Archive | Flowers and Plants

Annual, perennial and interesting flowers with advice on culture, information, tips and recommended varieties

Winter Moth Problems on Fruit Trees

Fruit trees can be a winter home for a range of female moths. Amongst them are woolly aphis and capsid bugs plus other pests that emerge from the ground. They crawl up fruit tree stems and trunks in October to lay their eggs. The caterpillars hatch in spring and feed on the foliage and fruit.

Prevention and Treatment

  • To check the progress of these pests a barrier can be erected. Some fruit growers use a band of paper covered in tacky grease.
  • Tubes of special grease are now available specially for older fruit trees with rough bark where grease bands are less effective as pests can crawl under the band. Alternatively the bark can be smoothed first.
  • Winter moth and mottled umber moth need an  application at the beginning of winter before adult female moths climb trees to lay eggs. Apply again in summer to protect against ant infestations.
  • Rentokill call their product ‘Glue Bands’.
  • Grease any support stakes and low hanging branches.

Other Tips

  • Fix the grease band 1 ft below the lowest branch. Paint the stem with lime wash above the grease band.
  • Reapply after 2-3 months or renew the grease effect.
  • Also suitable for ornamental trees that are susceptible to infestation.
  • Keep bands free of dead leaves.



Chionodoxa Bulbs to Plant in August


  • Chionodoxa or Glory of the snow are hardy, early flowering bulbs to plant before the end of August.The bulbs appreciate a bit of warmth to get going.
  • Chionodoxa grow 6-8″ high and thrive in ordinary soil .
  • Plant 2-3″ deep in rockeries or borders.
  • Alternatively plant closely in a pot of loam. Keep in a cold frame until growth is visible the take into a greenhouse or windowsill for a good display of bright blue flowers.
  • Water regularly after the emerging of foliage until the leaves die.

ChindoxiaFor the specialist there are a dozen different varieties to investigate and grow. Potentially the basis of a fine collection. See more detail and a list of species here

Chionodoxa need water in the spring so if the ground is dry

Chionodoxa forbesii 雪光花


Lily Ponds Starting to Look Good

July is the season to look out for mature lilies in older ponds. There is nothing to beat the calming influence of a white lily on a pond of still water. Of course not all ponds are and remain tranquil. This smaller pond on Filey cliff tops acts as an advertising hoarding for ice cream. Who invented ice cream for dogs? It is already enough to encourage kids to splash in the pond never mind dogs.

 Waterlily Tips

  • Waterlilies need a position in full sun to flower at  their best.
  • Waterlilies need calm, still water. Warm water and light provide the best conditions.
  • Even deep varieties can’t grow when the water is more than 5 feet deep. Most varieties grow happily in 3 to 4 ft of water if allowed time to establish.
  • Waterlilies are best planted from late spring to mid-summer.

Lily Pond Tips

  • Do not allow trees to over hang a pond
  • Keep fountains and running water away from lilies as they do not like disturbance or flowing water
  • A base of natural clay and silt are the best medium into which you plant lilies
  • Read Gardeners Tips
  • Aim for a minimum two thirds water to one third water lily and you will get the best reflections.

Burnby Hall Pocklington

Burnby Hall Yorkshire (above) has two magnificent lakes holding a national collection of Water Lilies.


Blood Red Phlox

This could be an old variety old variety ‘Brigadier’ from pre WW ll.  It has strong colouring with  vivid pink-red flowers and a striking magenta eye. Like most paniculata varieties it has a good fragrance.

If the plant has been maintained for 75 plus yaers it will have been replicated from cuttings many times as most phlox are comparatively short lived herbaceous plants. Root clumps can be split with high levels of success. Alteratively stem or root cuttings should thrive.

Other Red Phlox paniculata

  • Red Riding Hood
  • Sandra,
  • Volcano red,
  • Red Super
  • Star Fire

Other Red Phlox

  • Red Drummondii Drummond annual
  • Phlox ‘subulata’ Creeping Moss’

Delphiniums Plural

Stately and statuesque, the blue Delphinium is one of the best tall features in a herbaceous border. I questioned my English teacher whether they should be called Delphinii as there always seemed to be several upright stalks like the chunky dark blue examples above. As regular readers will know spelling is not one of my greatest strengths.(nor is grammar).

The keen eyed will spot one of the secret ways of helping these 6 feet high giants stay upright. At Newby Hall garden a great deal of time and effort is expended on good quality staking and support and delphiniums are no exception. There is 3″ square mesh of fine filament placed at about 3′ high and the flower stems allowed to grom through. There is no need to support individual blooms.

There are many shades of blue from the dark almost purple to powder blue and even white.

Slightly gone over these flowers were displayed in a white border. Delphiniums have been a minor success in my flower vases this year and I will try again next year after feeding and water the plants extra sustinence.

Varieties courtesy of Old Farmers Almanac

  • Belladonna Group: Upright, loose and branching perennials with single flowers that grow 3 to 4 feet tall. ‘Blue Bees’ is a Belladonna producing clear blue flowers with white centers.
  • Elatum Group: These are the tallest spiked hybrids growing to 6 feet or more. ‘Blue Nile’ is a medium plant bearing semi-double, bright, and mid-blue flowers with white centers (called bees). ‘Bruce’ is a tall Elatum bearing semi-double, violet-purple flowers, paler towards the center, with brown bees.
  • Pacific Hybrids: Similar to Elatum Group, although not as tall, this hybrid is short-lived and often grown as annuals or biennials. ‘King Arthur’ bears plum flowers with white bees with 5- to 6-foot tall flower spikes.
  • According to the RHS Delphinium x ruysii  ‘Pink Sensation’ is a short-lived perennial with deeply divided leaves and slender spikes.

