm.

Water LilyWhat pond plants are the best?

Water Lilies (Nymphaeaceae) are brilliant for adding colour and a subtle beauty to your aquatic space and are among the best plants for your pond. Water forget-me-nots provide a delicate yet bright shade of blue through the summer months and are a pollinators favourite so will be sure to boost the biodiversity in the pond. Hornwort is an essential native oxygenator that will keep ponds of all sizes healthy and clean supporting aquatic life but preventing the growth of weeds and algae. There are a vast number of truly spectacular pond plants, however, depending on what function you want them to serve or what aesthetic you are trying to create some will be wholly better than others.

What pond plants are good for wildlife?

The right pond plants can make your pond a haven for wildlife; oxygenating plants help support aquatic life while floating plants and marginal plants provide shelter and spaces for animals to climb out of the water and rest. Having around 30% of the surface area of your pond covered with plants provides ample shelter while preventing the growth of weeds. Many flowering pond plants are brilliant for attracting bees including Iris stocks and Pontederia.

Pond ReedsWhat pond plants are oxygenators?

Oxygenating pond plants are those which photosynthesis underwater releasing oxygen into the water which can be incredibly beneficial to your pond supporting aquatic life and preventing the growth of weeds and algae. Varieties include Slender Club Rush Scripus cernuus which is an outstanding oxygenating plant for your pond as it retains its luscious shade of green throughout the year with tiny white flowers emerging in the summer. Common Water Starwort – Callitriche autumnalis floats on the surface growing a thick oxygenating layer providing shade and shelter for aquatic life and preventing the growth of weeds.

How to keep the water clear in a pond

The best way to keep your pond water clear is regular maintenance including removing any twigs, leaves or algae from the surface to prevent decay and regularly checking the health and vitality of your pond plants. In addition to this routinely cleaning the ponds water filter and draining your pond annually to clean the bottom and sides will go a long way to keeping your pond clean and looking great.

Water LilyWhat causes pond plants to die?

There are a number of reasons as to why you pond plant may be dying including lack of sunlight, murky or toxic water, planted at an incorrect depth or an incorrect temperature. It is important to always check the specific plant requirements and upkeep a cleaning routine to ensure the health and vitality of the pond. Make sure there is enough space between the plants and none of them are becoming too deprived of light. Remove dead plant matter and this can decay and encourage the growth of weeds which will add competition for nutrients and light. Additionally it may be necessary to check the pH of your pond water if several plants appear to be dying at the same time and to clean the bottom of any toxic sludge that has developed.

Are water lilies poisonous (to cats/dogs)?

Water lilies are not true lilies and are instead a part of the genus Nymphaea and so are not poisonous to cats but still can be poisonous to dogs if ingested in large amounts. It is, however, essential to check which species as the White Water Lily is not poisonous but the Yellow Water Lilies are poisonous. Symptoms of poisoning in cats or dogs includes lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting and depression.

If you are a fan of pond plants  head over to our website where we have many to choose from.

Liam at PrimroseLiam works in the buying team at Primrose. He is passionate about studying other cultures, especially their history. A lover of sports his favourite pass-time is football, either playing or watching it! In the garden Liam is particularly interested in growing your own food.

See all of Liams posts.

Gardening, Gardens, Megan

garden organisation - garden

It’s the start of a new year, and the perfect time to get outside and get organised in your garden. People tend to neglect their garden in January as on the surface there may not be a lot to be done. However it’s the perfect time to have a tidy up and make sure you’re ready for the year of gardening ahead! Kick start your garden organisation today!

Tidy Up Your Garden Shed

garden organisation - garden shed

We’re all guilty of it – shoving stuff into the shed, shutting the door and leaving tidying it up to another day. Well today is that day! Start by sorting through your tools, trinkets and whatever else has found its way into your shed. Make two piles: one for essentials to keep, and another to donate or recycle. Donate your unwanted tools to the Conservation Foundation with Tools Shed, who will  give your tools a new lease of life before donating them to community projects. Alternatively, drop them off at your local recycling centre.  

