Tag Archives: planting

Plant now for a glorious spring display

Plants bulbs now for a spring display

Plant now for a gorgeous flowering display in spring

Not only does our lovely 2018 Dairy Diary give you 56 fabulous recipes, but it also is packed with interesting articles, such as Blooming Bulbs, which gives lots of tips on flowering bulbs.

And it’s now time to plant for a gorgeous flowering display in spring. There is a myriad of stunning blooms to choose from including crocuses, narcissi, grape hyacinths (my favourite!), tulips, anemones, dog’s tooth violets and lily-of-the-valley.

In general, bulbs don’t take too much effort
to plant but the results can be spectacular,
providing a welcome ‘surprise’ in spring.


Planting spring bulbsIn the ground:
Prepare a hole, or a trench if you’re mass planting, to a depth of two or three times the height of the bulbs (three or four times for tulips – always the odd ones out!). Sit each one on its rough underside, so that the narrow end points upwards (a dip or buds for corms, which are flatter than true bulbs). Space them at least an extra bulb’s width apart. For tubers and rhizomes, it’s fine to lay them sideways. Replace the soil and gently firm down.

In containers:
The RHS recommends three parts John Innes No.2 to one part grit if you plan to leave the bulbs in situ for more than one season. Otherwise, using multi-purpose compost instead of John Innes is fine. Put some broken crocks or stones at the bottom of the pot to aid drainage and plant as before, but not quite so widely spaced. Water regularly.

Planting snowdropsIn grass:
Scatter handfuls of bulbs around the area and plant them where they land, either individually or in groups, replacing soil and grass clumps when you have excavated the hole and popped in the bulbs. To save time and too much hard work, you could invest in a bulb planter, a tool specially designed for the job. Several kinds are available, including ones with long handles. It’s best not to cut the grass until the bulbs’ leaves have died back, several weeks after flowering, so this may dictate where you want to cultivate the natural look.

Squirrels love bulbs!
They seem to be especially fond of crocuses and tulips, so if this is likely to be a problem, try netting the area or spreading some sharp gravel on the surface. Failing that, they are, apparently, not too keen on chilli flakes, so you could try sprinkling some of that around.


Dairy Diary 2018 now available




A Fabulous Fern for Shady Corners

Seasonal Garden Ideas

Fabulous Fern

Here’s a show that’s strictly for the summer months – a magnificent bird’s-nest fern lighting up a shady corner with its huge, wavy-edged, apple-green fronds.

Warm, moist conditions in shade are a must – plus indoor shelter for the rest of the year.

Grow the fern as an indoor plant until summer temperatures outdoors are warm enough – 16°C (60°F) at the very least. Bring indoors again at the end of summer to a heated greenhouse, conservatory or living room.

Planting the fern should take about a hour or so – it’s quite big so will take some handling.



What you need

A specimen-sized bird’s-nest fern (Asplenium nidus).


  • Large terracotta, ceramic or plastic container with drainage holes.
  • Humus-rich compost with added grit or sharp sand for drainage.
  • Broken crocks for drainage.
  • Trowel.


1 Line the container with broken crocks for drainage. Half-fill with the compost. Check the level of the compost by placing the fern, in its original pot, inside the container – it should be planted at the same level as it was before. Adjust the level of compost as necessary.

2 Plant the fern into the compost, firming in well. Top up the compost to within 5cm (2in) of the rim of the pot. Water thoroughly.

3 Bring the fern outside when the weather is warm and position in a shady, sheltered spot. Keep it moist at all times and feed weekly with a liquid fertiliser during the growing season.


If the care, attention and exacting conditions required by bird’s-nest fern seem a little daunting, then try its smaller relative, the hart’s-tongue fern (Asplenium scolopendrium, also known as Phyllitis scolopendrium or Scolopendrium vulgare). This fern is frost hardy and reaches about 30cm (12in) tall, with a spread of 45cm (18in). It does well in damp, shady places and likes well-drained, alkaline soil. The variety ‘Marginatum’ has most attractive frilly edged fronds.


