HELICHRYSUM ‘Ruby Cluster’

March is well here now, and officially spring has started, but last week you would not have guessed with heavy snowfall and temperatures below freezing during the day.

But that has gone now and today the temperature is 9°c and raining!

I see many plants starting to grow, Delphiniums, Primula, Lonicera is coming into bud, and Crocus still in flower seems unaffected by the cold weather and snow.


One early flowering plant that will be coming into bud and flowering towards the end of the month is Helichrysum Ruby Cluster, grey foliage woody stemmed plant with dark red flowers, its is a plant that likes free draining soil the plant is quite hardy but dislikes winter wet.

This Helichrysum is available in other varieties and colours, Pink Sapphire, Amber Cluster, Emberglow, they are all from UK Plant Breeder – Chris Bowyer based in the North midlands.

So it if you have a plant breeding project underway and are looking for advice, assistance in developing your new plant commercially then I can be of service, more information is available on my website.


Will March be full of spring cheer of will winter return for another bite!!

Finish clearing the last of leaves and winter debris.

Still time to finish cutting back and trimming grasses.

If you have overwinter Fuchsia, prune back to one or two buds on each shoot.

Pruning early flowering Clematis once their flowers have finished and summer flowering Clematis before growth starts.

Prune bush and climbing roses, add some fertilizer to base, look for specialist rose fertilizer.

Plant new roses either bare-root or container, do not though plant where you have had roses before.

Trips to your local retail nursery or garden centre will find many plants starting to arrive for planting, still too early for spring bedding though, don’t be tempted to plant outside yet!

You can sow and plant hardy annuals.

Good time to plant snowdrops in the green brighten up garden next year.

You can start planning the new beds you prepared last month.

Time to revitalise established plants in containers, remove top 5cm of compost and replace with new add some all season slow release fertiliser.

Containers will need regular watering now.

If you have Dahlia tubers you can start them now,  place in pots or trays and cover only the tubers with compost, water, keep frost free, you can take cuttings from the new shoots if you need more plants.

Spring flowered bedding you can give regular feeding now, this will help to produce a good display during the season,

For a good display of spring bulbs next year you can remove spent flowers and seed heads, leave leaves for now.

Keep an eye now for slugs and snails use your usual method.

Lift and divide and perennials that you want to revitalise, move or create more plants.

You can take basal cuttings of perennials that are showing new growth.

Seed sowing is well underway now, look for some new varieties to try.

Cut back Cornus (dogwood) and Salix (willow) grown for coloured stems in winter.

Where possible start regular hoeing of weed seedling as you see them it will help later in the season to keep on top of them now.

Now is a good time to lay new turf, work from planks, do not walk over it for several weeks, you will need to water it during dry periods, first cut should be on the highest setting.

Established lawns can be cut now if needed and weather allows, don’t mow if frosty or if frost is forecast. The first cut of the season should be light, keep blades 1cm above usual height.

Good time to get blades sharpened and mower serviced if you did not get it done last month.

Later in the month you can apply a spring fertilizer that is high in nitrogen this will help the lawn recover from winter.

Any bare patches, fork over and loosen soil then apply some fresh grass seed, keep watered, may have to protect from birds.

Neaten edges with a turf iron, it  will make lawn borders look a lot better. Work from a board if it’s wet.

For ponds you can start feeding fish now, give a little but often.

Check, repair or replace pumps and filters.

Tidy up plants in bog garden add new plants if required.

In the veg garden you can start chitting early potatoes for planting later in month, plant shallots, onions and garlic.

Dig in some green manure or compost to improve soil.

Prepare seed beds for planting and you can start sowing , carrots, radishes and lettuce under cloches for early crops.

Continue to plant fruit trees and raspberry canes, autumn fruiting canes should be cut back to ground to encourage new canes to develop. Summer fruiting cut back to top of supports to a bud.

In the greenhouse you can start sowing winter greens.

Sow tomatoes in a heated greenhouse.

