Flowers, Gardening, How To, Plants

The-best-hanging-basket-plants

Able to be filled with a mix of plants throughout the year, hanging baskets are a wonderful tool for ornamenting the outside of your home. Unlike plants growing in the beds of a garden, they are less likely to suffer from harsh weather, soil problems, or worrisome pests. However, with so many varieties available, you may feel unsure on which plants to buy. Why not read on for a helpful guide on choosing the best hanging basket plants? 

How many plants per hanging basket?

We believe that five plants per 30cm basket is best, as it allows plenty of space for each plant to grow (which is necessary for a bountiful arrangement). You can add more plants if you wish, but for summer baskets especially, it is good to cultivate your plants early on. As such, more space is always better. Popular summertime plants such as Fuchsias and Geraniums can also be quite vigorous, so will take up greater space. 

How long do hanging baskets last?

Hanging baskets are typically made to last for a single season. However, particular varieties, such as Pansies belonging to the ‘Cool Wave’ series, will flower ceaselessly from autumn to summer. Nonetheless, you may want to switch up your baskets to achieve looks that are unique to each season. This guide will therefore suggest the best hanging basket plants for both summer and winter. 

The Best Hanging Basket Plants for Summer

The-best-hanging-basket-plants

Petunia Surfinia

Sporting pretty, often dual-toned blooms, Petunia Surfinias are a favourite for adorning driveways and patio spaces with a graceful display. Despite their unfortunate introduction to botany in the 1500s (where they were considered demonic!), Petunias have become one of the most popular bedding plants around. 

Unlike regular Petunias, Petunia Surfinias don’t need to be deadheaded, so are perfect for the less attentive gardener. Thirsty plants, they should be watered when the top two inches of soil becomes dry to the touch. In very warm weather, don’t be afraid to water them twice a day.

The-best-hanging-basket-plants

Begonia x tuberhybrida

Highly floriferous, Tuberous Begonias are treasured by gardeners for their rose-like blooms. Their generous flowering period (spanning from June to October) also makes them invaluable for sustaining floral interest when gardens quieten down for the colder months. 

Flourishing in cooler conditions, and tolerant of a little more shade, Tuberous Begonias are well suited for the English climate. One of our favourite varieties is Solenia ‘Orange’, as it has sturdy branches that withstand strong winds, which will neither be weighed down by their abundant flowers. Aside from having orange flowers that are fitting for autumn, this variety is also resistant to mildew.

The-best-hanging-basket-plants

Fuchsia

Discovered by Charles Plumier in the late 1600s, Fuchsias will always make striking additions to pots and flower beds. When planted in a hanging basket, their trailing bell-shaped flowers create bold vertical interest, but for the most prolific display, why not combine them with Petunias or Pelargoniums?

Flowering repeatedly until autumn, Fuchsia ‘Annabel’ will add a distinct touch to your garden with its blush-white flowers. 

The Best Hanging Basket Plants for Winter

The-Best-Hanging-Basket-Plants

Primula ‘Woodland Rose’

With heart-shaped petals gathered around a vibrant yellow centre, Primula ‘Woodland Rose’ is reminiscent of the classic Primrose. Flowering in January and February, it is a great plant for incorporating some romantic colour into your winter garden. It pairs particularly well with white Viola varieties, and harmonises beautifully with the unique foliage of Cineraria ‘Silver Dust’. To keep your Primrose flourishing, remove any spent flowers and dead leaves that appear.

The-best-hanging-basket-plants

Pansies

Admired by gardeners for their intricately marked blooms that resemble a face, Pansies are a great way to add charm to your garden. With a low growing habit, Pansies also make manageable hanging basket plants. Nevertheless, their flowering period (lasting as long as eight months) is arguably their most noteworthy quality. Why not embrace some fiery tones with Pansy ‘Fire’? Or alternatively create a cooler theme with Pansy ‘Marina’?

The-best-hanging-basket-plants

Cyclamen

With unique, butterfly-like blooms, that stand atop their silver variegated leaves, Cyclamen are a classic winter plant. Their upright habit proves a welcome change from the trailing blooms of Geraniums, Fuchsias, and Petunias. As such, they are ideal for neater schemes. Why not plant Cyclamen with Ivy to enjoy a basket filled with handsome foliage?