If conditions are right, bird’s-nest fern can produce fronds over 90cm (3ft) long and 20cm (8in) wide with their trademark thick black midrib. Bear this size in mind for when you need to move the plant around and when it comes to repotting into a larger container.


Remove old or damaged fronds as they appear.  Keep warm, moist and humid at all times, though you can lessen watering during the winter.



Seasonal Garden IdeasA project from Seasonal Garden Ideas.

Now available for just £3.99!

    Buy Seasonal Garden Ideas

A Splash of Colour and Instant Curb Appeal in 4 Simple Steps


A Splash of Colour and Instant Curb Appeal in 4 Simple Steps

Garden centres are filling up with beddings plants and we can finally say goodbye to winter on Sunday with the official start of spring.

Celebrate the new season by creating a splash of colour at the front of your house.

For just a few pounds and a few minutes
you can give your home instant curb
appeal with some gorgeous flowers.

In this feature from our Seasonal Garden Ideas book we show you show.


Playing a Supporting Role

A single giant pot with a very large plant can look a bit stark – surrounding it with smaller containers holding a variety of colourful flowers will soften the overall effect.

Buy a bedding strip of pansies, and several pots of white narcissi in bud in March for flowering in April and May.

Planting one pot like this takes less than an hour, but if you want to surround a large container with many smaller ones, allow an afternoon for the job.


What you need


  • Bedding strip of six to eight blue pansy (Viola) plantlets.
  • Six white Narcissus ‘Petrel’ in bud.


  • Terracotta pot.
  • Soil-based potting compost.
  • Broken crocks for drainage.
  • Trowel.
  • Extra terracotta pots, if required, to surround the planted container.

1 Line the terracotta pot with a layer of broken crocks for drainage.

2 Start filling with compost, then ascertain the right height for the narcissi by placing them in their pot on the compost – the rootball/bulbs should be about 4cm (1½in) below the rim of the terracotta pot.

3 Position all the narcissi, spacing them out as evenly as possible, firm in by twisting each one slightly, then top with more compost.

4 Plant the pansies in the same way, positioning them around and in front of the pot. Firm them in, finishing with a final layer of compost. Bump the pot gently to settle the plants and compost, then water thoroughly.


The beauty of this arrangement is that when the pansies and narcissi have finished flowering, you can replace the whole pot with another display. With the wide range of narcissi and pansy colours available, you can choose any number of variations on this theme – or go for something completely different.


The pansies may well flower a lot longer than the white narcissi. In this case, cut down the narcissi stalks when the flowers have withered and allow the pansies to continue on their own.


Deadhead the pansies regularly to ensure a long and continuing display of flowers. If the narcissi start bending over (in high winds or rain), support with thin bamboo canes and soft string ties.

Seasonal Garden Ideas if available for just £3.99 at http://www.dairydiary.co.uk/gift-books.html



Create a gorgeous garden by planting a tree

How to plant a tree

Create a gorgeous garden by planting a tree – Dairy Diary shows you how

We might not be spending much time in the garden at the moment, but the long dark evenings give us a great opportunity to plan for the spring and summer.

Use Pinterest to create inspiring moodboards with images of gardens and plants that you love. You could even plan to plant a show-stopping tree.

In the 2016 Dairy Diary we show you how to choose the perfect spot and the ideal specimen.

Dairy Diary 2016The Dairy Diary is still
available to buy here
or by calling 01425 463390.




Grow your own tree

How to plant a treeTrees, beautiful and ever-changing, bring a reassuring sense of continuity – plant a tree and in the normal course of events it will be there for generations to come.

Besides this, the bare fact is that trees play a vital role in all our lives. We breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide; trees do the opposite, although in fact they store carbon dioxide rather than releasing this ‘greenhouse gas’ into the atmosphere. The leaves absorb various pollutants including nitrous oxides, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide.

