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.

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.

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Getting ready for Summer

Ok its a strange thing to write at the begining of December with the shops full of Chritsmas decorations and songs, but we really are.  Here at Cramden Nursery we are re writing our variety list and updating our online shop ready for spring and summer sales of young plants( well rooted cuttings).

Our young plants will be ready for dispatch from March, they will need somewhere frost free and with plenty of natural light to grow on before they are ready to go outside. If you can provide them with some heat better still this will push their growth on for you, if not it will just take a little more time and patience.

These young plants will benefit from being potted on into small pots individually (9cm diameter). Once they have formed a good root system you could then plant them into baskets and tubs inside if possible (this will give the plants that extra bit of heat to put on some root growth before going outside). If you do not have space inside and it is too soon to plant them outside without the threat of frost catching them, re pot them into a slightly larger (15-17cm diameter) pot to keep them growing until you can get them outside.

 

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

 

Website shop up and running at Cramden Nursery

Had a productive morning sitting in the warm resetting our website shop. It is now ready to begin taking orders for rooted cuttings of:

Scented Pelargoniums, Unusual Pelargoniums, Ivy Leaf Pelargoniums and Zonal Pelargoniums.

Plud plant size

They will be ready for dispatch in March 2016.

Check it out on : http://cramdennursery.co.uk/

Gosh so that is 2015 with only a month left in it!

Pots for the patio

Pots for the patio.

Plant pots are an effective way of brightening up any patio. Or when placed either side of your front door they can welcome you home at the end of the day. Fill them with Pelargoniums (aka Geraniums) and they will bring that summertime feel to any home.

When planning your pots don’t just think about the colour combination, how about adding height and scent too?

A tall specimen plant in the centre or towards the rear of the pot will make a great feature.

Here at Cramden nursery we grow Antik Pelargoniums (aka climbing geraniums), these tall growing varieties make up into impressive plants very quickly. They will need garden canes for support and will make a great focal point for your pot.

Why not plant Ivy leaf trailing Pelargoniums around the edge of the pot? They will tumble over the sides and soften the look of your planter.

Pelargoniums on TV

Great to see Pelargoniums on TV last night, on BBC2s “The Great British Garden Revival”, Tom Hark Dyke did them proud. He looked as the miss naming of them as ‘Geraniums’, and the differences between them and true Hardy Geraniums ( aka Cranesbills). He planted a beautiful Victorian planter up with trailing Ivy leaf Pelargoniums, delicious scented leaf Pelargoniums and its centre piece was a showy Regal Pelargonium.  The planter looked great, mixing the different types of Pelargoniums perfectly to create an attractive planter that smells good and will flower all summer long. He visited Calk Abbey in Derbyshire, where they have a beautiful walled garden and a green houses dedicated to the more unusual Pelargoniums. Defiantly. Calk Abbey is defiantly on my list of places to visit, I just love old wall gardens and their green houses.

If you missed the show then follow this link to enjoy the colour and history of the Pelargoniums. They are on in the 2nd half of the show after the Conifers.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b04ylr0p/great-british-garden-revival-series-2-7-conifers-and-pelargoniums