Start sowing bedding plants ready planting after the last frost.

Repot house plants and orchids before they start active growth.

Carry out repairs to pathways.

Clean algae and slime from patio and fences several products are available that will assist with this, just ensure that it is safe for plants and pets.

When planting in garden consider using a mycorrhizal fungi product like Rootgrow™ it helps with plant establishing.

Take time to walk round garden each day.

GALANTHUS – Snowdrops sign of spring

February is here and already the days are noticeably longer.

Snowdrops are up and out in my garden a sign of spring amongst the recent snow.

This can be quite a cold month wet or snow, and as I write the weather forecast for the coming week is for cold weather with frost at night and maybe some snow.

You can start Dahlia tubers now in a light warm place, maybe you have a new cultivar to try out, you can find further advice about how to develop you plant breeding lines on my website.


Sow those perennials this month, the cold weather will help stratify seed.


February fill dyke black or white!

February can be a month of heavy rain and some winters snow, the phrase refers to ditches being filled with water or snow!

Snowdrops and Crocus will be up now.

Carry on clearing branches and twigs from recent storms, good idea to check fences and property borders for damage.

Trimming and tidying of perennials and grasses can continue while weather allows, trim dead leaves off Hellebores shows up flowers better.

If you have winter bedding, deadheading and removing dead leaves will prolong flowering and keep plants looking good.

You can divide perennials now those that have overgrown their allotted space and those you want to move, such as Geraniums.

Prepare beds for new planting such as roses, but remember do not plant Roses in the same area as previously planted.

Improve beds where you have poor drainage by digging in gravel and organic material now is the time for soil improvement when weather conditions allow.

Weeding of borders can also be carried out as these will continue to grow.

Plant Lilly bulbs in pots for summer flowers.

Dahlias and Cannas stored check for drying out and any disease, remove those that have rotted.

Good time to look through catalogues and order seed.

Last chance to take hardwood cuttings of ornamental shrubs like Cornus, Ribes, Salix.

Cut back ornamental vines.

For lawns you can lay turf and repair lawn where required but avoid wet or freezing weather.

If the lawn needs mowing cut to maximum height to give a tidy up, edging the lawn will give a nice neat finish.

Good time to get mower serviced, check tools and sharpen where needed.

Late summer and autumn flowering Clematis can be cut back to lowest pair of strong buds.

You can trim winter flowering Heathers as flowers fade to keep bushy habit.

Last chance this month for pruning apple and pear trees.

Time to cut back autumn flowering Raspberries and black currents to encourage new canes.

Not a lot to do with the pond if you have one keep from freezing completely.

Look at storing more water for watering your plants during dry months by installing more water butts.

Mulching is also worth considering best for next month.

If you have alpine plants then some gravel round crown helps with drainage.


January can be a bleak month, still shortage of daylight and as I write we have just had some very wet days.

Thinking of New Plants and breeding now is the time to start sowing perennials, the cold weather will help stratify seed aiding germination as the days get longer and temperature start to rise.

Helleborus will soon be flowering, I have seen some in flower already, look for some interesting colours, double flowers for new cultivars or hybrids.


Helleborus niger crosses are more commercially viable, Helleborus Orientalis produce more mixed hybrids

If you have breeding lines and are thinking of how you can develop them further I can assist you with any trialling that is needed.

Further advice can be found on my website.


Happy New Year!

With recent storms there may be branches and leaves to clear from the garden, these can be trimmed up and burnt, composted or taken to local recycle centre.

Carry on trimming back perennials and tidying garden beds.

Can still take root cuttings and seed sowing of perennials, shrubs etc can be carried out now, either in greenhouse or outside. You may need to protect seed trays from vermin. Cover with wire netting is ideal.

Plant lily bulbs and check Dahlia and Canna tubers for drying out and mould, remove any that are rotting.

Outdoor pots and baskets overwintered may need some water, can dry out surprisingly quickly during windy weather

During freezing weather winter bedding such as Viola, wallflowers can lift slightly from soil, go round beds and firm gently back in.