So trees not only produce oxygen but help clean the air, too, and they help to decontaminate the soil by absorbing noxious chemicals, either storing them or changing them into a less harmful state. These are the fundamental reasons why it is so important to maintain woodlands and parks, especially in urban areas.

“We breathe in oxygen
and breathe out carbon
dioxide; trees do the opposite”

There’s more: trees prevent soil erosion, slow down water run-off (particularly important in storm or flood conditions), act as windbreaks, deaden noise and give shade and shelter. They provide natural habitats for birds, insects and other animals, support other plant life and offer a terrific harvest in the form of timber, fruit and nuts, not to mention soil-enriching compost from leaf fall. Life would be poorer – not to say impossible – without trees, so the more of them the better.

At least two charities are on the case. The Woodland Trust organises tree planting, including acres of new woodland to commemorate the First World War, as does the Tree Council, which also runs National Tree Week as an annual autumn event (check websites for details). The National Trust is another great defender and planter of trees. A one-off On a less ambitious scale, you could consider cultivating your own tree. Just one would be a great asset to the garden whether deciduous or evergreen.

Think about whether you want one that produces lovely flowers in the spring, such as a magnolia, or has colourful foliage in the autumn, such as a maple. A fruit tree will provide you with a succulent harvest or perhaps you prefer a tree that’s purely decorative, such an ornamental cherry, paperbark maple or a weeping silver pear. Consider how tall your tree is likely to grow and how much it will spread. When deciding where to put it, and whether you want it to be a focal point in the garden, take into account how the shade cast will affect the house and the rest of the garden, and indeed your neighbour’s house and garden.

Soil type is critical. Different species of tree prefer different conditions, so don’t skimp on your research. Get the match wrong and your long-term beauty is likely to turn into a short-term flop. You can grow a small tree in a container, and thus control soil type, but position the container carefully because, once your tree starts growing, the pot may be difficult to move.

“Consider how tall your
tree is likely to grow and
how much it will spread”

Planting a Tree Autumn and winter are the recommended times to plant a tree, whether bare-rooted or container grown.

About a month beforehand, prepare the site by loosening the soil and digging in some organic matter or fertiliser. in a wide area (about 3m/10ft). When it comes to planting, leave the tree in a bucket of water for an hour, still in its pot, if that’s how it came.

Dig the hole as deep as the roots and about three times as wide. The base of the trunk should be a fraction above the soil when the hole is backfilled. Backfilling is a job for two. Ask someone to hold the tree upright and make sure soil fills in around the roots, leaving no air pockets – best done with your hands.

Firm the soil, not too hard. No need for more fertiliser, which may damage fragile roots, but do mulch with well-rotted compost, not right up to the stem. Support the sapling with a stake or two, secured with tree ties. Remember to loosen them as the tree grows.

The young tree will need plenty of watering in its first few years (even if it rains a lot!) and it’s best to keep the area around it clear of other plants. Mulching is good but, again, not right up to the trunk because if this is constantly damp, the bark may rot.


It can be worrying if you have a tree near the house, but usually it’s not a problem – as far away from the house as it’s tall is a good rule of thumb, and keep it neat and well pruned. It may be a good idea to have it surveyed from time to time, so that if any problems do arise, they can be nipped in the bud. Serious subsidence or structural damage to a building are rarely the fault of a tree, although it may add to the problem; and subsidence may be a risk on clay in prolonged dry weather, since the tree taking water from the soil may cause shrinkage.

Generally, tree roots don’t block drains – only if the drain is already damaged, allowing the roots a way in. A tree is the responsibility of the landowner, and so you may be liable for any damage caused by branches breaking off in the wind, for example. Check your insurance to make sure you’re covered, and for specific conditions that may apply to your property. And before doing anything drastic to a tree, check with the Local Authority to see whether it’s subject to a Tree Preservation Order (when various restrictions apply).







