Tag Archives | perennial

Thrifty Gardening

Gardening is an area where there are many ways of saving money or reducing costs. A thrifty approach to gardening is not only possible it is highly desirable particularly in the early stages of gardening. It would be easy to buy the most expensive and decorative plants in the garden centre only to find that you didn’t know what you were letting yourself in for. The plant may die or fail in some other way because you didn’t understand its needs and the care required to look after it. So ask for advice.

Pelargonium grandiflorum

Extra Plants for Free

  1. Increase your own stock by collecting seeds from annuals and plants you like. Leave a few vegetables to ‘run to seed’ e.g. peas and beans are good examples – at the end of the season let them grow until the seed pod is mature then collect and separate to dry the beans or peas and sow them again in spring.
  2. Increase your own stock by taking cuttings. Don’t worry about the occasional failure but take enough cuttings to cover losses.
  3. Increase stock by dividing up large clumps of plants. Many plants like Iris need this division treatment to remain healthy.
  4. Local horticultural and gardening clubs, neighbours, church fairs, friends, and family are good sources of cuttings, seeds and cheap but healthy plants.
  5. Look in your own garden for self sown plants I had some great cowslips in the garden when I arrived probably from seeds dropped by birds.
  6. Seeds or cuttings collected from positions where they are not needed to maintain the environment. (That is not to encourage theft from gardens or damage to the environment but there are many occasions when an opportunity won’t cause any problem)

Save on Consumables and Equipment

  1. Water is costly when metered so mulch rather than water. Water key plants individually and deeply. Collect rainwater in a barrel.
  2. Make your own seed pots from old packaging, margarine tubs, yoghurt pots or paper towel roll ends.
  3. If you have several old marked labels clean then in a jar of bleach to be able to reuse.
  4. Use organic slug control methods which tend to be free or cheap.

Top Gardeners Tip
Grow what gives you pleasure but if you can eat it or use it instead of buying something, like a bunch of flowers or present then you will get double value & pleasure.


Stinking Iris foetidissima

There are sweeter smelling plants but the seed heads of Iris foetidissima are a striking orange at the end of the season when there is less colour in the garden. Before opening the seed heads swell to a bulbous green head that cracks open to reveal masses of red, orange or yellow berries that the birds seem to leave alone of long periods well into winter.

The sword like leaves are very tough and this iris can thrive on neglect. Eventually clumps need chopping down as the centre becomes congested. Dead leaves need tidying but are evergreen.

Knock Knock

Who is there


Iris who

Irish stew in the name of the law

Read more about Iris on Gardeners Tips.


Plants with strong smells are often using the aroma to attract pollinators.

What is unpleasant to some people can be OK to others.


Best Foxtail Lilies Eremurus

The best Foxtail Lilies can grow to 7 feet tall and form clumps of outstanding spires of star shaped flowers with showy stamens.

Best Varieties

Eremurus robustus only flowers for three weeks or so, but for that brief period it can be the star of any garden.
Eremurus stenophyllus has bright yellow flowers with orange tiped stamens giving a two tone effect as they mature. The plant looks spectacular in prairie style planting and has earned an AGM.
Eremurus Ruiter hybrid ‘White Beauty Favourite’ has tapering blooms that can last for several weeks as cut flowers.
Eremurus cultivars such as Cleopatra can have orange or peach coloured flowers.
Eremurus × isabellinus Shelford hybrids

Growing Tips

Eremurus needs good drainage, full sun and a cold snap in winter to induce flowering.
Shelter from strong winds to protect the tall blooms.
The root system is fascinating with a central growing point which is encircled by fleshy, finger-thick tapering roots. These should be planted in a shallow hole but on top of a mound of sharp sand.
Foxtail Lilies grow away quickly in spring, forming a rosette of bluish-green strap-shaped leaves up to 4ft high, from which the flower spike rises during late April to flower in May. The flowers open progressively from the bottom of the spike.
After flowering allow the plant to die back and remain dormant until next spring.
Use a mulch that stays fairly dry such as shingle or bark and this can protect new growth from frost.
To help Foxtail Lilies self-seed, leave the flower spike standing into autumn and the seeds will ripen and drop.

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Growing Hellebore in 2016


Hellebores are doing very well this year. The combination of the last cold winter, warm spring and now wet winter again has brought out the flowers in profusion. The Niger or Christmas rose is one of the earliest white flowers but many hybrids are now available.

Tips on Growing Hellebore

  • Buy plants in flower so you know what colour you are getting. Hellebore is very promiscuous and plants grown from seed may be crossed with other less suitable plants.
  • Try grow plants in a raised area so you can look up at the flowers which tend to have droopy flowerheads. Continue Reading →

Growing Top Ten Easy Patio Roses


What is a Patio Rose if it isn’t a rose grown on a patio?
Patio roses grow bigger and bushier than miniatures and are about 14 -24 inch high, yet they are perfectly formed. H.T. Bush and Floribunda roses grow bigger but Patio roses are easy and decorative.

Patio Roses are easy for growing in small spaces and can be useful in many other garden locations. They can be grown in containers and pots or just planted near your front door.

Patio rose

Easy Places to Grow Patio Roses

Edging plants in front of other plants or in a narrow border on their own.
Some varieties make an attractive small hedge.
They all look well planted in groups 3-5-7 of each variety.
They are not house plants and are as hardy as larger roses.
Patio Roses are great for tubs and containers but remember to feed, water and mulch them.
Combined with summer bedding plants they will flower all summer long.

