Best multi-branching sunflowers

Size isn’t everything – go for multiple flowerers

Solar Flash
Sunflower Solar Flash is seen through pale lavender

In late summer, you reap the rewards of growing sunflowers, with the traditional huge yellow heads nodding over the garden.

However, it’s not all about size – popular big ‘uns like Russian Giant (3m), Mongolian Giant (3.6- Continue reading “Best multi-branching sunflowers”

Sweet peas: heritage v new varieties

Old or new flowers – which are best?

Sweet peas Night Sky and Prince of Orange
Sweet peas Night Sky and Prince of Orange (background)

This summer’s sweet peas are just starting to bloom and I was intrigued to see whether heritage types or a new variety would come out on top.

I’ll judge again at the end of the season but here are my findings so far. First, the contenders:

Night Sky (Matthewmans,, £3)

A new introduction, an unusual mauve flake colour (speckled white/blue), bred by David Matthewman in Yorkshire. Described in the catalogue as ‘highly scented, almost shimmering florets set on long stems’. Continue reading “Sweet peas: heritage v new varieties”

Dobies Bulb Catalogue 2017

Vibrant Ranunculus and Anemones not to be missed

Ranunculus Mirabelle Vert Mix
Ranunculus Mirabelle Vert Mix. Picture; Dobies

I’m completely guilty of overlooking some late spring/summer flowering bulbs, partly due to my dad massacring some Ranunculus when I was a kid.

However, no more! Dobies of Devon’s Bulb Catalogue 2017 is released in August with some real stunners.

Bulbs are a decent size for good flowering – an easy way to bring vibrant colour to your garden and home.

The summer bulb catalogue carries varieties for spring planting and summer flowering next year – here are Continue reading “Dobies Bulb Catalogue 2017”

50 packets of free seeds up for grabs!

Seeds for first 50 gardeners to email Plants of Distinction

Heads up folks – the first 50 gardeners to respond to this offer can claim a free packet of seeds from Plants of Distinction. Continue reading “50 packets of free seeds up for grabs!”

Get kids growing with Little Gardeners

Johnsons range is ideal for urban beginners with no garden

The Little Gardeners Range. Picture; Johnsons
The Little Gardeners Range. Picture; Johnsons

Despite today’s foul weather, it is really supposed to be spring and it’s forecast to get better by the weekend – what better time to get kids interested in gardening?

Let them help you, give them their own little patch and if you haven’t got a garden, a plant pot, some compost, and seeds is all you need to kindle a lifelong love of gardening. Continue reading “Get kids growing with Little Gardeners”

Sarah Raven top cut flower and wildlife seeds

Ammi majus and Californian poppy are most popular

Ammi majus
Ammi majus. Picture; Johnsons

Growing annuals for cut flowers is booming and top of the sales charts in the Sarah Raven Cut Flower Collection and Wildlife Attracting Collection makes interesting reading.

Both ranges were launched in 2012 in partnership with Johnsons Seeds, with 47 varieties, but eight easy hardy annuals have dominated sales and another six remain the best sellers for wildlife gardening.

All are strong garden performers that can be direct sown where they are to flower.

Since the ranges were launched, Ammi majus has been the best-selling variety in the Cut Flower Collection, while Eschscholzia Orange Continue reading “Sarah Raven top cut flower and wildlife seeds”