When watering Cyclamen, you should take care to not water them from the top, as this can risk rotting. Instead, try to water at the base of the plant, which helps the water travel directly to their roots.

Hanging Basket Plants: Common Questions

The-best-hanging-basket-plants

How often should you water hanging baskets?

When the soil of your basket becomes dry to the touch, your plants are ready to be watered. Come summer when the weather warms up, you can comfortably water your hanging baskets once a day.

Can you plant bulbs in a hanging basket?

Dwarf bulb varieties (such as dwarf Narcissus) will complement your hanging baskets towards the end of the season. You could start off a winter basket with Cyclamen and Pansies, and plant your dwarf Narcissus bulbs underneath. As winter concludes, the Narcissus can take centre stage to mark the beginning of spring.

How do you stop hanging baskets from drying out?

To help your basket retain moisture, it should be no smaller than 30cm, and be lined with coco liner. Coco liners are excellent at retaining water, and are also environmentally friendly.

Can you use bin liners to line hanging baskets?

Yes, bin liners are suitable for a hanging basket. They aren’t as sightly as a coco liner, but if you poke some holes in, they will do the job.

 

 

Flowers, Gardening, Grow Your Own, How To, Plants

A-guide-to-jasmine-plant-care

Noted for their sweetly scented blooms and exquisite foliage, Jasmine plants have been long adored by gardeners. Flourishing in both sun and part shade, Jasmine varieties can enshroud a trellis with a floral blanket, be pruned into a decorative hedge, and even be grown indoors. Despite such versatility however, Jasmine plants still warrant vigilant care. Whether you are considering getting a Jasmine plant, or already have one, this guide covers everything you need to know on Jasmine plant care. 

How to Plant Jasmine

Before you plant your Jasmine, you should seek a warm, sheltered site that receives full sun or part shade. Different species of Jasmine may prefer one or the other. For example, Winter Jasmine is better suited to a south east or north west aspect, while Summer Jasmine will thrive in a sunny south-facing aspect. 

If you are planting your Jasmine straight in your garden, opt for an area with moist, well-drained soil. If the soil appears too rich, add some grit to the planting hole to boost drainage. It is also important that your Jasmine is planted in fertile soil, so we advise you to supplement with compost or well-rotted manure. Taking no more than a handful, sprinkle some compost or manure in the planting hole. By doing this, your Jasmine’s roots can enjoy a steady supply of nutrients. 

A useful thing to know about Jasmine plant care is that an attentive, watchful approach is always best. Jasmine plants are low maintenance and typically don’t fall victim to pests and disease. However, it is essential that you establish their desired habit of growth early on. 

To train your Jasmine to climb up a wall or fence, angle a cane so that it’s leaning on a trellis. Once your Jasmine has reached a height that matches this structure, it can continue to climb upwards. This is caused by arising chemical changes which result in their stems intertwining with the trellis. 

If you are planting your Jasmine in a pot, a cane can again be used to promote a tall, upward habit. Depending on the look you wish to achieve, a compact, bushier look can be created by regular pruning. 

How to Care for Jasmine

A-guide-to-jasmine-plant-care

Once your Jasmine has been planted, you should apply a high-potash feed once a week in summer. This will encourage healthy foliage and flowers, and additionally mitigate any risks of pests and disease. Nevertheless, be cautious when feeding, as too much can result in overly lush growth (and a higher amount of nitrogen hinders blooming). Your Jasmine plant should also be watered regularly during its growing season, and come autumn, it is beneficial to mulch around the base of your Jasmine. This can be done with well-rotted manure, leaf mould, or compost.

A crucial part of Jasmine plant care is pruning; this promotes healthy growth and maintains a desirable shape. It also deters bothersome pests (particularly infestations that are caused by animals). 