Once you’re sorted, trial some storage solutions. Here are some ideas:

  • Install shelving higher up for things you don’t use as much
  • Hang things up – knock hooks into your shed wall
  • Use knife magnets for smaller tools such as paintbrushes
  • Upcycle things from your kitchen – old jars and tins can be great storage solutions for smaller instruments

Sort Out Your Seeds

garden organisation - jars of seeds

As there’s less going on in your garden during January, considering sorting through your seed collection. Consider throwing old seeds – 3 to 5 years old – into the compost because even though they may grow you will get a very low germination rate.

Now it’s time to organise the seeds that have survived your compost purge! If you prefer to keep seeds in their original packaging, grab an old shoe box. Use old cardboard to create dividers and write categories on each one. Alternatively, fill old glass jars or glass food storage containers with seeds and add labels to them. This provides a more visual storage solution.

Plan For The Year Ahead

Step outside into your garden and have a good look around. Is there corner empty for a potential raised bed? A space for a tree to be planted? Whatever you’re hoping for this year, write it down and start planning! January is the perfect time to come up with ideas, however crazy, to transform and improve your garden. Have a look at our post on redesigning your garden for some more inspiration.

Megan at PrimroseMegan works in the Primrose marketing team. When she is not at her desk you will find her half way up a hill in the Chilterns
or enjoying the latest thriller series on Netflix. Megan also enjoys cooking vegetarian feasts with veggies from her auntie’s vegetable garden.

See all of Megan’s posts.

Flowers, Gardening, Liam, Plants, Trees

Rowan TreeThe Rowan tree, sometimes commonly referred to as the ‘Mountain Ash’ has become an incredibly popular tree in the UK; especially in urban spaces as they are known to thrive in harsh conditions with compact growing habits. You may have very well spotted a few, especially as during this time of year as they display attractive bunches of red, orange, or even white berries. Rowan trees are typically distinguishable by their pinnate green leaves,  white flowers in spring and brightly coloured berries in autumn and winter.

 

The similarities between the Rowan and the Ash, and given that Rowan’s are found at much higher altitudes is what gave it the name ‘Mountain Ash’. However, the Rowan is in the genus Sorbus of the rose family Rosaceae and completely unrelated to the Ash which is a part of the Oleaceae family.

 

Rowan is typically the name associated with the European variety Sorbus aucuparia which derives from the Latin word sorbus for ‘service tree’ and aucuparia which is formed from the words avis for ‘bird’ and capere for ‘catching’. Rowan trees were traditionally used in game hunting as many birds were attracted to the tree’s berries.

 

There are other varieties however as the Sorbus genus can be found throughout much of the Western hemisphere including Asia. Sorbus commixta or ‘Japanese Rowan’ is the species native to Japan and Korea where it is known as nana-kamado, literally translates to ‘seven (times in the) stove’ as the wood is robust and can be used several times in fires. Additionally there is the Sorbus aria, or ‘Whitebeam’ which hails its name from the lightly coloured timber it produces.

Rowan Tree FlowersDespite being popular in more modern urban spaces the Rowan Tree has held a special place in our collective imaginations for centuries. The European Rowan is richly documented in folklore as protecting people from evil and demonic spirits and would be commonly referred to as the ‘Wicken Tree’ or ‘Witch Wood’. It is for this reason that Victorian writers commented on people, especially in Scotland, having Rowan trees planted outside of their homes. S. aucuparia has also been known as the ‘wayfarer’s tree’ and the ‘traveller’s tree’ as it protected travellers on treacherous journeys and prevented them from getting lost.

 

One thing is almost universal about the Rowan and that is that they are adored by wildlife. Come Autumn all manner of birds will gorge themselves readying for winter. In their natural form, however, the berries are far too bitter for human consumption. They can be freezed however to break down the acids and then cooked to make jams, chutney, jelly or even a wine!

 

‘The whitebeams are members of the Rosaceae family, comprising subgenus Sorbus… They are deciduous trees with simple or lobed leaves… They are related to the rowans and are thought to derive from hybrids between S. aria and the European rowan S. aucuparia.’ Called white beam due to the white colouring on the underside of the leaf.

Rowan Tree Berry

Sorbus aucuparia ‘Apricot Queen

Blooms profusely white flowers between April and May followed by apricot coloured berries and fiery red autumn foliage. This particular variety is hardy against harsh conditions including pollution and so makes a tough attractive tree in urban settings. Initially brought into the UK for commercial growing during the 1980s it has become widely popular today.