When is a Rose not a Rose

  • A rose is not a rose when it grows on an alien stem.
  • A rose is not a rose when it is converted into a bar of fragrant soap.
  • A rose is not a rose when it is the name of the Yorkshire morris dancing set White Rose Morris Men.
  • A rose is not a rose when it is a pinkish colour of paint .
  • A rose is not a rose when a knight stands from kneeling.

A rose is not a rose when it is a Lenten or Christmas rose!


Cactus Dahlia White and Bright

Bright & Breezy Dahlia

  • My Dahlias have been flowering early and successfully since the beginning of July. The white cactus plants are the most forward with the collarettes just starting.
  • I no longer leave the plants in the ground over winter as I have lost too many tubers to rot in the wet conditions we get in Yorkshire.
  • I store tubers in old pillowcases in the garage. Plastic bags would cause fungus and rot.
  • I divide up the tubers in early spring.  Some are easy to divide thus increasing stock. Other clumps of tubers need cutting into pieces all with a neck left on from last year. New growth comes from the neck not the tuber itself.
  • I start off the tubers in plant pots but I am too lazy to take cuttings which I am told would make stronger plants.

Dahlia Cut Flowers

  • There are as many cut flower tips as there are dahlia species. Dahlia are meant to be long lasting in a vase.
  • Keep your cut dahlias out of the sun and out of the heat.
  • Pick early in the day as with most cut flower.
  • Choose blooms that have started to unfurl – neither tight  buds nor fully open.
  • Place the Dahlia stems in  hot tap water then allow them to cool for an hour.
  • Use fresh water when arranging then change it every couple of days.
  • Remove any foliage from the stems to avoid it decaying in the water.

Garden tips

  • Cut back to encourage more stems and deadhead to encourage more blooms
  • Water well and regularly
  • Stake taller varieties
  • Give dahlias plenty of room


More and Better Californian Poppies

This is largely from a post I did in 2013 with some updates. Seeing the colour in my garden and watching the single flowers close up for the evening I decided to buy some more seeds for next summer (I hope I can find the space to do them justice) I opted for ‘Copper Swirl’ by TM and for an extra 99p I got ‘Golden West Californian Poppy’ thrown in.  I am tempted to sow half of each packet shortly although the blurb on the packet suggests waiting until Feb or March next year.

‘I like a brash colour in the garden and you can’t beat my favourite annual Californian Poppy. Eschscholzia californica is a bit of a mouthful but Californian Poppies and their family are well worth the effort.
Californian Poppy
The Californian poppy is an easy to grow hardy annual, which thrives in well drained sunny positions.

Growing Eschscholzia Tips and Hints.

  • Eschscholzia doesn’t like being transplanted at all, so it is best to sow in open ground. Eschscholzia have long soft tap roots that are easily damaged so take great care if you have to transplant them.
  • The main criteria for growing the Californian poppy is a well drained soil and sunny exposure.
  • Eschscholzia doesn’t need feeding and can thrive in the thinnest of soils. Gravel gardens are ideal.
  • They can be sown in October or early spring.
  • If they enjoy the conditions of your garden, it will freely self seed; it can even become a little invasive, although it is fairly easy to weed through just a light raking.
  • It is worth thinning the seedlings so that individual plants become stronger.
  • Continue Reading →

Half Standard Roses at the Seaside

Half Standard roses are grown on a 60-80cm stems. The selected flowering variety is grafted onto this stem. A spreading variety of polyantha or ‘fairy rose’ attains further  height of  2′. Clusters of bead-like buds open to globular, scented flowers which are most effective en masse.

Very often Half Standards are a better choice than full standards as they do not get too tall. Note how the half standard has been secured to the top of the stake.

By contrast ‘Full Standard’ roses are grown on a 3 foot stem. The flowering variety is grafted onto the stem and depending on variety will grow a further 3-5 foot Most full standards flower at or above head height.


Fuchsia from Autumn Cuttings


Fuchsias root very easily and it a simple matter to take cuttings both to increase your stock of plants and to protect them from winter losses.

Cuttings in September & October from Semi-hardwood.

  • I think this is the best method for those without a heated greenhouse.
  • Cuttings are taken late in the season when the bark has started to harden and ripen.
  • Select side shoots 6-10″ long and pull them off with a heel. A heel is a bit of the main stem attached to the base of the cutting.
  • Insert the cutting with 4-5 others in a 4″ pot
  • If growing several pots of cuttings plunge the pots into a tray of sand to keep them evenly moist and frost free.

Summer Cuttings from Green Tips

  • Select cuttings 3″ long with two or three pairs of leaves.
  • Cut the shoot just below the point where the lowest leaves join the stem. Trim off the 2 lower leaves and pot 2″ apart.
  • If taken in July, pot on the rooted cutting before winter. Do not worry if they loose there leaves in winter they will regrow from February.

Spring Green Tip Cuttings

  • Similar to summer cuttings they should be treated in the same way.
  • Pot on as soon as rooted in about 2-4 weeks.
  • Keep in gentle heat, shade from sun and gradually ventilate.
  • Stop the plants at 4 pairs of leaves to get bushy growth and flowers from June and the rest of summer.

Short Tip Cuttings in Heat January – March

  • This is the method used by our local nursery.
  • Overwintered plants are pruned by removing all green shoots. Then syringed with tepid water once a day to induce dormant buds on the old wood to shoot.
  • When new shoots have 3 pairs of leaves take the cutting leaving one pair of leaves behind.
  • Pot in a 3″ pot with 2-3 other cuttings and place in a propagator.
  • After rooting 10-14 days very gradually allow air to circulate.

London 2000

More Fuchsia Cutting Tips

Continue Reading →


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