Garden Advice from The Mains of Drum Plant Expert Dr Jane Bingham

Elegant and devine, hellebore flowers shine out from the gloom of a shady border in late winter and early spring. We have a stunning selection, including the renown Harvington Hellebores, in a huge range of colours.

Also, newly arrived in the Plant Area

Container-grown soft fruit and rhubarb.

Pots of spring-flowering bulbs, such as snowdrops, dwarf tulips, crocus, Narcissus ‘Tete a Tete’ and many others.

Packs of spring bedding plants, including primroses.

Go wild with pots of native primroses and native English bluebells.

A great selection of young shrubs in 1L pots.

Choose from our lovely range of houseplants.

Extending the growing season by starting early

Our chilly weather and low light levels, mean a slow start and shorter growing season than further south, but it is possible to give crops and flowers a head start by sowing seeds now.

If you don’t have a heated greenhouse, use your kitchen windowsill or give your seeds bottom heat by using a heated propagator, which encourages young plants to establish vigorous, strong root systems giving them an advantage when they are planted out.

Outdoors, covering the ground with black polythene or cloches, warms the soil and protects it from the cold and wet enabling us to sow and plant out sooner. Raised beds warm up more quickly than the open ground and are great for growing some early crops of salad leaves.

Visit our well-stocked sundries department for seeds and everything else you need to get growing.

Top tips for seed sowing

-Make sure everything is clean – pots, trays, propagators and lids.
-Use fresh seed-sowing compost.

-Read the instructions on seed packets and label pots and trays.
-Use tepid tap water for watering and misting, and protect seedlings from cold draughts.
-Seeds of aubergines, peppers, chillis, leeks, cabbage, lettuce, rocket, basil, sweet peas, antirrhinums, lobelia and coleus can all be sown now.

Reminders for February

Chit early potatoes in a well-lit, cool but frost-free place.

Plant up pots of lily bulbs for a dazzling summer display. They are hardy, but putting them in a greenhouse will give them an early boost.

Start off dahlia and begonia tubers (at a min. 10oC), by potting up into pots of well-drained compost.

Keep on top of perennial and winter-germinating weeds while they are small.