Rhododendron can add the wow factor to any garden Picture: Pexels
IF YOU are a mother you may have been lucky enough to have received some flowers for Mothers Day recently. You may even have been lucky enough to have received a plant or shrub. Read further to find out what shrubs look good at this time of year and how to look after them.
Azaleas are popular flowering shrubs. There are thousands of cultivars to choose from, with flower colours ranging from pinks and purples to reds, oranges and yellows.
Azaleas are perfect for growing in a shady bed or woodland border in the garden, but also grow well in pots. Some azaleas are suitable for growing as house plants.
All Azaleas and Rhododendrons prefer peat soil or acid soil. If your soil is not acidic you can always add acid or ericaceous plant food.
Rhododendrons are popular and make popular gifts as shrubs. There are thousands of colourful rhododendron cultivars to choose from in a range of sizes to suit larger gardens or containers. From large ‘blousy’ blooms in pinks and purples through to more fiery reds, oranges and yellows, rhododendrons are guaranteed to put on a good show of flowers in early summer, as long as you provide the right acidic growing conditions. Many rhododendrons are evergreen, but deciduous varieties will also provide good autumn colour. Rhododendrons are perfect for growing at the edge of a woodland border or shady spot. Plant them in humus-rich acidic soil in a sheltered spot in partial shade or full sun. Mulch rhododendrons annually and water well with rainwater. Rhododendrons are often grown alongside azaleas. Once categorised as different species, rhododendrons and azaleas are now placed together in the Rhododendron genus of plants.
Spring Flowering Bulbs
If you were lucky enough to have been gifted some planted spring bulbs there is some good news.
After the plants have finished flowering you can simply plant all the bulbs in the ground or a pot outside. Just lift the bulbs out of their container and ensure that you plant them deep enough to cover the bulbs but not any of leaves or stems.
Witch hazels, Hamamelis, are popular plants for the winter garden. Forming large shrubs or small trees, they come into their own in late winter and early spring, when scented, flame-coloured, ribbon-like flowers appear on bare branches. Some cultivars also have good autumn leaf colour, and their stems are lovely to bring indoors for a cut flower display. Although they have a reputation for being tricky to grow, if you get the soil conditions right, they can thrive.
Witch hazel need watering during dry spells, and a sprinkling of fertiliser or a mulch of well-rotted compost or manure each spring. Unless you want to restrict the size or improve the shape of your shrub, witch hazels don’t need pruning other than removing crossing or diseased branches in early spring. Remove suckering shoots from the rootstock of grafted plants.
I bumped onto a colleague- Kieran - at work recently who is a keen gardener. He mentioned that, traditionally, early-crop seed potatoes were planted around St Patrick’s Day but that he got delayed this year.
He explained that his dad is now getting impatient for him to plant main crop potatoes. So, yes Kieran, you do need to listened to your dad and get your maincrop potato’s planted soon.
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