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Climbers For Shade

Most plants need , if not full sun, then most of the day in a bright situation to really thrive – but some don’t!

Nearly all of us will have a shady spot in our garden, where despite our best efforts, nothing seems to succeed .

Before you go ahead with your planting, make sure your area is ready . Dig in compost  and fertiliser ( pelleted chicken manure or fish,blood & bone are ideal slow release organic feeds ).

If your are looking to brighten up a shady wall or fence there are a number of options that will do the job.  The ‘Ornamental Quince’ or Chaenomeles bursts into colour in early Spring and then rewards you with decorative fruits in the Autumn.

A great choice is Garrya Elliptica, a tough evergreen shrub that produces long catkins during the Winter months. The Garrya is a big plant that can reach over 5 metres, so do bare this in mind . Another evergreen wall shrub that will give you Winter interest is the Pyracantha. White flowers in Summer, but it is the red, orange or yellow berries from November to March that are the attraction. If you are looking for a climber to cling to your wall or fence, do take a look at the Hydrangea Petiolaris. Again, this is a big plant – it will reach 15 metres in time . The climbing Hydrangea gives you a mass of white ‘Lace Cap’ flowers. Parthenocissus or ‘Virginia Creeper’ will set off and cover a huge area – 20 metres plus and it is the Autumn when it all happens. The foliage turns into a riot of rea and orange hues, really beautiful in September sunshine. The Clematis Montana family is a winner in the shade too. A fantastic display of pink flowers early in the season, and then a vigorous bronze tinted foliage that left to it’s own devices with easily cover fence panels, sheds or evens trees in just a couple of seasons.

A good standby for a situation like this is Hedera – the good old Ivy. Not perhaps the most exciting of plants, but Hedera will produce yellow and gold foilage and is as tough as old boots. A good reliable selection .

If it’s lower, groundcover plants that are required in your shady area, the Euonymous, Cotoneaster and Berberis varieties are very good bets. Low maintenance, interesting colours and textures throughout the year, these plants can be easily pruned back if they get too tall.

An excellent choice are Hostas. There is a huge diverse number to choose from, but do remember that they will completely disappear in the Winter once the frosts have hit their foliage. But fear not, they will pop up again the following March .

If you need any more information or assistance do pop in.

Happy gardening, see you soon,
Simon, Alison, Edith the Jack Russell and all at Askett Nurseries .


If there is one family of plants that really do epitomise the English summer garden it is Lavender.

An evergreen, easy to grow highly aromatic plant that encourages butterflies and bees, Lavender really does tick all the boxes. A reliable winner in either containers or the soil, the key to success is to provide a well drained, gritty, free-draining base when planting. If your soil is a tad heavy, add some horticultural grit prior to planting – if you are using a container go for a soil based John Innes Number 3 compost.

The two most popular varieties are Hidcote and Munstead. Both are compact reliable cultivars that are particularly successful when used as hedging plants, and grow to around 60cm high.

Another traditional variety is Stoechas. This is a French Lavender, an early blooming choice that will fill your garden with a rich scent. One of my favourites is Papillon, with its fine strongly aromatic grey/green leaves, the dark purple flowers have long bracts at the top of the flower heads. Planted in a group, this variety really does look outstanding. Other reliable choices are Dutch, Vera,Sawyers, Lady and Tiara.

The varieties above are fully hardy and will comfortably cope with a Princes Risborough winter, even the snow and frost of a severe winter. There are however, a number of Lavenders that are half hardy at best. These tend to be particularly showy and scented. But, to get the best of such selections as Pinnata, Sky and Christiana, it is advised to grow them in containers. They are more than happy outside from May to October, but will need bringing in to a frost free environment to survive the winter.

Lavender really does need good regular pruning to get the best from the plant. A lot of gardeners will plant their varieties out and see them happily flower away during the first season, then leave them to their own devices. This is a mistake, as without pruning Lavender will become very woody and lose all its energy. The obvious solution to this problem is to cut the plant hard back to encourage new growth – but this is wrong. Lavender will not come again from this kind of treatment. The answer is to prune a little and often. Let the plant flower in mid summer, then once the flowers fade, trim the plant back leaving neat compact foliage. Once the worst of the winter weather has gone, around April time, give Lavender another trim. If you do this, your plants will continue to give you flowers and fragrance for years to come.

Happy gardening!
Simon, Alison, Edith the Jack Russell and all at Askett Nurseries

Pruning in the Spring

Now that the worst of the cold Winter weather is behind us, we  can take a look at what has to be done to tidy up our garden, and often the most obvious task to tackle is pruning.

This is certainly the best time of year to get to grips with major pruning of most plants – a few hours with some sharp secateurs and a good pruning saw can transform your garden, ridding you of overgrown woody shrubs and obstructive trees, bringing light and space into your area.

The one major point to remember is not to prune early flowering shrubs such as Forsythia, Viburnum Bodnantense and Daphnes now. If you do, you will take off the buds just about ready to flower, and you’ll lose any colour this year. These early Spring flowering plants should be dealt with after they have flowered.

But for most shrubs and trees, now is the time to tidy them up. Many gardens have huge Buddleias and Lavateras, unpruned for many years, they are full of wood and ripe for a dramatic makeover. Be bold with these plants!  Take all the old wood off, leaving just around 50cm of stem at the base. They will love it, and after giving them a feed with some chicken pellets or fish, blood and bone  and a mulch will reward you with lots of colour from the new fresh growth. Roses too are often overlooked, left to their own devices year after year, allowed to become tangled and woody. Again, be brave – take away all the dense heavy growth to encourage the plant to produce green shoots . Once you have decimated a big overgrown shrub, you may well feel a touch of panic!  ‘Oh no, what have I done?’  – but be confident, and in just a matter of a week or so you will notice the new growth appearing as your plant settles down and starts to reinvigorate.

Once you have mastered your first pruning session, you must remember to carry on the new regime, managing your shrubs each year. You will soon appreciate the results.

Now the gardening season is upon us again, we hope to see you soon.

Simon, Alison, Edith the Jack Russell and all at Askett Nurseries

Believe it or not, Christmas is just around the corner. Our range of top quality non drop Christmas trees will be on sale from Tuesday 25th November. We sell out every year, so if you want one, do visit us soon. Free local delivery.

Wreaths, pot plants, gift tokens – all on sale now, and we have a full range of winter fuel available.

We are open until 4pm on Christmas Eve, closed Christmas & Boxing Day, then open 10am to 4pm 27th- 31st December. Closed New Years Day, then back to normal – 9am to 5pm from Friday 2nd January 2015.

Askett Nurseries Garden Centre
Aylesbury Road
HP27 9LL

Telephone/Fax: 01844 274635

We are open every day

Summer Opening Hours
Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm
Saturday 8.30 am to 5pm
Sunday 10am to 4pm

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