If growing sweet peas you can sow them now indoors, pinch out tops when 5cm high

In the veg patch you can cover some bare soil with clear polythene or cloches to warn soil ready for early sowing in March.

Remove any weeds that appear.

Still time to plant Garlic, I received some bulbs this week and will plant as soon as frost has lifted.

When lawn is not frozen or waterlogged cut lawn edges to improve appearance of garden, you may also need to give lawn a light trim once if month is mild.

Remove any leaves and debris remaining. Aerate the lawn to improve any wet areas.

Remember don’t walk over the lawn during frosty weather.

Remove any leaves from pond, melt a hole in ice with hot saucepan, check water levels, take advantage of any sales on for aquatic plants and pumps filters etc.

Move any shrubs, tress and plant new ones.

Cut back ornamental vines

Good time to do any landscaping

Pressure wash pathways to prevent algae, clean drains, check pipes, taps for damage from frost lag or drain if needed.

Hippeastrum bulbs need to be brought into active growth by watering and feeding, looking for flowering in late winter to early spring.

Check and clean gutting and down pipes, clean down pipe filters.

Now is good time to take some time to look at your garden and consider new projects, plants to add, things to change.


Now is the time to think of log fires and presents round the tree.

But there is still time to think of gardening and plants.

Now is the time to look through the seed and plant catalogues for new and interesting plants and plan for new plantings next year.

From seed of course you can get new and interesting plants and also think of interesting crossings and plant breeding projects for the new season.


Remember if you are thinking about plant breeding projects I can provide a full plant development service

If you have a new plant and want further advice, my contact details and further advice can be found on my website.


Most leaves are now down from trees good time to clear either compost or take to local recycle centre

Trimming of deciduous trees and shrubs can be carried out now but avoid doing during very frosty weather.

Continue trimming back perennials clearing weeds from beds

Root cuttings can be taken now and seed of alpines sown

Raise pots on the patio for winter to aid drainage bring in tender plants if not done so already

Clean leaves from lawn you may need to cut also as it will continue to grow if temps are above 5°c but do not cut as short as in summer months

Re-cut lawn edges look for wet areas and carry out aeration where needed

Do not though work on your lawn in frosty weather

Dig over the veg patch and work in some manure or soil improver

You can plant Rhubarb, Raspberries, Blackberries, other currents and strawberries now

Still time to plant garlic

Inside you can herbs and grow on the windowsill

Hardy salads can sown undercover.

If you have a pond net it to keep away herons, remove fallen leaves and debris from pond regular

Good time to remove any pumps and filters and clean ready for new season

Pressure wash paths and patios to prevent algae and mould building up

Clean and sharpen tools

Don’t keep too much fuel for your petrol tools over winter as it will not keep

Finally Happy Christmas

Time of fogs and frost

This time of the year I like the colour of the leaves on the trees, working in the garden can be rewarding doing plant breeding, clearing leaves and pruning deciduous shrubs, trimming back perennials and collecting those final seeds.

In the garden there are still jobs to do, continue with leaf clearing, consider composting in your garden if you have the space.

A simple compost area can be created using wire netting and posts the cheaper ones are the ones used as tree stakes.

It’s time to sow Broad Beans and peas, look for Broad Bean Aquadulce Claudia ideal for winter sowing and Pea Meteor Dwarf ideal for winter or early sowing.

Both will need some protection from birds when germinating and also cover during periods of severe weather.

Bring in tender plants to protect from frost

Raise up pots on your patio to aid drainage in winter

You will still need to cut grass during mild weather, it will continue to grow in temperatures above 5°c but do not cut it too short and not during frosty weather too late now for herbicides though

Plant tulip bulbs for spring display

Plant colourful containers to brighten dull winter days, use a combination of Viola, Pansy, miniature cyclamen, Carex, Ivy and Cupressus

Some of my favourite Viola are the Viola Bonnie Lassies™  – from Scottish Viola Breeder  – Hugh Boyd

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VIOLA  Bonnie Lassies ™ ‘Isabella’

Geranium Rozanne – RHS Plant of the Centenary

Here you will find all the information you need for one of the most versatile garden plants and other plants that associate well with Rozanne.

