Papaver nudicaule Champagne Bubbles

Summer is the time to sow Iceland Poppies and here are my favourites right now. I love this new variety Papaver nudicaule ‘Champagne Bubbles’. They really are the most beautiful flowers to grow from seed. Poppy seeds are so tiny it’s hard to believe that such beautiful blooms are produced in just a few months. I was completely blown away by the large colourful flowers when I took these photos in April in my greenhouse. They have gorgeous open papery blooms which open like crumpled silk. Flowers are all shades of orange, pink, yellow, red and white. They are extremely hardy and will tolerate cold winters. Flowers are produced in late spring and early summer before the rest of the garden really gets going. I’m always looking for some early plants for my garden and these fit the bill beautifully. If you’re looking for some colour in your garden in spring and early summer too then Iceland Poppies may be just the thing for you.

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Growing Biennials from Seed

Now is the time to sow Biennial Seeds. But what exactly are they and why do we need to sow them in summer?

What are Biennials?

Biennials are hardy plants which are grown from seeds sown this summer. They produce roots and foliage this year then burst into life next spring with masses more foliage, long stems and lots of flowers in late spring and early summer. Sown this summer they have eight to ten months to grow into super strong, healthy plants.

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Sowing Biennials

Hesperis-MatronalisWhat are Biennials?

Biennials are hardy plants which grow roots and foliage this year then flower next year. Sown in summer they have around eight months to produce super strong healthy plants which are capable of producing lots of lovely strong flower stems from late spring onwards.

Why grow Biennials? Biennials are brilliant for early flowers next year. They usually start blooming in May and finish in July although there are exceptions. A patch of Hesperis (Sweet Rocket) in our garden has been flowering since April and is still producing lovely pale purple blooms in August. If you like to grow flowers for your home or you have a special event in late spring or maybe you are planning to sell cut flowers next year…  you’ll find biennials very reliable and super productive. They are inexpensive to grow from seed, healthy and vigorous and more to the point don’t need much attention from the gardener.
What’s not to love?

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Looking Good 17th June

It’s early summer and here’s the reward for all your planning. June is the time that most gardens start to pump up the flower production. It’s that heady combination of warmth coupled with plenty of moisture in the earth which means the garden is bursting into life with colourful flowers.

This week I’ve cut buckets full of beautiful blooms and all of them give me that country garden style. Here are Clematis, Roses, Nepeta and Geraniums with Ox-Eye Daisies and Feverfew. They are all easy to grow and super productive which is just the way I like it!

Blue-Buckets

I’m growing flowers for cutting but it’s not just the flowers that are looking good. There are grasses and Allium seed heads and some plants which I grow specifically for foliage and they are also producing lovely long stems now too. The bucket of yellow foliage is Euphorbia oblongata which has overwintered in one of my cutting beds. There’s a variegated Applemint in the Clematis bucket and some plain green Mint in the Nepeta bucket.

Clematis&Mint

The photo below show just one stem of Euphoria oblongata. It’s an amazing hardy plant I grew from seed. Just six to ten plants will give you masses of stems.

Euphorbia-Oblongata

Does your garden need a boost? If your garden is lacking a few flowering plants or even foliage this month you can soon put that right with a trip to a plant nursery. They will have all the early summer flowering perennials and roses available for sale right now. That can be expensive if you need a trolley full of plants to boost your borders. If you would rather produce your own plants (and save some money!) then you can easily do that too this month. Take softwood cuttings of perennials (eg:nepeta) herbs (eg: mint) and shrubs (eg: lilac) or sow some seeds of the lovely plants you want to see in your own garden this time next year.

Early-June-Collage

It’s easy to grow your own plants. Taking cuttings or sowing seeds is simple if you know how… just let me know if you want some guidelines/photos showing how to propagate specific plants and I’ll try and help you out.

Are you joining in with Looking Good today? You can include anything garden related… fruit and veg, recipes, flowers, foliage, your local parks and allotments, garden wildlife and so on. Just comment on this post and add your link to your post which should include a link to this post. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s going on in your area.

Have a lovely day and Happy Gardening! Gillian 😉

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Biennial Flowers

I’t’s been a scorcher of a day here in Lancashire. It’s cooling off now and we can here thunder rumbling in the distance but there’s no sign of any rain so far. I’ve just picked a bunch of flowers. There’s nothing quite like cutting flowers from your own garden and this evening I’ve chosen plants that I’ve grown from seed.

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Rosa banksii ‘Lutea’

This is Rosa Banksii ‘Lutea’. As you can seen it’s a yellow rose, a rambler actually, which scrambles through a white flowered Wisteria growing up the red brick wall at the front of our house. It’s thornless, vigorous and healthy so it’s a lovely plant if you have a tall bare wall or if you are wanting to introduce a touch of country style to your garden… there’s nothing quite like rambling roses for adding a romantic atmosphere. You will need plenty of space though. In ten years our rose has reached the roof of our house and they can grow up to 40 feet / 12 metres tall or even more.

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Anemone Coronaria The Crown

The Crown Anemone Anemone coronaria is dramatic and beautiful. I love looking at the detail of the flowers. Buds and newly unfurled petals are slightly hairy then unfurl like crumpled silk. Flower centres are dark with hundreds of stamens dusted with purple pollen. Gorgeous!

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Muscari armeniacum

We have grown Muscari in our garden for years. As you know I like trouble free plants and it doesn’t get much more low maintenance than this! Muscari bulbs are really easy to grow and not too fussy about their environment as long as they have plenty of sunshine. We have planted them at the edge of the path in the Spring Garden where they can easily be seen from the deck of my garden studio. Slowly but surely they self seed and form new clumps of bulbs with lots of flowers. I love them not only because they are easy to grow but also because they flower early and attract bees and other beneficial insects.

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Spring Already?

Walking our dog in the sunshine this morning I saw signs of spring everywhere. There were wild flowers pushing their way through the leaf litter in the hedge bottoms. A patch of Cow Parsley was blooming… although their stems were little more than 15cm/6 inches tall. (A period of cold is required to produce long stems on some plants) Even the Honeysuckle and Elder were sending out new leaves in the hedge. It’s way too early!

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