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 www.martinfish.com or find him on Twitter!

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 www.martinfish.com or find him on Twitter!

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

Hydrangea_arborescens

Plant of the Month by Martin Fish

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’

Hydrangea_arborescens

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 www.martinfish.com or find him on Twitter!

July Plant of the Month by Martin Fish: Hemerocallis

Plant of the Month by Martin Fish

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.

Hemerocallis “Day lilies”

Hemorocallis Day Lily

One of my favourite summer flowering perennials is the “Day lily” or Hemerocallis to give it its proper name! This is a range of herbaceous plants that originate from the forests, river valleys and meadows of Japan, Korea and China that form dense clumps of arching strap-like foliage in summer.

They come in a wide range of colours and as a result of hybridising and breeding, there are some really exciting cultivars with very showy flowers.

What I like so much about them is the fact that they adapt very well to most garden soils and situations. I’ve grown them on wet, sticky clay and free draining sandy loam, semi-shade and full sun and in all these situations they have thrived.

New growth pushes through the soil in spring and flowering starts in late June, but it’s July when they are at their best. The attractive flowers are produced on tall stems and as their name suggests, the individual blooms only last for a day.

Fear not though, as there are plenty of buds to follow to give a continued display in the garden. Come autumn, the plants naturally die down and all the old foliage can be chopped off. They are also very easy to propagate by division and I prefer to do this in early spring when new shoots start to appear.

You can find more about Martin at www.martinfish.com or find him on Twitter!

June Plant of the Month by Martin Fish: Kolkwitzia amabilis

Plant of the Month by Martin Fish

Horticultural expert Martin FishMartin 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.

Kolkwitzia amabilis “Beauty Bush”

Kolkwitzia amabilis Beauty Bush

In June there are so many wonderful plants looking at their best it’s difficult to choose just one, but a shrub that I think stands out from the rest is Kolkwitzia amabilis, commonly known as the “Beauty Bush”.

It’s a hardy, deciduous shrub that originates from China and produces pale pink bell-shaped flowers at this time of the year. When established, the branches are weighed down by the pink flowers to create an arching mass of colour.

If allowed to grow it can reach a eventual height and spread of 3 metres (10ft), but with just a little pruning after flowering to remove some of the old wood and to re-shape it, it is perfectly possible to keep it much smaller and still have the natural arching shape.

I grow the cultivar ‘Pink Cloud’ in my garden and this has bright, deep pink flowers that look stunning. I keep it to around 1.8 metres (6ft) tall and wide. It prefers a well-drained soil and full sun to ripen the new growth at the end of the growing season. I’ve included one in all the gardens I’ve planted and every year I look forward to the day when the flowers start to open. It’s a great shrub, easy to grow and certainly lives up to its name of “Beauty Bush.”

You can find more about Martin at www.martinfish.com or find him on Twitter!

May Plant of the Month by Martin Fish: Tulips

Plant of the Month by Martin Fish

Horticultural expert Martin FishMartin 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.

Tulips

Colourful tulips

Tulips are one of our most popular late spring-flowering bulbs and I think they look great when planted in drifts in the border or in pots to add colour to a patio.

They first became popular in the 16th & 17th centuries, and during Tulip-mania in the Netherlands, tulip bulbs exchanged hands for huge amounts of money. Some people made their fortunes trading bulbs and others lost theirs!

Nowadays tulip bulbs are much more affordable and we can all grow them in our gardens. They are very simple to grow, in fact the hardest part about growing them is choosing what varieties to grow from the many thousands of different shapes, heights and colours available.

Colourful flowers Tulips

Always buy good quality bulbs in autumn and plant them at least three times the depth of the bulb and ideally plant in November or early December when the soil is cooling down. By planting quality bulbs, you will get a much better display of flowers in May.  As well as enjoying them in the garden, if you have a little spare room in you veg plot, it’s worth planting a few extra bulbs so you can pick your own cut flowers for the house.

I love them and the brighter the colour, the better!

You can find more about Martin at www.martinfish.com or find him on Twitter!

April Plant of the Month by Martin Fish: Edgeworthia chrysantha

Plant of the Month by Martin Fish

Horticultural expert Martin FishMartin 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.

Edgeworthia chrysantha

Edgeworthia chrysantha

If you want to try something a little unusual in your garden I can recommend Edgeworthia chrysantha, also known as the “Paper bush”. It is a lovely spring-flowering shrub that grows to around 1.5m (5ft) and originally comes from woodland areas of the Himalayas and China. The flower buds develop over winter on the tips of the bare stems and open as clusters of small, fragrant yellow flowers in spring. In mild areas it can start to flower in early spring, but this year with the cold weather it’s going to be a little later and certainly in my North Yorkshire garden. After flowering, the large ovate, green foliage develops which is very decorative and, as the shrub matures, it develops a papery bark, hence it’s common name.

Edgeworthia chrysantha

The books say that edgeworthia is frost hardy and will withstand temperatures down to -5°C, but my plant has survived -10°C. However, it’s always best grown in a sheltered sunny position or in a large container that can be moved against a sunny wall for protection.

I like it because it’s a bit different, has beautiful flowers and a delicate scent. It’s also guaranteed to be a talking point when people see it in the garden!

 

You can find more about Martin at www.martinfish.com or find him on Twitter!

My latest guest blog, now a couple of months in!

There are SO many different types of gardening equipment available. I realised this as I was writing up product descriptions for 13 new garden tractors. Lots of them were very similar, yet had slight differences which I had to outline – not being a garden tractor expert myself, it is harder than it seems to know what readers want to know about in just 100 words. Some of them even charge your phones whilst you ride them!

I’ve been delving into the world of gardening bloggers and podcasts, researching ways in which the Paskett PR clients can get their products talked about through a range of different platforms. There are quite a few of them out there, all offering their own tips and tricks.

The other week I used ‘Agility’ for the first time, which is a programme that contains newspaper, magazine and website contacts. You can then put together a personalised spreadsheet of publications which for instance, only talk about the latest gadgets or interior design. This is great for creating contact sheets for a client on places that their products may be able to get featured.

pexels-photo-60324

It’s a cliché, but no two days are the same

As you can see I’m always kept busy, which is great because even though I’m only here once a week I’m still learning lots about working in PR, and helping where I can with different research tasks.

I noticed at Uni the other week that the Derby Internship Programme has lots of new roles being advertised ready for April. I would definitely recommend an internship to anyone to truly get a feel for the environment that you want to work in. It also gives you work experience which will look great on your CV!

Olivia

It’s now my 6th week as a Paskett PR intern!

These past few weeks have definitely flown by as there has been lots of interesting things that I have been involved in here as part of the Paskett PR team.

Last week I was lucky enough to go along to Warwick so that I could see for myself what a client meeting consists of. It was great to see the amount of ideas that get bounced around between everyone! I found that everything has to be organised and planned well in advance in order to make the biggest impact on the upcoming releases and campaigns.

No two days are the same

My time in the office has been spent carrying out various different research tasks. From finding the craziest, biggest hedges, to looking for people who might be interested in using the space in a window unit at a shopping centre. The exercises have definitely been varied.

One of the things I have been doing today is some writing for competitions that will be going in The Sun. I have realised it can actually be quite hard to cut down product descriptions for gardening tools – they have so many details and specifications, even for a fork and spade!

As I carry on with my internship I am looking forward to writing some press releases, and perhaps even seeing some of my work being published. Getting feedback from clients on research that I have done for them will also be rewarding, knowing that I am actively partaking in helping the team.

Keep an eye out for more of my intern updates!

Olivia