It is best to prune right after your Jasmine has flowered, as this allows maximum time for the vines to establish new growth for the next year of flowering. As young Jasmine plants are shy bloomers, you should avoid pruning too drastically. Try to spare as much of your plant as possible (there’s no harm in letting your young Jasmine plant grow a little freely). We simply advise that you:

  • Remove any stems that appear diseased or dead (if older appearing stems are no longer showing signs of flowering, they can also be removed). 
  • You can also remove heavily tangled stems, and carefully separate lightly tangled stems to maintain manageability. 
  • Remove stems that are growing away from your desired direction, or shorten them to create a compact appearance. 

Jasmine Plant Care: Common Questions

A-guide-to-jasmine-plant-care

Does Jasmine need a trellis?

In order to climb, your Jasmine plant will need a supporting structure. This is most commonly a trellis. Jasmine plants cannot climb a wall, but when trained to a trellis, they can grow up to two metres in a single season! If you do not want your Jasmine to climb, it will happily grow in a pot. Why not have it as a house plant to enjoy the heavenly scent indoors?

Do Jasmine plants lose their leaves in winter?

Jasmine plants can either be deciduous, or semi-evergreen (if they are growing in milder climates). It is probable that your Jasmine plant will lose leaves at some point, and this shouldn’t be a cause for concern. If your Jasmine’s leaves are beginning to dry up and fall off however, you are likely under-watering. 

Can I propagate my Jasmine plant? 

Yes, your Jasmine can propagated from hardwood cuttings taken in wintertime. To do so, collect 15cm cuttings from the stem tips of your Jasmine plant (each one should be cut below a leaf). You can also propagate your Jasmine by planting any seeds it produces. 

When should I plant my Jasmine?

You can begin growing Summer Jasmine in spring or autumn, and Winter Jasmine in autumn or winter. The care for both Summer and Winter Jasmine will be the same (but always factor in their differing flowering periods). 

Should I deadhead my Jasmine plant?

Yes, it is wise to remove any spent blooms from your Jasmine plant. The flowers can be pinched off, but why not use them for herbal tea making or fragrant floral arrangements? 

Is Winter Jasmine a Shrub?

Winter and Summer Jasmine are of a different species. Winter Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) is classified as a winter flowering shrub, while Summer or Common Jasmine (Jasminum officinale) is recognised as a vine, and flowers from summer through to autumn.

Garden Design, Gardening, Make over, Outdoor Living, Uncategorized

As we enter the second lockdown of the year, our gardens and outdoor spaces come back into the spotlight. With shorter days and falling temperatures, it might seem like they’re done for the year – but that’s far from the truth. Getting outside is a key way to boost your mental health and get some exercise, even as we approach winter. Here are some top tips on how to make your garden as inviting in the winter and is it in the summer.     

Get Ahead Of Garden Maintenance

Gardening is great for mental and physical health, it can be physically demanding and it keeps your mind occupied. There is also something satisfying about setting a goal for the day and meeting it. These little wins are important when you can’t distract yourself by visiting friends and family and there is still plenty to do in the garden at this time of year. You don’t need a big space to keep your fingers green, and there are a lot of things you can grow on a balcony or in a windowsill. 

See our full list of November gardening jobs here.

Got a small space? – Find out how to get started with balcony or windowsill gardening.

Decorate for Christmas

In a year where a lot has been cancelled, there is one thing that never will be – Christmas. Celebrating may feel a bit out of place this year, but this is a time to focus on those relationships that have gotten us through,  let our hair down and enjoy ourselves.  A lot of people are decorating early to extend the festive season and end the year on a happy note. Why not join in the fun and deck your garden out with a festive display that will delight your neighbours and give you an oasis of festive cheer. 

Find the perfect decorations for your garden. 

Want to add the personal touch? –  We’ll show you how to make your own wreath this year.

Introduce Some Winter Interest Plants

Summer is the only time of the year where you can relax in a colourful garden, right? Of course not. The winter garden can be just as colourful and interesting as vibrant summer beds or trailing hanging baskets. This year the garden is the easiest to access space you have, so why not bring out its full potential in every season?  There are a lot of plants whose true colour only comes out when the rest of the garden has gone dormant. As leaves drop, colourful stems, textured bark and bright berries become more prominent. The effect is just like something you’d find on a Christmas card, and it makes your space unique

and relaxing – a great way to add a unique stamp to your space and bring it alive year-round.

