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At Primrose, we pride ourselves on stocking the best range of plants going, from exciting new introductions to hard to find heritage varieties. We know that deciding on a plant can be complicated, so we’ve created unique pages for all our plants, explaining the species-specific factors you need to consider and what makes each variety unique. We don’t just stop there, but provide advice on how to care for your plants on our blog, ensuring you receive the biggest blooms and largest crops.
How should I plan out my garden?
First and foremost, it’s important to work out the sunny spots in your garden. For the average garden, the main cast of shade is you and your neighbours’ houses and outbuildings, but large trees can also be a significant source of shade.
The sun rises in the east and sets in the west travelling across the south sky. This means a plant that is north of a tall structure will be in shade throughout the day, a plant that is to the west in sunlight in the evening, a plant that is to east in sunlight in the morning and a plant that is south in sun throughout the day.
Not all structures cast the same shade. A birch produces dappled shade, which can be perfect for camellias and rhododendrons. A house will produce deep shade, suitable for only a few species.
Once you have worked out the sunny spots in your garden, you can plan out your garden. If you plan to grow fruit, you’ll want to reserve the sunniest spots for such plants. Most fruiting plants prefer full sun (six hours of direct sun per day in midsummer) or cropping will be reduced otherwise. South-facing walls can be used to great effect to grow exotic plants such as grapes or train a fruit tree.
Ornamental plants will be fine in semi-shade (three to six hours of direct sunlight per day). Some species such as Japanese acers, rhododendrons, camellias are suited to dappled shade, and sometimes flounder in full sun. In deep shade (less than 2 hours per day), try planting evergreen trees such as holly, conifers and photinia. Flowering plants rarely do well here, but you can always try honeysuckle, winter jasmine and some varieties of rose and clematis.
Can I grow x in my garden?
The UK is a temperate climate with mild winters. Most popular plants originate from far colder regions and therefore are unlikely to die in your garden. Instead, it’s a question of whether they will flourish. Plants that aren’t winter hardy will be listed as such and require frost protection/growing in a greenhouse.
Every plant will adapt to its conditions and nearly all plants will suffice in sub-optimal conditions, so the effects of soil types are overstated.
What we recommend is that you do not compact the soil when planting and mulch, which helps with aeration and moisture retention.
There are certain plants that do require a certain soil. Ericaceous or acid-loving plants such as blueberries, rhododendrons and camellias require acidic soils to thrive. Maintaining a low pH can be difficult so we advise planting such species in pots.
Nearly all plants will suffice in sub-optimal conditions, although fruit set and size and blooms will be reduced. We advise you divide your garden into sections based on the direct sunlight received as stipulated above.
General Tips On Caring For Plants
The key message we wish to convey to our customers is the need to water newly planted plants in months after planting. When a plant is uprooted it loses most of its water-absorbing capacity - an effect known as transplant shock. It’s water-absorbing capacity will recover slowly over time, but in the weeks after planting any plant is vulnerable.
Every species of plant is liable to death from thirst, even supposed drought tolerant species. This is because death is caused by embolism, whereby a thirsty plant absorbs oxygen, which acts to block the flow of water from its roots to crown. It is therefore important to water in times of drought.
Always mulch. Mulching helps promote aeration, benefits microorganisms and improves a soil’s water holding capacity. The last effect is most important. Soils don’t dry out and temperature extremes are moderated.
Don’t be afraid to prune if it’s recommended. Pruning is an important skill, which you’ll get better at the longer you practice. Soon you’ll have bumper blooms and abundant yields.