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Spring Flowering Bulbs

Now that autumn upon us, it’s time to start your spring flowering bulb list. If you want your garden to bloom into a colourful, peaceful and beautiful sanctuary in the spring, plant your bulbs from October to December. Many bulbs have a very long dormant period and need this time to settle and grow, requiring very little attention. With most bulbs needing this long period of dormancy, now is the best time to buy your spring flowers.

At Notcutts we have just launched our Autumn collection of spring flowering bulbs. Our bulbs are always obtained from reliable growers to ensure you buy only the best of the best. You’ll find a great range to choose from including daffodils, crocus, tulips and many other well-known and some not so well-known varieties.

A new Lifestyle collection has also been launched where you can find bulbs such as Tulip Exotic Emperor, Narcissi Kendron, Ranucculi Purple and Iris Eye of the Tiger. Furthermore, to help you get on the way to creating the perfect spring garden, there is a Buy One Get One Free offer on a selection of tulips, crocus and daffodil.

Here are a few tips to bear in mind when buying and growing your bulbs:

•    Ensure they’re as healthy and as fresh as possible – look out for plump and firm bulbs
•    Bulbs shouldn’t feel soft
•    Choose bulbs according to their preferred location and soil type
•    When growing your spring flowering bulbs good drainage and plenty of light is key, especially as many bulbs are prone to rot when dormant

Further bulb tips can be found in our Garden Library.



The Benefits of a Sedum Roof

An example of a sedum roofSedum roofs, also known as living or green roofs, use plant life instead of traditional roofing materials and can be installed on flat or gently pitched roofs. The benefits of a Sedum roof are aplenty not only for its appearance, but also because it can encourage biodiversity in an area, helps to alleviate flooding and much more.

One of the greatest advantages of a sedum roof is their ability to make a significant difference when it comes to climate change. Through research it has been proved that these roofs can reduce the amount of heat emitted from urban environments, which contributes to a greener, more ecological environment.

Another is the ability to retain much more rain than a conventional roof, minimising the cause of some flooding and the pressure put on sewage systems.

However, we think you will love this benefit most of all; not only will it help create a greener environment; it will also help to make your money go further. Sedum roofs are known to provide some insulation during winter and help reduce the need for air conditioners during warmer months – thus saving on gas and electricity bills.

A sedum roof is made up of a combination of soil, sedum plants and small pockets of air trapped between the plants, which lead to the next advantage. Through these components lower and higher frequency noises can be blocked out, reducing the level of outdoor noise heard. The sounds of heavy rain and harsh winds are insulted by the plants, which contributes to a peaceful home or office.

Last, but not least, the final benefit of a sedum roof comes in the form of wildlife. According to research conducted in the UK and Switzerland, sedum or living roofs create a micro climate for wildlife such as rare birds and insects. They also help filter airborne pollutants in the atmosphere.

All in all these roofs can provide us with warmth, energy savings and help us do our part for the environment.



Finding Inspiration for your Garden

An inspirational gardenYou have the idea to begin growing your ideal garden or you want to start from scratch and redesign the existing back yard, yet ideas are not flowing as freely as you’d hoped. Planning can be daunting, but with our help and advice we hope you’ll be well away and left itching to get outside.

If yours is a new garden you want to begin by establishing what soil type you will be working with. Soil testing kits can be found in most garden centres, but you can distinguish between them by touch. For more information about soil types take a look at our Garden Library.

Once you know what soil type you have in your garden you can begin to narrow down the plants you can grow. Make sure you find out what each flower’s growing season is, using our dedicated list of all plants and trees you can grow by month in the Garden Library. Choose your plants by their texture and colour with a balance between evergreen and deciduous plants.

Now that you have everything organised and you know what plants you wish to grow and where they will be placed, a general tidy is in order. Cut back hedges, rake up all debris on the lawn, mow the grass and make sure all flower bed edges are neat.

Tip: All trimmings and cuttings can be placed in a compost heap.