Patio Rose - Birthday Wishes

Growing Tips For Patio Roses

Minimum pruning in late February or March will help keep them tidy.
Plant in full sun for the best show.
They are of course totally hardy and being perennials will appear year after year.
Roses are outdoor plants and do not survive in the house.

More information from Amazon in ‘Growing Miniature and Patio Roses’ by Dawn and Barry Eagle £6.99

Rose in our patio in Berwick upon Tweed

Top Ten Repeat flowering Patio Roses

Some special varieties providing a great display of colour and scent include:

  1. Loving Wishes A free flowering rose with good disease resistance and scented, scarlet-red blooms
  2. Golden Wishes The flowers are golden yellow with a slight fragrance and 14″ tall
  3. Flower Power produces peach-salmon blooms with a spicy scent
  4. Golden Anniversary Large fragrant golden rounded flowers with yellow centres from summer to autumn. Upright bush habit.
  5. Red or Yellow Sunblaze,
  6. Sweet Dreams, or  Sweet Magic,
  7. Charmant,
  8. Flirt,
  9. Diamond Wishes
  10. One of the smaller varieties is not surprisingly called Peter Pan.

There seems to be a named patio rose for most birthday and anniversary event if you shop around – that is modern marketing for you.

More information from Amazon in ‘Growing Miniature and Patio Roses’ by Dawn and Barry Eagle £6.99

See also Top Ten Old Roses

Patio rose by Charles D P Miller CC BY 2.0
Patio Rose – Birthday Wishes by jovike CC BY-NC 2.0
Rose in our patio in Berwick upon Tweed by Karen V Bryan CC BY-ND 2.0


Tips on Growing Thrift – Armeria Maritima

Armeria juniperfolia x maritima

Armeria maritima has many local names and is also known as Sea Pink, Cliff Clover, Ladies’ Cushions, Heugh (or cliff) daisy, Armeria juniperifolia or Marsh daisy and Sea thrift.
The colour of the 1″ ball shaped flowers varies from white Alba through pink and mauve to dark red.
The clumps of dark green foliage form good mounds useful for contrast of shape in a rock garden. The densely packed grass like leaves are up to 5 inches long.
Thrift is a perennial but if it browns in the center split the plant.

Cultivation Tips

Thrift grows well in dry, sandy soil or low fertility soil.
It is very salt tolerant hence its appearance as a wild flower along the coast.
Take basal cuttings in summer or divide large clumps in Autumn.
They need full sun all day but can tolerate dry, windy conditions.
Thrift flowers in spring through summer. Remove spent flowers to encourage more blooms.


Varieties to consider and Other Names

  • Thrift is also known as Sea Pink, Armeria Maritima, Sea Pink,
  • Armeria maritima alba is a white variety
  • Splendens is the best Pink variety.
  • Bloodstone is dark red.
  • Vindictive is light pink and has an AGM from RHS
  • Laucheana has dark green foliage with bright pink flowers
  • Rubrifolia ihas dark bronze grass-like foliage turning deep red in winter and a cluster of pink globe shaped flowers

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Euryops Yellow Daisy

Daisy daisy give me fine leaves too


Growing one foot high Euryops acraeus or Euryops evansii is a dwarf shrub that makes a neat and compact plant. In summer the grey mounds of leaves are covered with small bright-yellow daisies that have an even deeper-yellow in the centre.
It is a tough plant that survives all but the most extreme summer conditions including moderate but not prolonged drought. It can rot if too wet and unfortunately it isn’t reliably winter hardy. Propagated by stem cuttings that can be overwintered inside. They are being promoted by the horticultural trade and are progressively available at garden centers in the spring so expect to see more around.

Other Euryops, and there are around 100 species, can grow into small trees but due to winter frailty I can not recommend any varieties.

Euryops look good in groups of 3 and they are a suitable filler for cottage or perennial gardens. If your garden can use a shot of bright yellow all season long then give Euryops a trial.


Fastia – Fastia Japonica

High five these palmate leaves of Fastia japonica

This Fastia was grown indoors as a houseplant then planted in the garden where it thrives to the point where it is now flowering at the end of summer.
It is several years old, 4 feet tall & wide and is very happy in a shaded north facing position.

When you have finished with some old house plants you can try to give them a new life outdoors. If they fail you have lost nothing. I have several former foliage house plants in a low maintenance area of the garden where I let plants get on with it for themselves.

The evergreen finger shaped leaves are larger than a hand and create a sculptural plant. I haven’t studied the flowers before but they are neat and simple spheres.

Sorry this photograph has a blue cast from a near by wall.


Heuchera Uses, Facts and Varieties

I am hoping for some coloured Heucheras for Fathers day later this month – well hope is free!

Uses of Heuchera

  • Heuchera are commonly used as specimen plants or in small groups of the same variety.
  • They are at home in woodland gardens, rock gardens or as groundcover.
  • Heuchera are useful in patio pots or as components in mixed containers. They are often used at this time of year for winter containers
  • Flower panicles make fine additions to cut flower arrangements.
  • Heuchera attracts butterflies.
  • Heuchera consists of over 50 species and there are many new varieties so you could make a study and collection of these interesting plants.

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