Plant of the Month – Dogwoods

Plant of the Month by Martin Fish

Dogwoods (Cornus)

A great way to add colour to the garden through the winter months is to grow dogwood (cornus). These hardy shrubs are grown for their coloured stems that look great from November when the leaves drop, right the way through until spring. For best effect they should be planted in groups. There are several different types of dogwood with colourful stems that make excellent garden shrubs, including Cornus ‘Sibirica’ with its bright red stems, C. ‘Kesselringii’ which has a fark purple-black stems, C. ‘Flaviramea’ which is a lime green-yellow and C. ‘Midwinter Fire’ with yellow-orange-red stems. Easy to grow, dogwoods prefer a fertile soil that retains moisture. In fact, they are the ideal for growing in a damp part of the garden. For good colour each winter, the long stems should be hard pruned to almost ground level each spring, around mid-March. It looks drastic, but by cutting all the growth back, it encourages strong new shoots to grow over summer, which will be brightly coloured from November onwards.

Martin Fish is a gardening columnist, broadcaster, speaker, RHS judge and all-round horticulture expert. He writes for publications including Garden Answers, Kitchen Garden and Which? Gardening.

We have worked with Martin closely over a number of years and each month he will be choosing a favourite Plant of the Month for us, with tips and advice for planting and growing in the garden.

You can find more about Martin at or find him on Twitter!

Paskett PR welcomes two new recruits

Paskett PR welcomes two new recruits


Puja Kotecha (left) and Sarah Bryan (right) joined Paskett PR in November


We are pleased to announce the appointment of two new employees.

To manage the influx of new business and existing clients, Paskett Public Relations, the UK’s leading specialist gardening and lifestyle PR agency, has hired social media expert Puja Kotecha as an account executive. With more than three year’s experience in retail, marketing and social media, Puja joined the team early in November.

Joining Puja to support clients – which include big brands such as BASF, Forest Garden and The Posh Shed Company – is former journalist and account executive Sarah Bryan. In addition to her newspaper experience, Sarah brings with her a background in technology and business PR as we as social media expertise.

Commenting on her new appointment, Puja said: “It’s been great getting involved with both new and existing clients and helping to achieve the best possible results. I’m really looking forward to utilising not only my writing skills but also my social media expertise to help assist the team in the strongest way I can.”

Sarah added: “I am thrilled to have joined the Paskett team at such an exciting time for the business. I have always had an interest in B2C communications as well as gardening so combining the two together is a perfect fit for me. I look forward to embarking on this new adventure.”

Graham Paskett, managing director of Paskett Public Relations, added: “I am pleased to welcome both Puja and Sarah to the Paskett team. Both ladies have great experience and enthusiasm which has shone through right from the onset. With some big plans and ideas for 2019, I look forward to working with the new team to bring it all to fruition.”

Paskett Public Relations specialises in gardening and lifestyle PR and social media support for many household brands.



One of my aims this week is to complete the planting of my almost complete collection of native British trees in my Staffordshire garden.

There are 32 native British trees of which I have 14 already growing in my garden.  In 2017 I bought from Hillier 12 of the missing 18 and decided to pot them on to grow to a larger size and plant out now.   The first three, the Goat Willow (Salix caprea). The Crack Willow (Salix fragilis) and the Bay Willow (Salix pentandra) have already been planted in a very damp area of the garden.

So, to mark National Tree Week, the other nine will be going in before Saturday.  They are:

  • Bird Cherry (Prunus padus)
  • Rowan Mountain Ash (Sorbus aucuparia)
  • Downy Birch (Betula pubescens)
  • Aspen (Populus tremula)
  • Wild or Gean Sherry (Prunus avium)
  • White Willow (Salix alba)
  • Field Maple (Acer campestre)
  • Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus)
  • Hazel (Corylus avellane)

We have got enough space for them but the ground is still pretty dry and I don’t want to have to spend December watering them.  So I shall be doing my own version of the rain dance!

The six missing trees are the Small Leaved Lime, Wych Elm, Sessile Oak, Ash, Black Poplar and the Midland Hawthorne.  If anyone know where I can obtain any of these – do please let me know via email . It is terribly important to grow native British trees because they are an important genetic link to our history and the natural hosts to all wildlife and insects.

The challenge I am facing is trying to find labels that will identify these trees – including the ones already growing.  I really would like something with the Union Flag on it but, as yet, have failed to identify something that will last the life-time of the tree and be attractive.  It will also be interesting to find out whether the willows already planted actually help to dry out the land in which they now live.

