If you want to greet the new year with a burst of colour, you need to be planting bulbs now, and with a little planning, you can ensure that colour lasts from January through to late spring. Bulbs can go straight into the ground, and in general, to a depth of 3 x the height of the bulb, but do check the pack instructions for specifics. If you feel the soil isn’t quite as good as it should be or you prefer to plant in baskets, pots or tubs, we’d recommend using some bulb fibre – available here, and it’s peat-free – and maybe some bulb-planting tools to make life a little easier. But what should you be planting? For January flowering, some varieties of Daffodils and Narcissi – others will see you through February and March too – to add a touch of sunshine to the dreary days; Snowdrops will make an appearance in February, along with Irises and Eranthus (Winter Aconite), complementing any Daffodils that are still in bloom; March brings more variety, with Irises and Eranthus continuing, possibly with some Narcissi, and Tulips, Crocuses and Hyacinths adding an assortment of colours, and they should still be flowering in April; finally, Allium and Bluebells arrive in May – our Bluebells are English-grown – to bridge the gap between spring and summer. All of these and more are available instore.
But if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, we have a full range of seeds in stock, some to be sown outside, some for nurturing indoors or under cold frames, awaiting warmer temperatures. Lower costs allow you to experiment with a larger selection, but they will need a bit more attention to ensure you experience their true beauty. Do check packet instructions to be sure.
As we say goodbye to our summer pots and hanging baskets, why not enhance the beauty of the coming season by renewing them with some autumn / winter plants? When you’re sure you’ve seen the last of your blooms, empty the contents of your baskets and pots, and start again with some fresh compost – we recommend Miracle Gro Moisture Control to assist the unpredictability of our weather – adding any of the following: a Cordyline centrepiece surrounded by some Cupressus and topped off with some Ajuga or Dianthus, or maybe some Carex with some Sedum and a touch of Lysimachia. They’re all hardy and will look great throughout the season, especially with a little Phostrogen All Purpose Plant Feed, and will complement the changing scene in your garden. With an Evergreen promotion here at Brookside – 2 for £20 – you can easily add a little contrasting interest, and if your baskets or pots have suffered this year, why not take a look at our ranges? We have a large selection of wire, hyacinth and rattan baskets, along with liners and sphagnum moss, and frost-resistant pots in a huge array of sizes, colours and styles.
Ever thought of growing your own fruit? Do you yearn for a crumble, a pie or even a fruit salad made from your own produce? Then read on… Autumn is also the time we should be thinking about planting fruit trees and bushes, and doing so now, with the soil wet and – despite the lack of sunshine this year – warm, cuts maintenance dramatically.
This year we’re favouring apple, cherry, pear and Victoria plum trees and blackberry – all our blackberry bushes are thornless this year – blueberry, gooseberry, raspberry and black and red currant bushes. Planting in well-drained soil and full sun – if you can find it – with Levington’s Rose Tree and Shrub compost will give your trees the best possible start and will keep them happy, and a touch of Growmore Rose and Shrub fertiliser will ensure they’re well fed until spring. No need to prune, but if you’re concerned about pests, Winter Tree Wash by Growing Success is all you need to keep them at bay until the spring. As with the bedding plants, the fruit trees and bushes will survive the frost.
And if you’ve got fruit covered, surely vegetables need some serious consideration, so why not pick up a few packets whilst you’re here? In just a few months you could be tasting your own turnips, crunching your own carrots and celebrating your own celery; salads, soups and stir-fries sourced from your own garden – what could be better?
Don’t let the rain and overcast skies darken the vibrancy in your life; a few seasonal plants combined with the inevitable autumn colours should see you through until the end of the year and beyond; spring bulbs or a selection of seeds will brighten the new year, and when you have enough cherries to make your first jam, we’re always happy to share the experience with you and enjoy the fruits of your labour.