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

New arrivals

Spring has sprung and we have lots of fresh new stock arriving every week in the Plant Area.

Evergreen shrubs

Evergreen plants do not lose their leaves in winter. They provide interest and structure in the garden all year round – even in the depths of winter. They can be used for ground cover, hedging or in pots and borders. Many have:

-Beautiful variegated leaves, like Aucuba (Spotted laurel), Euonymus fortunei, Hebe and Leucothoe.

-Stunning flowers, like Camellia, Cistus, Pieris and Rhododendron.

-Colourful berries, like Holly (Ilex), Skimmia and Pyracantha.

Our container-grown plants are of the highest quality and can planted out at any time of year providing the ground is not frozen. When choosing new shrubs for the conditions in your garden, check the labels and signage or ask one of our Plant Team experts for advice. Also, consider the ultimate size and rate of growth of your new plants, especially with conifers, as in general, these do not respond well to pruning.

Prune evergreen shrubs in late spring once the worst of the frosts has passed. This will ensure that new growth is not damaged by frost and that the pruning cuts will soon be hidden by this year’s growth

Evergreens for acid soil

Magnolia grandiflora
Rhododendrons and Azaleas

For dry shade

Aucuba japonica
Buxus sempervirens
Cotoneaster conspicuus ‘Decorus’ C. dammeri, C. × suecicus, C. × suecicus
Euonymus fortunei
Ilex (hollies)
Mahonia aquifolium M. × wagneri
Osmanthus heterophyllus
Pachysandra terminali
Prunus laurocerasus
Skimmia japonica

Moist shade

Aucuba japonica
Camellia japonica C. × williamsii
Elaeagnus × ebbingei, E. pungens
Fatsia japonica
Gaultheria mucronata (syn. Pernettya mucronata)
Leucothoë walteri (syn. L. fontanesiana )
Osmanthus decorus
Pachysandra terminalis
Prunus laurocerasus
Sarcococca confusa, S. hookeriana
Skimmia japonica
Viburnum davidii
Vinca major, V. minor

Dry sites in full sun

Artemisia abrotanum
Berberis darwinii, B. × stenophylla, B. verruculosa
Buxus sempervirens
Elaeagnus × ebbingei, E. pungens
Euonymus japonicus, E. fortunei
Garrya elliptica
Mahonia aquifolium
Photinia × fraseri ‘Red Robin’
Rosmarinus officinalis
Salvia officinalis

Exposed, windy sites

Euonymus fortunei, E. japonicus
Rhamnus alaternus
Senecio cineraria

Ground cover

Cotoneaster dammeri
Euonymus fortunei
Hebe pinguifolia ‘Pagei’
Lonicera pileata
Mahonia aquifolium
Pachysandra terminalis
Viburnum davidii
Vinca major, V. minor

Timely Tips for April

Acid-loving plants like Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Camellias and Blueberries

Keep these plants healthy and flowering well by using Ericaceous fertiliser, such as Miracle-Gro Azalea, Camellia and Rhododendron Concentrated Liquid Plant Food. Mulch the soil surface with Ericaceous compost, composted bark, leaf mould, pine or spruce needles, or composted chopped bracken.

Protect seedlings

Early sowings of carrots, beetroot, lettuce, spring onions and hardy annuals are at the mercy of plummeting temperatures. Strong winds dry out seedbeds quickly and desiccate young seedlings. New plantings of brassicas, beans, sweetcorn and chrysanthemums are also vulnerable to drying winds, whilst driving rain will flatten young plants.

Protect new sowings and plantings with rigid plastic cloches, and covers made from fleece, fine mesh or polythene. This protection encourages germination, seedlings to grow into robust young plants, and those newly planted out to establish well.

Warm the soil with black polythene

Covering soil with black polythene absorbs heat from the sun and gives crops a good start. For some crops, like French beans and sweetcorn, warm soil is critical. Young plants need to establish a strong root system quickly to ensure a harvest within the short growing season in the north. Watch out though – where soils are wet, black polythene encourages slugs.