Graham Paskett

October Plant of the Month by Martin Fish: Leycesteria formosa ‘Golden Lanterns’

Plant of the Month by Martin Fish

Leycesteria formosa ‘Golden Lanterns’

Leycesteria formosa 'Golden Lanterns'

One of my favourite shrubs through October and November is Leycesteria formosa ‘Golden Lanterns’ which also goes under the common names of flowering nutmeg, golden pheasant bush or Himalayan honeysuckle.

The golden leaved form of this shrub is much more attractive than the green form and it provides colour and interest in the garden for much of the year. A deciduous shrub from China and the Himalayas, the new golden foliage in spring is tipped with deep red and provides a bright, cheery shrub all through the summer months.

In late summer pendant deep-red bracts and white flowers hang from the ends of the new growth and as we go into autumn red-purple berries develop. The berries hang on the plant all through the winter months and very often the attractive foliage remains on the plant until Christmas making this a really useful plant to brighten up dull days.


For the best results, it should be planted in a sunny position in fertile well-drained soil. ‘Golden Lanterns’ will grow to around 5ft (1.5m), making it perfect for most gardens, but if it gets a little too large, it responds well to being pruned in spring. In fact, the shrub in my garden gets a good prune back each spring as I find the new growth has the best foliage colour and produces more berries.

Horticultural expert Martin Fish

Martin Fish is a gardening columnist, broadcaster, speaker, RHS judge and all-round horticulture expert. He writes for publications including Garden Answers, Kitchen Garden and Which? Gardening.

We have worked with Martin closely over a number of years and each month he will be choosing a favourite Plant of the Month for us, with tips and advice for planting and growing in the garden.

You can find more about Martin at or find him on Twitter!

Another Year, Another Successful GLEE Show for our Clients

We’ve had a busy few days attending GLEE this week. Many of our clients had a presence there, so the preparation work had been well underway in the run-up to the show, organising editorial previews to give people a glimpse of what to expect this year, and arranging to meet journalists and bloggers at the show.

E.P. Barrus’ three key gardening brands, Wilkinson Sword, WOLF-Garten and Town & Country unveiled a staggering 150 new products at GLEE this year, including a number of great gifting opportunities and extensions to hugely popular lines to create more opportunities for retailers and stockists.

EP Barrus at Glee

All three brands could be found at one large stand, divided into clear sections – all the gardening tools and accessories you’ll need in one place.

Westland Horticulture also announced new innovative products to the market, including one of the most exciting breakthroughs in growing media for many years – New Horizon BIO3™ – a compost produced from three natural and sustainable ingredients that is indistinguishable in performance, appearance, smell and texture from 100% peat based products.

Westland at GLEE

Many of Westland’s leading brands, including Resolva, Unwins, Peckish and John Innes also announced new products, packaging and branding ahead of the 2019 season. Its new Deadfast Rodenticide range received ‘Best Garden Care’ New Product Award in the Chemicals, Fertilisers and Growing Media category.

Victorian Tall Wall Greenhouse from Forest Garden

Our client Forest Garden partnered up with Thorndown Paints to display its extremely popular Victorian Tall Wall Greenhouse painted in pastel Skylark Blue wood paint. ‘Grow your own’ continues to be a big trend, which was evident at this year’s show, but the emphasis continues to shift towards making gardening more accessible to those who do not have as much outside space as homeowners with large gardens or those with access to an allotment.

Our days were jam packed with appointments and catching up with journalists to show them around the stands. Now it’s back to the grindstone to follow up on all the enquiries to secure coverage and start raising awareness of all those new products!

For more information on any of the companies mentioned, please call the office on 01332 258335 or email

Christmas Gift Ideas for Gardeners

Here’s our roundup of some of the best Christmas gardening gifts for your green-fingered loved ones.

Town & Country Bamboo Gloves – £5.99

Gardening gloves make a great stocking filler, and the Town & Country Bamboo Gloves are a brilliant environmentally friendly alternative. They are made from natural Bamboo fibres, have a luxuriously soft feel that is naturally hypoallergenic and feels as soft as brushed cotton. Bamboo is naturally antibacterial, helping to reduce the bacteria that thrive in clothing and cause unpleasant odours. They are available in a range of colours, including raspberry, mint and navy. 



Lechuza Yula Planters – £9.99 to £19.99

The Yula range delivers fun with gardening all year round. All Yula products are designed to complement modern living and are available in a harmoniously coordinated colour way with two colour combinations (pistachio/white, and grey/white) and a semi-gloss finish. There are two planters in the range, with a matching watering can also available. The first is a plant bag complete with handle which sits alongside a 0.5 litre table planter. Yula planters utilise the Lechuza wick watering system that simplifies plant care. Simply place the wick in the base of the plant pot, put the pot in the Yula and leave to absorb.

