Introducing Climbers for your garden.

Climbers take up little ground space and are an excellent choice for small gardens. They provide vertical structure to the garden and will elevate their flowers beautifully.

Climbers can be either evergreen or deciduous.

These plants either twine their stems or leaf tendrils around framework such as other plants or a trellis perhaps. In fact, anywhere that they can find spaces to twine around.

Here are some popular examples:

Clematis are hugely popular here in the UK – and rightly so, for it is possible to have clematis in flower for most months of the year.  Clematis are normally associated with sunny walls or dripping over the top of a fence. There are both evergreen and deciduous Clematis available. Evergreen Clematis are a great addition to any garden at this time of year adding substance which is so often lacking. The early flowering varieties are a great way to kick off early spring: E.g. “Willy”, with her delicate pale pink flowers going to deeper a pink at the base of each petal & “armandii”, a handsome evergreen with creamy-white flowers.  “Warwickshire Rose” has small but beautifully fragrant, shell pink flowers that cover the plant in abundance They are displayed against a back ground of dark foliage, this foliage intensifies during the summer.

Clematis need moisture-retentive, but well-drained soil and to be positioned in full sun or partial shade.  Keep the base of the plant and the roots cool and shaded by carefully positioning other plants around it, or put a layer of pebbles or flat stones at the base.  They can also be grown in containers on the patio. You will need to use a large container at least 45cm (18”) in diameter, with the same depth to enable good root growth.  Whether planted in the ground or in a container you will need to provide them with a suitable support for them to grow onto, an obelisk, small trellis, or use canes leading towards a wall.

Clematis

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Jasmines are well known for their delightful scent.  They are best planted in well drained soil that does not become waterlogged in the winter. A wide range of soil is acceptable, but heavy clay soils will need to be lightened in the immediate area of the plant. Full sun or the lightest of shade is ideal. A few favourites for us here at Cramden Nursery are: “Clotted Cream”, she has masses of pretty creamy scented flowers during the summer.  “Inverleith” a summer jasmine with flower buds which are dark red.  The open flowers still have this colour stripe on the back of the petals making a pretty red & white effect.

 

Lonicera (Honeysuckle) are popular garden plants with highly perfumed flowers, the climbing varieties look fabulous draped over pergolas & supports.  They prefer fertile, humus rich, moist well drained soil. They will flower best with their top growth in full sun. There are a few winter flowering Lonicera E.g.: ‘Winter Beauty’ & ‘standishii’, bringing much needed colour into the garden through the winter months. Our summer favourite has to be the new “Strawberries & Cream” with her pink and white fragrant flowers she is a beautiful plant.

Lonicera

 

Passiflora (Passion Flower) Passion flowers are vigorous tendril clad climbers with evergreen foliage and very unusual flowers. Not the hardiest of climbers, but they can survive cold winters in a dry border, with added root protection. They often get battered in the winter, but can shoot out again from down below.

 

Here at Cramden we are excited to be selling climbers for the first time this spring. We have teamed up with John Richards Nurseries from Malvern who grow these beautiful plants at the foot of the Malvern Hills. Each month we will have a new delivery of different types and varieties, alongside a selection of interesting shrubs and trees.

Pelargonium sidoides

We are busy taking more cuttings here today at Cramden Nursery. Our stock plant of Pelargonium sidoides was still in flower. Just love these rich purple flowers with their metal grey green foliage, which have a pepery scent to them.

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New beginings in 2018

Great to be taking our first batch of cuttings in 2018 here at Cramden nursery.

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These little beauties will be ready for potting up in 4-5 weeks time, they will go into 2litre pots and will be ready for the sales benches by the beginning of May.

Yesterday we were taking our ‘Candy Flowers’ range of Decorative Pelargoniums, our firm favourite here on the nursery is ‘Violet’, such rich pretty flowers. Her flowers remind us of an old variety we used to grow “Ashby”. ‘Violet’ is a more compact plant with a lovely bushy growth habit, perfect for pots and container growing. She gets a lot of attention here from all our customers.

Cramden Nursery Candy Flowers Violet

Lord Bute is still going strong.

Lord Bute is still our best selling decorative Pelargonium here at Cramden Nursery. It is easy to see why, with it’s rich deep purple petals edged in pink. A real wow factor for your patio planters. This variety has been around for years, it was wowing the Victorians back in the 18 century and continues today to be centre of attention here on the nursery. A good strong upright growing variety, best planted in pots. It will flower all summer for you up until the first frosts. A regular feed of a high potash liquid feed will help to keep it’s energy up for continual flowering for you.

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“Gardeners World” at Cramden Nursery.

“Gardeners World” at Cramden Nursery.

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On the 4th August Cramden Nursery had its debut tv appearance on “Gardeners World”!