 

Sorbus aucuparia ‘Asplenifolia’

More commonly known as the Cut Leaved Mountain Ash the leaves of this cultivar are particularly serrated. Providing rich tones of orange and red during the Autumn there is also a charming display of quite large crimson berries.

 

Rowan Tree BerrySorbus vilmorinii

Named after the 19th century French Horticulturalist Maurice de Vilmorin this variety originates from Western China including the mountainous region of Tibet. Blooming quite large white flowers in Spring it produces particularly huge pink berries during the Autumn.

 

Sorbus Commixta ‘Embley’

Often referred to as the ‘Scarlet Japanese Rowan’ this cultivar is renowned for its fiery Autumn displays. It was initially brought to the UK during the 1880s from Japan and has been a popular cultivar ever since, both for people and for the birds who love to feed on its orange berries.

 

Sorbus aria ‘Lutescens’

This Whitebeam variety was initially brought to Britain from a French Nursery and then commercially grown from 1885. When the leaves emerge in Spring both sides of the leaf are covered in miniscule downy hairs giving it them a stunning white glow. As the seasons progress it loses the hairs on top of the leaf but retains a white underside accompanied by orange fruit in the late summer and a golden Autumn display in early Autumn.

 

Sorbus aucuparia ‘Joseph Rock

This particular cultivar of Rowan is named after the Austrian Botanist Joseph Rock who explored different parts of Asia throughout the 1920s bringing back different plants and introducing them to the West. The Autumn colours are particularly striking on this attractive tree; the fiery red leaves juxtapose beautifully with the creamy-white berries.

 

Rowan TreeSorbus aucuparia ‘Sheerwater Seedling’

Horticultural journalist Noel Kingsbury lists the ‘Sheerwater Seedling’ as one of the most ideal ornamental trees for urban and tight spaces. It is easy to see why; it is one of the most compact rowan tree’s available and yet still provides the charming pinnate foliage along with profuse bunches of red berries.

 

Sorbus hupehensis ‘Pink Pagoda’

The name literally means ‘Hupeh Rowan’ or ‘Hubei Rowan’ which derives from Hubei Province in China from which this sub-genus originates. It has also been commonly referred to as the Chinese Mountain Ash. The beautiful blue-green pinnate foliage acts as a fantastic backdrop for the vast bunches of pink berries which in many cases pull the branches down, hence ‘Pink Pagoda’.

 

Sorbus thuringiaca ‘Fastigiata’

The S. thuringiaca is a cross between the aira and the aucuparia grown initially at the start of the 20th century in York. ‘Fastigiata’ comes from the word ‘fastigiate’ which simply means to have a very columnar growth habit. This particular variety is noted for its spectacular Spring display of white-clustered flowers.

 

Sorbus aucuparia ‘Beissneri’

Known simply as the ‘Common Rowan’ it is identifiable by all the quintessential traits of a European Rowan. In Spring lush green leaves  appear along with clusters of snow-white flowers and then scarlet red berries during the late summer.

 

Rowan Tree BerrySorbus aucuparia ‘Chinese Lace’

‘Chinese Lace’ is actually a European Rowan and not a Chinese Rowan. The name instead reflects the fine foliage which hangs of the branches in a lace-like fashion. The leaves have deep serrations and are known to turn a beautiful burgundy shade come Autumn usually accompanied with bunches of scarlet berries.

 

Sorbus cashmiriana ‘Kashmir Rowan’

A unique cultivar of Rowan hailing from Kashmir in the Himalayan mountains it is most readily distinguishable by the large white berries it produces. These berries can be as large as half an inch and they’re bound to stay on the tree for much longer as birds do not seem to enjoy them. The flowers too are larger than European and Japanese Rowans and are also slightly tinted pink making it an unusual and spectacular ornamental Rowan.

 

Awarded RHS’s Award for Garden Merit ‘Eastern Promise’ has become a popular tree here in Britain due to its tough, hardy nature and its pristine, compact growing habit. Like many other Rowans it is well suited to the urban and confined environment and is distinguishable by the pink shade of its tiny berries.

 

If you are a fan of Rowan trees head over to our website where we have many to choose from.

Liam at PrimroseLiam works in the buying team at Primrose. He is passionate about studying other cultures, especially their history. A lover of sports his favourite pass-time is football, either playing or watching it! In the garden Liam is particularly interested in growing your own food.

See all of Liams posts.