WOLF-Garten Mini Hoe – £14.99

The 7cm Mini Hoe is a great gift for gardeners. It has three straight prongs on one side to loosen the soil for optimum nutrient supply and a blade on the other for smooth slicing through weeds.

It’s great for those with smaller gardens or lots of beds and pots to tend to; it’s all very compact and easy to store. As part of the WOLF-Garten multi-change® range, it comes complete with a small handle, but can also be used with all of the other handles in the range.

Wilkinson Sword Ultralight Hedge Shears – £29.99

Weighing only 670gm, the Wilkinson Sword Ultralight Hedge Shears are 30% lighter than regular shears. Along with soft grip handles, they are designed for comfort and ease of use so are perfect for working higher up without getting tired arms!

Town & Country Charnwood Boots – £44.99

Keep feet warm and dry when exploring the great outdoors with the Charnwood boots from Town & Country. These plastic rubber shells boots offer protection from the elements and have a Thermolite lining and fleecy cushions insoles. These stylish boots are available in navy and aubergine, sizes four to eight.

The Posh Hedgehog House – £82.50

Sadly hedgehog numbers in the UK are in decline, but you can help them by giving them a new home this Christmas whilst giving an elegant gift to your loved one! The hand-crafted Hedgehog House has a handy pull-out tunnel and cedar roof and fits subtly into any corner of the garden.

Cobra BV6524V lithium-ion Battery Powered Leaf Blower – £74.99

For gardeners who love their gadgets, the Cobra 24v leaf blower is a must!

It is extremely lightweight so is easy to grab to blast away leaves. It’s battery can give upto 20 minutes of run time without the need and hassle of finding and storing petrol, or the limitations of being electric.


Forest Garden Plant Ladder Display – £99.99

For something a little different, the Forest Garden Plant Ladder Display gives a flexible, functional and decorative home to potted plants. Its five tiered staggered shelving lets you display a variety of plants in different sized pots, and, with a small footprint of just 1 metre wide and 56cm deep, it gives plenty of additional growing space in a small area!




Playhouse Company Hidey Hole – £1,755

Children can have their own secret hiding place with the Hobbit inspired Hidey Hole. Transport children into a magical land where the storytelling never ends with this quirky hideaway, which features a curved roof to make little ones feel like they’re hiding away underground in their own private space. The cedar shingle roof and sides blend into the natural environment, just like a den at the bottom of the garden – hide and seek has never been more fun!


For information on any of the above companies, please get in touch!      01332 258335

September Plant of the Month by Martin Fish: Eucomis bicolor

Plant of the Month by Martin Fish


Eucomis bicolor

If you fancy something a little different to flower through early autumn, look out for eucomis. This is a group of bulbous perennials that originate from South Africa and are commonly known as pineapple flowers or pineapple lily. When in flower you can clearly see how they get their name.

Eucomis bicolor

Despite coming from a warmer climate, many types of eucomis are fairly tough and will grow perfectly well outside in the UK, either planted into a well-drained soil or in containers. Eucomis bicolor is a popular choice and very easy to grow. It produces long strap-shaped leaves during the summer and from the centre of the rosette flower spikes develop in later summer and continue right through September and beyond if you’re lucky!

The tiny maroon and white flowers are clustered up the stem and topped with foliage. In the winter the plant dies back to the bulb and lies dormant until late spring when it will start to grow again. Bulbs need planting around 20cm (8in) deep for protection and when established they form a clump that look great when in flower.

At this time of the year you can often buy eucomis in flower, especially if you visit one of the flower shows such as the Harrogate Autumn Show in mid-September.

Horticultural expert Martin Fish

Martin Fish is a gardening columnist, broadcaster, speaker, RHS judge and all-round horticulture expert. He writes for publications including Garden Answers, Kitchen Garden and Which? Gardening.

We have worked with Martin closely over a number of years and each month he will be choosing a favourite Plant of the Month for us, with tips and advice for planting and growing in the garden.

You can find more about Martin at or find him on Twitter!

Diary of an Allotmenteer

Back in June, after a long two year wait, I, along with three friends, became the proud custodian of an allotment. Based at St Anns Allotments in Nottingham, it is grade 2 listed, and part of the oldest and largest area of Victorian detached town gardens in the world, with the plots all still in their original 1830s layout. This give the plots a real charm and quirkiness, with many of them having their original brick buildings still in tact.