It was amazing to see our nursery and beautiful Pelargoniums on national TV.

So how did it all come about?

Well the origins of this wonderful experience and national exposure were set up back in the spring of 2016.  We were asked to get involved with a Pelargonium Trial that the RHS were running during the summer of 2016 at Wisely and Kew gardens.  They needed different varieties of Pelargoniums to be sent down for this trial.   We were very interested in the trails and happily got involved supplying them with some of our favourite varieties we grow here At Cramden Nursery.

These trials looked at plants grown in containers and in open ground.  The judges graded the plants on how well they grew, how many flowers they produced and how well they performed throughout the summer.  One of the varieties that we sent down, Abelina, was awarded the “RHS Garden Award of Merit”.

The RHS also wanted to take in the public’s opinions of the plants, so visitors to both gardens were encouraged to vote for their favourite varieties.  Two of the varieties we sent down came in the top 3 as voted by the public, (“People’s Choice” award) these were Abelina and Flower Fairy White splash.  It was great to get these results, these are varieties that we grew here at Cramden Nursery and are firm favourites with staff and customers alike.

It is from these results and awards for these plants that “Gardeners World” got in touch and wanted to know more about the specific varieties and our nursery.

On a very sunny day at the beginning of July a BBC camera crew pulled up here at Cramden Nursery.  I had already had a good chat on the phone with the producer so I had a rough idea on how the interview was going to run.

Spending a whole day (yes they were here all day from 8:30am till 6:30pm) with the film crew was a real eye opener on how they put these features together.

Up until that day I had always thought of our nursery as a quiet and peaceful place, the sound man however may have had a different opinion.  I had not noticed how many aeroplanes crossed over head.  Filming had to be stopped for every one of them.  The nursery is adjacent to a cemetery, quite neighbours you would think, apart from when the lawn mowers come in to cut the grass that is. So filming had to be stopped and the lawn mowers asked nicely if they could start at the other end of the site that morning.  Thankfully they agreed and we were able to complete filming the main interview and then headed into the green houses to look at our beautiful Pelargoniums.

I had a lot of fun that day talking about my favourite varieties, explaining the different types of Pelargoniums we grew and looking at the award winning varieties from the RHS trials.  The sound man however was still finding too much back ground noise to his liking.  The injector we use to incorporate liquid feed into our hose pipes as we water clicks repeatedly. The moving of boxes of plants to refill benches scrapes along the trolley shelves.  The bagging up of compost (we sell our own mix of compost here, it is exactly the same as what we use on all our Pelargoniums), from the potting bench with the bench squeaking every time it is lent against.  Then the blinds start to move overhead to shade from the sun.  The till pings and beeps with each plant sale. We got through it all with a lot of laughter, it has really made me listen more to the noises of our working nursery that I have never noticed before.

Then there was the heat, wow it was a hot day and therefore even hotter under glass, I am quite used to working under glass in this heat but it soon became apparent that the Camera crew were not, they did really well with plenty of water stops and a few breaks to find a little shade to get their heads back together.

A full day of filming and talking, re filming with more talking was quite exhausting but a lot of fun.  The film crew and producer made me feel so relaxed and at ease with them, it felt like I was just chatting to them about our nursery and explaining all about Pelargoniums to just them rather than nation.  It was nice to tell them all about the history of the nursery and about Dad who started it up and how we have developed and changed over the years.

By the time they packed up their Cameras they had captured lots of beautiful film footage of our nursery. The producer’s job was to now sit through it all and condense it down to a 5-6 minute feature; I didn’t envy his job they had been with us all day!

As we sat down on Friday 4th August to “Gardeners World” we were excited to see what had made the grade and what had been left on the cutting room floor.  We honestly had no real idea how it was going to look and what was going to be shown or for how long.  We were thrilled with the result. The crew had managed to capture our nursery and our beautiful plants perfectly.  We were over the moon that they had used the picture of dad, a fitting tribute to get him on national TV.

And although I had sent them the picture of dad I was still caught out by seeing his face on the screen.  I just know he would be so pleased to see the nursery and our plants on national TV.

We have been bowled over by the response from existing customers and new customers alike since the feature on “Gardener’s World”.  We have had new customers coming from far and wide to visit the nursery.  Local people, who had just never found our nursery before, amazed that we are actually on their door step, in their town.  The website traffic has been high and the web shop busy taking pre orders for next spring delivery.  So many well wishes through face book and lots of questions on Pelargoniums; from taking cuttings, identifying varieties and over wintering techniques.  It has been a wonderful response and a wonderful experience.

 

Time to put your Pelargoniums to bed!

Time to put your Pelargoniums to bed. I hope you have had a wonderful display from all your Pelargoniums this summer?