If your soil has been untouched for a while, you may need to break it up by giving it a good dig. Whilst digging it may also be a good idea to incorporate some well rotten manure or fertiliser into the soil. This will ensure your flowers blossom well in the coming months.

Lacking Inspiration?

Sourcing inspiration for your garden can be challenging, but extremely rewarding. Mr McGregor recently wrote a wonderful piece about how art has influenced him. It was Claude Monet’s Iris Bed in Monet’s Garden that left quite an impression on the keen gardener. He describes his rockery as filled with the blue and purple colours of blue bells and lavender, which were the colours Monet was most fond of.

Going on a family outing to see some flower shows or maybe a few garden openings could also trigger some much needed inspiration. Do some research and find out what garden openings there are in your local area, you never know their designs could unlock a treasure chest full of ideas.



Interesting Article

Forget Me NotAs well as providing my family with nutritious organic food, maintaining a garden and my love for football, whenever I have a spare moment I love to read. Nothing is better than sinking your teeth in a good book, but recently through having a regular spot (gratefully) with Notcutts, I have been getting more involved in personal blogs.

Reading the Gardener’s World blog, I came across one piece in particular that sparked my curiosity. ‘Plants that evoke memories’ was the title and it instantly got me thinking of all the fragrances that remind me of past events. The smell of freshly cut grass reminds me of the summers lazing on the lawn, the smell of damp leaves remind me of kicking autumn leaves off the ground and the scent of daffodils generate fond memories of spring.

In this article, Kate Bradbury talks about her experience of how the gardening world can evoke personal memories after her trip to the community orchard at Haggerston Park.

“Planted in one of the tree pits was some monarda, (commonly known as bee balm or bergamot). My partner hadn’t seen these flowers before and the name was on the tip of my tongue. I smelt them to jog my memory and, instead of coming up with the name of the plant, I was instantly transported back to the kitchen of the house I grew up in. On red floor tiles just inside the pantry, next to bottles of squash and my mum’s wine-making kit, was a brown ceramic vase containing dried flowers. Some of those flowers must have been monarda.”

Continuing to read, I found myself relating to the article through my own experiences. When Mrs McGregor and I took a trip to the RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park I subconsciously familiarised myself with plants by the means of my memories. I remember walking past a beautiful display of Crocosmia x croc. George Davison and for the life of me I couldn’t recall the name. However, looking back, I do remember reliving a memory; I was somewhat younger and a lot more youthful when I was first introduced to this plant. I can recall a vivid image of my mother wearing her tatty old gardening gloves, kneeling on a matt and removing the weeds that surrounded the plant. 

It’s fascinating how much I can remember by just the scent of a flower and slightly odd that a scent can trigger an encyclopaedia of memories. It proves how personal gardening is and that no matter how common a plant is, it can mean different things to different people.

Mr McGregor


The Art of Gardening

I find gardening inspiration in lots of different places especially art. I remember when I was a young man walking past a painting by Claude Monet whilst visiting Paris, it was so inspiring. Now that some time passed I haven’t quite achieved my dream garden, but I can see how this artwork Iris Bed in Monet’s Garden has influenced me. In the spring and summer months shades of blues and purples are dominant, especially in the rockery as blue bells and lavender fill the gaps.

Claude Monet painted this masterpiece back in 1900 when he purchased the Giverny estate. He redesigned the existing garden at the front of the house and became extremely passionate about surrounding his home with flowers. His preference for blue and violet flowers inspired him to plant spring beds with irises, which you can see in this painting.

In a way gardening is art, it takes time, dedication and knowledge to create a beautiful outdoor area. You need to know what plants are best suited next to each other, the seasons they blossom, the soils and positions each plant desires and the tailored care they require.

The similarities of a gardener and a painter are uncanny. Like Monet, I have specialist tools for my craft; I have a close relationship with my hand tools, whereas Monet and other artists grow a strong bond with their brush. However, the main similarity is the end result. We both want to accomplish something beautiful that can be enjoyed for many years to come, that can evoke different emotions and hopefully, one day it might just inspire someone else.

Mr McGregor