When we went to visit the site in order to choose our plot, all four of us instantly fell in love with Plot 80. It was massively overgrown, having been left unattended for a number of years, but had a ‘secret garden’ feel to it, and we could just about make out a couple of trees and a building through the brambles. So we signed up for it and a week later headed to the site for our initial recce.  Upon second viewing it was rather daunting! The weeds seemed higher, the brambles spikier, and the task much more overwhelming.

But, undeterred, we returned, tools in hand, and set about the mammoth jobs of cutting down weeds, slicing through brambles (stopping to eat copious blackberries along the way), pulling up carpet (?!), unearthing a house-worth of bricks, and discovering an entire, fully grown plum tree in the process.

Almost three months on we are now at the point where Plot 80 looks like an allotment, albeit a rather wild one. The next job is to start planning for the following year, and experimenting with different techniques and practices – the first thing to try is green manure. As we chart our progress through every visit, even at this early stage in our journey, it is amazing to see how far we have come, gaining a friend in a sociable robin along the way.


Follow the progess at Plot 80 on YouTube

From Planning to Planting

We always trying to identify new audiences for our customers, and with gardening there are so many people out there for us to communicate with. Gardeners can be segmented into many different categories – you have the keen gardeners who dedicate hours every day to maintaining their garden to the highest standard; you have homeowners who enjoy dabbling in gardening as a means of improving their house whilst also enjoying trips to the garden centre and seeing what they can bring home to nurture; you have people you see gardening as means to an end and simply want to keep on top of it and keep it tidy; you have grow your own enthusiasts; and you have those in cities where property size is of a premium and gardens are non-existent but who still want to embrace urban gardening.

It’s our job to communicate our clients’ messages with all of these audiences! Each sector requires a different message, a different strategy and a different vehicle. Identifying all this takes quite a lot of planning, and whilst it naturally evolves as we go through the year, this largely shapes up at either the beginning of the year or when we begin working with a new client.

We are thrilled to now be working with Lechuza, and since they appointed us in July we’ve submerged ourselves in all things planting and planning to work out the brand’s key messages and how to convey them.

Lechuza planters remove the need to regularly water plants so are perfect for city dwellers, urban gardeners and dare we say it, millennials. Broadly speaking, these customers are assumed to be short of time but wanting all the results. Enter Lechuza! This audience are a big contributing factor in the 32% growth in the indoor plant market, however they may buy plants but do they know what to do with them and how to look after them? Or are plants becoming a new disposable commodity?

Houseplants can quickly transform how a home feels and can also improve the air quality within the four walls but looking after them isn’t always straightforward. Watering isn’t always as easy as a daily dose; each plant has its own specific requirement and over or under watering can cause damage. The Lechuza system counters this and takes away all the effort!

Discovering all this has had us thinking about indoor plants and the benefits they can have. Our favourite is the Monstera (and not just because it’s called the Swiss Cheese plant!), and we also love the Sansevieria Snake Plant, Begonias and Hibiscus. You also can’t go wrong with a classic bonsai tree!

Swiss Cheese Plant

To celebrate all things indoor planting we’ve started a new hashtag. Search for #OfficePlantPower to see some of our favourites, and please do tweet your photos to us!

August Plant of the Month by Martin Fish: Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’


Plant of the Month by Martin Fish

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’


A part of my job is answering gardening questions and a couple I’m regularly asked is about choosing a variety of hydrangea and how to prune it.

Fortunately, I can answer both questions in one go because I usually recommend is Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’.

As hydrangeas go this is one of the most reliable flowering types and produces an abundance of large creamy-white heads on a rounded bush from July, all the way through August and well into September. The individual heads can measure up to 25cm (10in) across and on an established shrub you’ll get dozens of flowers. On the plant in my garden I regularly get over 40 heads each summer!

The great thing about ‘Annabelle’ is it will grow just about any where in the garden – in full sun or dappled shade, and when grown in a north-facing border the white blooms really lift the area and brighten it up.

Hydrangea 'Annabelle'

As for pruning, this has got to be one of the easiest hydrangeas to prune. In mid-March it’s simply a case of pruning all the stems down to a couple of inches from ground level. I then feed with a little general-purpose fertiliser and the plant will make strong new stems over the spring and summer. It’s on this new growth that flowers are produced in summer.

Horticultural expert Martin Fish

Martin Fish is a gardening columnist, broadcaster, speaker, RHS judge and all-round horticulture expert. He writes for publications including Garden Answers, Kitchen Garden and Which? Gardening.

We have worked with Martin closely over a number of years and each month he will be choosing a favourite Plant of the Month for us, with tips and advice for planting and growing in the garden.

You can find more about Martin at or find him on Twitter!