As the days begin to draw in it is time to begin to think about putting the garden to bed for the winter and that includes your Pelargoniums. They are not frost hardy so will not survive our winters.

Ideally they would like you to pack them up and send them off to the Med for the winter months.

However if Mediterranean residency is not a possibility then I can give you some good advice on how to overwinter your Pelargoniums here in England. So, the most important point is that wherever you choose to keep your plants for the winter is that it is frost free and dry. So a cold greenhouse will not do, nor will a shed if we get a cold winter. Neither will stay frost free for long.

If you have a heated greenhouse or a conservatory that will be heated through the winter, these are ideal places for your Pelargoniums to be overwintered as green plants. Many will continue to flower well into the winter for you if they get enough winter sunshine and food.

If neither of these are an option for you then a garage attached to the house (to benefit from some of your residual central heating warmth) or a spare room will do nicely.

For this option you must prepare your plants for the winter. They need to be allowed to dry out in their pots and then with clean sharp secateurs cut them back hard. Now, this is where you will need to be mentally strong, you will feel awful, after all summer feeding and watering your plants, I am now asking you to cut them right back. Cut them back to about 3inches and then take off any leaves that are left, you should be left with just stumps.

They will look dreadful but by removing the aerial part of the plant you are removing the need to water them and all that material that would offer perfect conditions for botrytis (grey mould) to grow during the winter months. These ‘stumps’ now need to be kept frost free and dry for the winter, so no watering, not even a little bit! You are putting them into hibernation for the winter. They do not need light so a garage will work or a spare room. The most important point is to keep them dry and frost free from here on.

Do not cover them in plastic to give them extra frost protection they will just sweat in there and the dampness will encourage grey mould which will just kill them off. Fleece can be used to offer a little extra protection but it would be good to make sure it is removed occasionally to allow fresh air round your plants to ward off any possibilities of grey mould.

Now here is the tricky part: You have to leave them alone till the end of the winter, no well meaning watering after New Year when we all get that ‘January itch’ to start doing things in/for our gardens. A well meaning watering at this point will just lead to a soggy mess of grey mould for you to find at the end of winter, leave well alone!

Now this is not a failsafe system, sometimes for reasons unknown plants do not survive but if you can get say 50% through the winter then it is well worth a go.

For a video with step by step instructions showing you how hard to cut your plants back follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AE8wzXwZ51s

“Be happy grow Geraniums”

Be happy grow geraniums

Rozanne                   Max frei

Hardy geraniums (aka the cranes bill), are wonderful plants for the garden.

Hardy geraniums are one of the most popular perennials in Britain. And it’s easy to see why.

Coming in so many different shapes and sizes Geraniums range from tall growing varieties for the backs of borders to beautifully compact varieties to edge paths and take prime positions in pots and borders.

They are slug resistant and rabbit resistant (hurray!) and they just simply flower and flower.

After their first flush of flowers if you give them a good cut back most will flower again before the end of the summer for you.

They could not be easier!

The majority of Hardy Geraniums come in a relatively restricted range of colours; pinks, blues and whites.  But the range of shades within those colours is widely varied, for example the pinks range from near white with just a hint of pink, to the brightest deep reddish-magentas.  Geranium ‘Patricia’ has a wonderful hot magenta pink flower with a black eye.

Foliage is also an important factor with many Hardy Geraniums, there are varieties with beautifully cut leaves, while others have soft rounded leaves, many are deciduous but there are some that will hold their foliage all year round providing structure and shape to your borders in the midst of winter. Geranium ‘Mavis Simpson’ is an evergreen variety that produces wonderful dollops of grey-green foliage through the winter and pretty soft pink flowers throughout the summer.

Geranium leaf colour ranges from fresh green leaves to rich dark chocolate foliage such as ‘Orkney Cherry’ her leaves are topped off with dainty bright cherry coloured flowers.

Hardy Geraniums are one of the largest groups of flowering garden plants. There are Geraniums suitable for just about any position in the garden, from dark, dry shade through to hot, dry scree. Geranium ‘phaeum Album’ with her pure white flowers will happily, brighten up a shady area of the garden.

There are shorter growing geranium varieties that are great for ground cover.  With their well formed foliage & dainty flowers growing to no more than 30cm tall they are perfect for front of borders or even to be grown in pots. Geranium ‘sanguineum’ has fine, deeply lobed, small leaves topped with magenta pink flowers with a rambling habit.

There has been a recent explosion in interest in Hardy Geraniums from different breeders bringing lots of new varieties to the market.

Geranium ‘Rozanne’ is one of the best known new introductions, it was voted by the RHS as plant of the Centenary in 2013. With her beautiful, large, blue flowers that are produced non stop from late May to the first frosts.  Her marbled foliage adds to the attractiveness of this variety.  She will grow well in sun and partial shade and will happily ramble through other plants and across the border to provide great ground cover.  Grow her in a tall pot and she will tumble over the edge and trail beautifully for you.