Not sure what to plant at this time of the year? – Check out our guide here  or 

see all our favourite winter interest plants.

Create A Cosy Space

 

The patio is one of the best places to relax, but as we move closer to winter we often abandon it for central heating. This year, our need for more space should lead us to look at the patio in a new light. Can you relax outside when it’s cold? Of course, you can, and some of our top tips on how to get it right. 

Make it intimate – the key to getting that cosy feeling is to make space feel smaller. This is really easy to do with a balcony or courtyard, but if you have a larger garden use screens,  sail shades,   gazebos or arbours to section off the space and protect it from the elements. 

Add ambience – contrasting shadows and moving lights enhance the feeling of a small space. Add string lights or a fire pit or chiminea to the mix and space will instantly feel more relaxed. 

Heat it up – fire pits and chimineas bring atmosphere, but also heat to your space. If you don’t have the room or budget for one why not consider a heater. 

Accessorise –  The final touch is to add a few accessories to soften and fill the space. Throws and cushions are great for your garden furniture and outdoor rugs look wonderful if your patio of decking contrasts with the rest of your aesthetic.

Let us help you design your ideal cosy space here.

What are you doing in your garden this lockdown? let us know on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram

 

 

 

Current Issues, How To, Indoor, Indoor Plants

 

 With 40% of office workers expecting to remain working from home in 2021 the need to make our homes more suitable for this new way of working is important for our wellbeing and productivity. Creating an effective working environment in the home that doesn’t get in the way of the rest of your life can be a challenge, but it’s one that can be overcome in any home in a few simple steps. Here are our top tips for setting up a successful home office. 

Pick a Place With Natural Light 

 

Your space needs to be bright enough to see what you’re doing, but not too bright that it’s distracting. Setting up your workspace near a source of natural light is a great option, it increases productivity and is an effective way of boosting your mood. 

But don’t forget lamps –  towards the end of the year your working hours will likely be longer than the time the sun is out in full, and if you work in the evening or early morning your contact with natural light will be smaller. A great way to overcome this is to put a lamp near your workspace. A floor-standing lamp that is placed a bit away from your works station is the best option, but if you are on a budget or don’t have space, a table lamp or your room’s main light will work well enough. If you can, choose a cool-white bulb as they keep you more alert for longer whilst warmer lights can make you feel more sleepy. 

Separate The Space 

Creating a distinction between home and work is important for your mental health and well being. Your leisure and family time needs to be just that, and it is far too easy to want to check emails and take calls when your computer is on your sofa or in the bedroom. For those of us with a spare room, a dedicated home office is the best option, but for those with a busy family home or a small flat, this can be a bit more difficult. The number one rule should be to keep your home office as far away from the busiest part of the home as possible. If you have a busy, kitchen set up in the living room or vice versa. Try to find somewhere where you can physically separate, but a quiet corner will do just as well.

But I like background noise – a lot of people have grown used to the bustle of a busy office and need it to focus. The temptation can be to turn on the TV and have it running in the background, but this can be fatal to your productivity. We are more easily distracted by visual things, so if you need background noise consider a radio instead. 

Add Houseplants

Houseplants, especially air-purifying ones are an important addition to your home working space. They bring all the benefits of a garden indoors and with climbing and tall plants available they are a viable option for all sized spaces. Houseplants also:

  1. Reduce stress
  2. Increase productivity
  3. Make the place more attractive 
  4. Clean the air and reduce noise

Even one or two plants can improve your space. Find a houseplant that works for you and enjoy a better environment.

Get a Good Chair

Back pain and bad posture will affect concentration, blood pressure and general health. The chair you sit on for 40 hours a week is very important to your life overall. A good office chair should offer back support, be comfortable and be high enough to put your feet flat on the floor whilst sitting

Take Breaks 

47% of employees have reported a decrease in breaks taken during the workday. When you’re home already it can feel unnecessary to take time out to recharge and relax, but a whole day of uninterrupted work will most likely lead to less productivity and an increase to stress. Take the time out to make a hot drink and relax.      

We’d love to see how your working from home. Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!