“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.

IMAG1173

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.

twoinone peach

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.

20160804_175954

New varieties for 2017

The new year brings new colours and varieties to add to our plant list of Pelargoniums.
The breeder we work with on our Pelargonium range is Elsner Pac from Dresden in Germany, we have worked with Elsner now for many years and they continue to develop their lines of Pelargoniums and regularly bring out new varieties.  Their breading  work is constantly striving  to develop strong growing plants with beautiful blooms across an array of colours.

This year we are pleased to be able to introduce 4 new varieties to our Zonal Pelargonium (Geranium ) range.  All of them are part of the Dark leaf selection.  They have rich dark green leaves that show off the beautiful bloom’s colours perfectly.

Alma has soft, light  baby pink flowers contrasting beautifully with the dark green leaves.

alma

 

Greta has soft lilac pink flowers which really shine against the dark green foliage.

greta

Violetta has vibrantly bright violet flowers that are dazzling against the dark green leaves.

violetta

Spanish Wine Rosé has a bicolour flower. Each petal is edged in white/silver contrasting beautifully with the rose pink petals, this is part of the same breeding line to the original Spanish Wine that we have grown for the last couple of years here at Cramden Nursery which has been much admired by our customers and staff alike.

spanish-wine-rose

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 find the You Tube channel “GeraniumTv” and look for the video “How to cut back Pelargoniums (Geraniums)”.

 

Top Tips for Hanging Basket success.

Top Tips for Hanging Basket success.

This month at Cramden Nursery we are planting up our hanging baskets.

As we are finally jumping in to spring we can start to think about the summer ahead. April is a great time of year to begin to plan your summer garden display.

If you can start your hanging baskets off now they will look great by the time you are ready to hang them out in your garden at the end of May (when the risk of frosts should have passed).

Happy Face mex

Where to grow you basket?

What you will need first is somewhere with plenty of natural light and a warm environment for you hanging basket to get growing. A heated greenhouse, conservatory or a warm porch is ideal. The more warmth & light you can give your basket the quicker you plants will grow.

What size basket?

The bigger the basket , the bigger the display will potentially be. Bigger baskets will need less regular watering in summer too due to its larger water capacity. However, make sure your basket has a suitable bracket. These things can get quite heavy once watered. So think about strength and make sure it holds the basket way from your wall!

Which Compost?

Use a good coarse compost, this will keep an open structure for you roots to grow through and aid drainage. A good idea would be to incorporate water retaining granules or gel into your growing medium as hanging basket always dry out quicker than pots on the ground or plants in the borders.

How many young plants to use?

How many plants to use will depend on the size of basket you have and when you are planting it up. The earlier you start your basket the less plants you will need as you are giving them time to grow and fill out into your basket. Don’t be tempted to squash too many plants in as they do need room to grow.

To give you an idea of how many plants we use at Cramden nursery, a 14″ basket in April will be planted up with 6 young plants.

Newly planted basket

Here on the nursery we like to fill our hanging baskets with just Ivy leaf Pelargoniums. We find there is no need to use an upright plant in the middle of the basket as the Ivy leaf Pelargoniums will fill the basket top and then tumble over the edge for us beautifully.

How to put it all together.

If you are using a wire basket don’t forget that it will need a liner.

Fill the basket with your compost, try not to push the compost down as you will squash out that essential air/oxygen for the roots. Fill to the top but not over flowing.

Lay out your plants evenly round the edge of the basket leaving 1 or 2 plants to go in the middle.

Using 2 fingers make a hole for your rooted cutting root ball and pop it in. Do not firm or push your plant down into your compost, the watering at the end will do that for you.

Once you have all your plants in place, your basket will need a water. Using a rose on the end of your hose or watering can will prevent compost being “splashed” out of your basket. Give your hanging basket a good initial water. Here at Cramden Nursery we always give our newly planted baskets a double watering to ensure all the compost is completely wet .

If this all sounds like too much hard work or you do not have the space, wait until the frosts have gone and plant up your baskets with mature plants for that instant impact.

If you are still a little unsure visit our You Tube channel, geraniumtv, for a hanging basket tutorial. Look for the video “planting a hanging basket with Pelargoniums”.

If you have any questions then come in and see us or get in touch.

Happy planting.

Vill de Dresden hanging basket

 

Hardy Geraniums at Cramden Nursery

We have had a busy week potting up next season Hardy geranium plants.

We use a peat based compost with vermiculite to provide a good open structure for the roots to grow in.  Hardy Geraniums are generally easy garden plants to grow, however growing them in 2L pots for sale has provided us with a few challenges.  Getting the potting compost right has been a learning process.  We think we now have a good mix that keeps the roots happy.  And Happy roots means a healthy plant.

hardy geraniumsn

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 find the You Tube channel “GeraniumTv” and look for the video “How to cut back Pelargoniums (Geraniums)”.

Pots & scented leaf Pelargoniums

Adding scents to your pots.

How about adding some Scented leaf Pelargoniums to your pots to add another dimension to your planting scheme. There are a wonderful selection of scents to choose from. How about a zesty orange scent of “Orange Fizz”, or a fresh citrus scent of “Citronella”. The traditional rose Geraniums scent of “Attar of Roses” is always very popular. Then there is “Big Apple”, “Creamy Nutmeg” and “Ardwick Cinnamon” for those foodies amongst you, although you can not eat them they will make your taste buds water from their scents alone.

This combination will look beautiful and smell divine. Place you scented mixed pots outside your front door so as you come in after work each day & brush past them they welcome you home with their delicious aroma.

orange fizz

Pretty Flowers of Orange Fizz, love this zesty orange scent.