With the hanging basket season well and truly under way, Joe Swift meets a florist in Surrey who has perfected the art of kokedama - a modern take on the hanging basket.
House plants come under the spotlight too, as the programme pays a visit to South Africa to learn more about the ever-popular cape primrose.
Biennials are versatile plants and are a great way of adding colour to the garden from early summer. Some of them make excellent cut flowers too. But unlike annuals, they need to be sown in late May or June to give them time to grow before they flower the following year. Here are six of our favourites.
Evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) Widely used in herbal medicine, this tall biennial has fragrant yellow flowers that open in the evening. Good for a sunny spot on poor soil.
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) Perfect for a shady corner where other plants may struggle, foxgloves add a majestic touch to any garden. A wide range of pastel shades are available, and once established, plants will self-seed without any bother. Please note that all parts of the plant are poisonous.
Honesty (Lunaria annua) Large panicles of purple blooms appear in early summer, followed by beautiful, translucent seed cases that look like mini silvery moons. Excellent for dried flower arrangements and a prolific self-seeder.
Sweet rocket (Hesperis matronalis) Highly attractive to bees and other beneficial insects, this plant has pretty pink or white flowers that fill the air with perfume. It will thrive in full sun or partial shade and although relatively short-lived, will freely self-seed.
Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus) A cottage garden favourite with sweetly-scented flowers. Very easy to grow and looks great in a vase.
Wallflower (Cheiranthus cheiri) The perfect partner for tulips whether it be in a border or a pot. They are actually short-lived perennials, but are generally grown as biennials as their performance is never that good second time around.
Jobs for the weekend: Plant out French & runner beans
Now that the threat of a frost has gone, it’s time to get your beans planted out. But if you haven’t got round to sowing any yet, put up your support and sow a couple of seeds at the bottom of each cane.
How to grow French beans (www.rhs.org.uk)
Jobs for the weekend: Tie in clematis
Late-flowering clematis are shooting up now. Tie in stems to ensure the flowers do not get lost in a tangle of growth and are displayed at their best later in the season.
How to grow clematis (www.rhs.org.uk)
Jobs for the weekend: Take softwood cuttings
Early summer is a good time to take softwood cuttings when the new growth is young and supple. A wide range of deciduous shrubs can be propagated using this technique as well as many tender perennials. Good examples include Japanese maple, hydrangeas, rosemary, penstemon, marguerite and osteospermum.
Choose young, soft shoot tips and cut just below a node. Ideally, the cuttings need to be about 5-10cm (2-4in) long and, if necessary, placed inside a sealed plastic bag to prevent them from drying out. Strip off a third of the lower leaves and insert into a pot of damp compost. To help save space, you can place several of them around the perimeter. Keep somewhere warm and light, either in a propagator or with a clear plastic bag placed over the top and within 6-10 weeks, roots will hopefully appear!
More on softwood cuttings (www.rhs.org.uk)
|Series Producer||Chloe Rawlings|
|Series Editor||Liz Rumbold|