 In my own garden spring is well underway, with many perennials and grasses making active growth, not too late for a frost though.


A favourite Primula to look out for now is, Primula veris Katy McSparron.

A plant I trialed at Bressingham a few years back, it has double flowers.

From UK Primula breeder Geoff Nicole

Now’s the time to prick out seedlings, finish pruning summer flowering shrubs and mowing the lawn.

Look out for Must Have Perennials™, I regularly work for them and their breeders.

Must Have Perennial™ varieties are tested at the famous Bressingham Gardens, as well as other secure trial sites worldwide.

Must Have Perennials™ varieties come to us from people around the world, ranging from professional plant breeders and breeding companies to eagle-eyed amateur gardeners. Many varieties have been recognized by independent organizations for their outstanding qualities.

Also Geranium Rozanne® – this an excellent Geranium that flowers from June to first frost, Rozanne has a website geraniumrozanne.com also follow on twitter® and Facebook®.

Paul Gooderham carried out the trialing and first propagation of Rozanne®, he also worked on the plant breeders rights and patents worldwide.

As we move into winter some plants for winter interest include

Cornus sanguinea


Mahonia xmedia Winter Sun

Sarcocca hookeriana

 A good place to see plants for winter interest is at Bressingham Gardens Norfolk.

Plant Breeding And Development

Well March has gone and thoughts turn to watching the seeds germinate of last year’s selections.

Look out for some new plants next month.

If you are a plant breeder then you might be interested in a BBC News article about the international illegal collection of seed as a breeder or collector you might be collecting yourself or buying in seed to use in your breeding and selection programmes, you need to be aware of this illegal trade and the Nagoya Protocol or you could find all your hard work is for nothing.


I can offer a full plant breeding and development service fully compliant with international regulations.

Our Trial Garden at Bressingham is coming into growth, contact me for rates and terms to include your plants.

In the garden it’s time to finish cleaning and tidying, grass cutting is now under way. Contact me for any garden services you need regularly working in the Watton area – Norfolk.

Why people love to approach plant development services?

If you love plants and wish to get more knowledge about the ways to breed and develop your plants, then it is always a wise idea to choose the services offered by a professional plant breeder. If you wish to get bets tips on the development of new plants that you have then this plant specialist can guide you through it. With decades of expertise in dealing with a variety of plants, you can easily get advice for seasonal and non seasonal plants, the ways to tend them, their irrigation methods, breeding, grafting etc.

Why do you need plant development services?

As an individual who has immense interest in plants, you will agree that some plants grow well in a particular region while some might need special care to bloom well.

• This is because the condition of the soil, the right kind of nutrition, manure and the changes in the environment can affect the plant growth in a drastic way.

• Hence availing the plant development services would help many planters, farmers and gardeners get lots of useful information about plant care.

• This would help them get better yield every year and enable their crops and plants stay healthy throughout the year.

• Even if you have any concerns or doubts regarding plant growth, yield or disease, you can ask the development services for plants to find help at the right time.

• Be it anything related to new plant types or its development, plant patents queries or processes requirements, promoting the plants in your nursery or farms or protecting it.

• All these activities can be taken care by plant development Suffolk to make sure that you feel proud about the plants you own and the response you receive from the rest plant lovers across the world.

• Even if you are planning to grow a few plant varieties that are very rare and needs expert attention round the lock, these experts would offer you timely advice about how to take care of them effectively.

• Even if you have developed a brand new type of plant and wish to apply for patent or sell it to others then plant promotion services would help you by taking care of it effectively.

These services fully realize the potential value such rare plants hold and take every measure to prevent it from becoming extinct.

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