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

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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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

How to overwinter your beautiful Dahlias.

How to overwinter your beautiful Dahlias.

Dahlias are not frost hardy and so need to be lifted for the winter months.

Dahlias produce a swollen root system and it is these roots that need to be protected.

Your first job will be to cut back the aerial part of the plant right down to the base of the plant.

Use a garden fork to dig up the whole root system of your Dahlia, here you will find several swollen roots all connected to the base of the plant. You need to keep it all together but you can brush off the old compost from around the roots. If any of the swollen roots come away from the roots system you can discard these as they will not come to anything on their own. However, in the spring when they begin to show signs of new shoots and roots of their own then they can be divided.

 

For now, your root system needs to be placed in a box or a large enough pot and covered with compost, this compost will prevent the swollen roots from drying out over winter. They now need a place that is frost free for the winter months to survive.

 

Remember, having got them through the winter, don’t be too keen to plant them out in the spring. Wait until the last of the frosts have passed.

Here is one of our Dahlia root systems we have dug up .  That is all from 1 cutting that was planted up in April! It was a beautiful big plant and now we can see why with this  great root system supporting it.

tubers

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)”.

Autumn and Winter Violas

Violas have such pretty little faces and will flower all through the winter for you.

There are upright bushy varieties and beautiful trailing varieties that will soften the sides of pots as the tumble over the edge or spill out over the sides of hanging baskets.

Mix and match your colours or go for that bold one colour statement, how ever you plant your violas they will brighten up the winter months for you.

White Jump Up

Holiday Time is here. but how will your plants survive with out you?

Holiday time is here and it is great to get away for a break, but how will your plants cope with out you?

 

It is always difficult to decide what to do about watering while you are away, do you or don’t you ask a neighbour or family to look after your beautiful pots? If it is hot when you are away will they have to be round watering every day for you? Is that too much to ask?

 

Here are a few helpful tips for you to think of before you get away for your well earned break:

 

You can help to reduce the need for watering by moving your pots where possible into a shadier place in the garden, just while you are away.

 

Clump your pots together so it will be easier for your watering team to water them all together and not to miss any out.

 

Bring your hanging baskets down to ground level, not only are they easier to water, they won’t dry out so much as they won’t have all that warm air circulating around them.

 

To ensure your plants are looking beautiful for your home coming not only dead head your flowers before you leave but take off most of the flowers too, by the time you come home all those buds will be bursting into flower for you and not a dead head in sight.

 

Pelargonium sidoides

Pelargonium sidoides is one of Monty Dons favourite Pelargoniums.  It is always very popular at Cramden Nursery too with our customers and staff alike.

Beautiful, rich, small, single flowers of deepest plum held above gun metal rounded glaucous leaves, with a slight peppery scent to them. Makes a stunning display in a pot.

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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.