Plant a spring flower medley in one hour

How to plant a spring flower medley


Celebrate the start of spring with these easy planted pots

Well thank goodness……..spring begins on Wednesday.

Let’s hope it heralds plenty
of sunshine and new growth.

I have already glimpsed swathes of crocuses and the daffodils are bravely shooting through our lawn at the moment. The front garden does need a little help though as it’s still looking pretty sparse.

Seasonal Garden IdeasThis easy project from Seasonal Garden Ideas
(£3.99 dairydiary.co.uk) is perfect to brighten it up!





Spring Flower Medley

Spring-Flower-Medley-2The beauty of growing plants in pots is that you can bring very different species together to form interesting associations – as proved by this captivating little group themed around the colour blue.

Buy the different plants in March and pot up for flowering in April and May. Takes about one hour. Plant in full sun.

What you need


  • Three deep blue hyacinths (Hyacinthus orientalis ‘Delft Blue’), in leaf, flower buds showing.
  • Five to seven Iris reticulata ‘Harmony’ in leaf.
  • Ten to twenty grape hyacinths (Muscari armeniacum).
  • Three small pots of Anemone blanda ‘Violet Star’.
  • One large pot of trailing variegated ivy (Hedera).


  • Three blue ceramic pots (or any other containers of your choice).
  • Two small terracotta pots.
  • One watering can with a wide mouth.
  • Enough soil-based potting compost to fill all the containers.
  • Broken crocks for drainage.
  • Horticultural grit or gravel (optional).
  • Trowel.


1 Water all the plants thoroughly so the rootballs are moist right through. Line all the containers with a layer of broken crocks for drainage.

2 Start filling each container with compost. About halfway up, place the plant in its pot into the container to check for the right level. The top of the rootball should be about 4cm (1½in) below the rim of the container. Add more compost as needed.

3 Carefully tip each plant out of its pot, supporting the rootball and compost with your fingers on each side of the plant stems. Place in the container, firming in gently, then top up with more compost all round the plant, aiming to keep the top of the compost 4cm (1½ in) below the container rim. Firm the plant(s) again, then lift the whole container and tap or bump it gently against the ground to settle the compost and even it out all round.

4 Repeat the planting procedure for all the containers and plants. Water them all thoroughly using a fine rose on your watering can. If you like, scatter a layer of horticultural grit or gravel on top – this will keep weeds at bay, help to retain moisture and give a neat appearance.

5 Finally, position the newly planted containers in their allotted spot and wait for them to flower.

Choose a spot in full sun for the Anemone blanda – these only open fully when the sun is shining right on them.

When choosing your containers, bear in mind overall size and height. The aim is to have a range of sizes from short at the front to tall at the back.

Support the top-heavy hyacinths with discreet bamboo canes and soft string ties if needed. As with most bulbous plants, when the hyacinths, grape hyacinths and iris have finished flowering, allow the leaves to die back completely before lifting the bulbs/corms/rhizomes and planting in the garden. Alternatively, discard the old plants and replace next year with new.

Project taken from Seasonal Garden Ideas.

Plant now for a gorgeous spring display

Plant now for a gorgeous spring display

I would adore to live in a chocolate-box thatched cottage, or an imposing Victorian townhouse, but the reality is actually a 1980s red brick square.

We live in a lovely village and our house is very practical for a busy family, but what it’s not is pretty.

So my mission is to try and soften its
appearance with a gorgeous garden.

As time and money are not in abundance at the moment I need to start small.

Seasonal Garden IdeasWith this project from our
Seasonal Garden Ideas book, the
patch of lifeless soil underneath
the living room window can be
transformed into a fiery riot of
colour (fingers crossed!)

Click here simple step-by-step instructions.

Seasonal Garden Ideas is available for just £3.99 – it is an ideal low-cost Christmas Gift for family and friends.


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