Here at Cramden Nursery we grow a good selection of Hardy Geraniums, pop in to see the different varieties we grow and to ask any questions you might have on how to grow them and which variety to plant where. We are here to help.

 

Summer colour starts here.

Summer colour begins here for your borders, pots & hanging baskets.

One of the most popular groups of summer bedding and pot plants are Pelargoniums, you may know them as Geraniums. They take the form of either upright or trailing varieties. With their bright colourful blooms, that will be produced all summer long and well into the autumn, you can understand why they are one of gardener’s favorites for summer colour.

Here at Cramden Nursery we grow over 40,000 Pelargoniums each year, with over 50 different varieties to choose from. You’re bound to find the right colour combination for your garden.

A great economical way of filling your garden with colour is to start off with young plants or ‘plugs’ as we call them. You will need somewhere to grow them on with plenty of light away from the last few frosts of winter and if you can give them some heat too your little plants will sprint away. A greenhouse, a conservatory even a sheltered porch will do.

Our plugs are grown from rooted cuttings. These are cuttings that have been rooted for you in our propagation greenhouse, so the technical bit has already been done. When you are buying rooted cuttings you need to be looking out for nice healthy, fresh white roots.

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At this stage they are ready to be potted up but not ready for the outside world just yet. Pelargoniums are tender and will not stand up to the cold night time temps of April. So, whatever you are planning for your plugs, be it for baskets, pots or bedding for the borders it is best to get them planted into pots so they can form good strong healthy root balls before planting out in mid-May.

Choosing the right size of pot for your plugs will depend on how much space you have   A 1litre (13cm diameter) pot is a good starting size and this will have enough room for the compost to hold on to plenty of water for your young plant and there will be enough room to grow lots of healthy roots.

The quality of compost you use will reflect in the health of your plants, like they say “you get out what you put in”. The compost after all is where the plants will find all their food they need to get growing.

At this stage there is no need feed to your plants, the potting compost has all it needs already. Your newly potted plants will soon begin to grow new leaves and shoot up for you. Keep up with regular watering to keep them growing, new roots form much more easily in moist compost. As your plants grow they may need spacing to ensure they grow into well branched bushy plants. Keep them inside until the risk of frost is gone.

So, if you’re looking for a colourful range of Pelargoniums then pop into Cramden Nursery to find your young plants this spring. If you have any questions or would like some advice on growing on your ‘plugs’ then just ask a member of staff who are on hand to help.

Happy Planting from Emily and the team at Cramden Nursery

 

 

 

 

Time to wake up your Pelargoniums

It is time to wake up your overwintered Pelargoniums, so they can begin to grow and be ready to flower again for you this summer.

Your plants need to be brought out of their hibernation and into the light.

They will look very sorry for themselves; the compost will be grey and will have shrunk away from the sides of the pot. Very gently you need to rehydrate the compost this will take a little time as you need to do it gently, so little and often is best.

At this point they still need to be kept frost free but will need light so they can begin to grow, so a greenhouse, conservatory or windowsill are ideal places for them now.

If possible repot your plants with fresh compost to give the roots a new lease of life.

Slowly you will begin to see new growth coming from the points where you cut them back. They need to be kept in a frost free environment until the summer and gently watered.

You will find your overwintered plants will put on new growth quickly as they already have a good roots system in place to support them.

If you have any questions then get in touch in all the usual ways: face book www.facebook.com/cramdennursery, email me at emily@cramdennursery.co.uk or you can always pick up the phone and if you want to actually talk to someone on 01604 842365.

Cramden Nursery zonals (2)

Something “a little bit different”.

Alongside the new Zonal Pelargoniums(Geraniums) we introduced to you last month we have 3 new varieties this year that are “a little bit different”.

‘Chocolate Girl’ is new to our variegated leaf Pelargonium range.  She has rich dark almost chocolate coloured leaves with a green edge to them.  As the sun gets stronger and the daylight hours increase the leaves become darker and darker, contrasting beautifully with it’s cherry cola flowers. It is a strong growing variety and will make up into a big plant very quickly.

chocolate girl

Two-in-One Peach is a cross between an Ivy Pelargonium and a Zonal Pelargonium.   This cross makes excellent ground cover, as it has a bushy well branched growth habit. With it’s single flowers it is excellently weather resistance and low maintenance. It’s pretty peach flowers are really eye catching.

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Cassiopeia is another cross between an Ivy Leaf Pelargonium and a Zonal Pelargonium. This variety however produces a more compact and bushy plant.  With semi double deep red flowers it produces’ a striking display in pots and borders alike.

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