Archives for category: spring bulbs

017016014The willow was in need of renovation.  Undecided whether to coppice or pollard I undertook both.  February is quite the perfect time to do either, as the sap has not  risen and birds have not started nesting.

Coppicing may look quite severe, however, the rate of growth will be vigorous –  new growth will reach at least a  metre this year.


I am feverishly removing spent foliage to reveal the growth tips of  bulbs in customers gardens.  Spring is definitely on the way !

018030025February continues to  be  wet, cold, windy, muddy, snow and sleet filled.  However daily sightings of  Hellebores, Crocus, Snowdrops, Cyclamen coum and Cornus Midwinter Fire constantly remind me why I chose to make my career as a gardener.





These belong to my friend Judy.  Every year we scour the Parkers catalogue to find perfect tulips for containers.  They are lifted with their stem and leaves intact when they have finished flowering and dried off in the greenhouse over summer.  In mid-November, they are replanted in raised beds in the lower section of the garden.

We would not choose to have this amount of mixed colour spread through the garden.  However, in one space, I  think it works well.

If you are wondering what to do with your spent containerised tulips why not give this a go?

The sharpness of Spring sunshine through fresh foliage finds me hunting through borders to find beautiful Spring flowers as I work through my customer’s gardens.

march 2013 021Admittedly this spring image is not from this year,  it is my favourite, though, and always has the capacity to make me smile.

This weekend will find me with one of my college friends at the Gardens Illustrated Spring Festival. Carolyn and I will discuss garden design for hours, whilst admiring gorgeous nursery and tool displays.  I cannot think of a better way to spend a day off work.

Tuesday 27th October 2017.  I spent some time watching snowflakes.

To be precise these are Spring Snowflakes – Leucojum Vernum.  They are a stunning Spring bulb.   Their tiny Tiffany lampshade- like flowers have the capacity to stop me in my tracks.  They are planted under the hydrangeas with primulas  for neighbours in Geoff’s garden

I have not needed to divide these plants up over the last three years as they have flowered profusely, however  they have now formed a robust clump.  I think this will  definitely  be a job to add to my list. Later this Spring I will  divide, and replant the offsets in the woodland border.  I will then  have a shady border full of snowflakes next year.  I can imagine it already.

True to form,  my capacity to streamline buying seeds failed miserably yet again this year.  The  greenhouse is now bursting at the seams.

In addition to filling my own garden with home propagated  flowers,   I am growing small amounts of salad, veg and edible flowers for two great restaurants – The King and Thai in Broseley and the Raven in Much Wenlock.  My greenhouse is presently full of :-

Tomatoes  – Costoluto Fiorentino, Gardeners delight and Red Alert

Runner beans – St George, Tenderstar  and  White Lady

Cucumber – La Diva

Climbing french  beans – Fasgold,Cobra and Blauhide

Borlotti beans – Lingua de Fuoca 2

Courgettes – Trombanico, Romanesco, Zephyr F1 and Venus F1

Chard – Bright Light

Edible flowers – Borage, Viola Heartease, Calendula  Indian Prince, Nasturtiums – Black Velvet, Jewel Box Rose and Alaska

All my seeds this year have come via Thompson and Morgan or Sarah Raven.  I like their ranges and  the prices are reasonable.  Most importantly the germination rates  are  always good.  Once they are all at their edible stages I intend to write about their taste.

Owing to days of monsoonal quantities  of rain here in Shropshire last week,  I decided to continue  dividing  perennials.    Helianthus Lemon Queen and Rudbeckia herbstonne  have  been on the move in several customers gardens.  This is the Rudbeckia from last year, and it is without doubt my favorite plant  image from 2015. 087

My own garden is presently   full   of tulips, which I am really enjoying.  The  Alliums will be along shortly, which is something both I and the bees love.

Despite the wind,rain,and snow this week there have been several trees worth of stunning blossom, and stop you in your stride Spring bulbs.  Enjoy

This metre tall Fritillaris Imperialis  Rubra may not be to everyone’s taste. However  I am quite a fan.  In April their boldness and exquisite colour  always stops  me  in my  tracks for a moment to admire their beauty.


My recommendation is to  brave the weather, and enjoy the blooms.

I have been carefully observing Erythroniums.  They are also referred to as dog toothed violets, due to the fact that the bulbs look like an extracted dogs tooth. If you have a woodland style garden or shady spot in you garden, that has moisture retentive soil then this Spring bulb should be for you.  These  bulbs are  growing particularly well under  a group of Hydrangeas.  Images from a rainy work day  on Friday 15th  April 2016.  Enjoy.  013014.JPG015

Certain flowering bulbs  really do have the capacity to stop my in my  tracks. Erythronium Pagoda is definitely one of them.   Stunning.

To be honest working as a full time gardener this winter  has been quite a long wet slog.  Thankfully the 12th March brought the onset of  spring with bright sunlight and warmer  breezes making  work far more enjoyable . Horticultural treasures are beginning to punch their way out through the earth in celebration.P1050111My favorite spring garden belongs to  Treasa, Simon,Theo,Nathan and Zag (their dog)  This  was the first garden I started  working  in when we moved to Shropshire 8 years ago.  Primroses and toy dinosaurs feature quite  heavily at the moment.april 2013 110Images from gardens this week include – an almost black hellebore013Narcissi Bulbocodium Conspicuous018Euphorbia rigida and  Scillia015Leucojum Vernum012Cardimine quinquefolia 011Today we visited our good friend Paul, who has   created  a   beautiful and productive space within  his polytunnel.  It is  a treasure trove for both the eye and palate, providing a  great space for grazing  on an eclectic mix of salad leaves, or sitting under a  peach tree and relaxing with a book.001Enjoy your garden treasures, whatever their shape, size or form.



Spring is pretty full on. There  are some magnificent flowers (and bracts) about at the moment.   Fritillaria Imperialis Rubra looked stunning today. 129

127Euphorbia myrsinites with  their sulphur yellow bracts are making  quite a statement at the moment.

111 Gunnera  manicata will  be celebrating their third year of being in Eleanor’s  garden.  I am hoping for monstrous growth to enable them to be seen from the kitchen window – a mere 25 metre distance.

118Scilla Spring Beauty are romping away.

124 Narcissi Trena, which has the effect of making me feel  instantly happy.

P1050124Euphorbia robbaie and a self seeded Hellebore looking pretty good in Ironbridge.

P1050165Monbretia and more self seeded Hellebores. The freshness of the foliage has to be seen to be believed.

Plant life in the Spring garden is definitely not beige, enjoy.

P1050115P1050110P1050111Spring is here.  True to form I have not quite finished with my winter pruning, and now I need to get on with early Spring pruning.P1050119An overgrown Santolina recently caught my eye.  One  full metre cube bag  later, it is  ready to grow away again. I can also now see a vast amount of  Alliums that would have been lost to the eye.   I finished my winter pruning in this garden on Tuesday, where several  over grown shrub roses  had  a meeting with my loppers and secateurs.P1050117One garden in particular  is  packed with thousands  of bulbs.  Everywhere  you look there is a  collection of  perfectly formed  Spring loveliness.  This  bulb  caught my attention.  I googled – a  white bulb a little like a tiffany lampshade, and up popped the name.  The Spring Snowflake Leucojum vernum.  It is  beautifulP1050113Several gardens in my care have been tended  for decades by others. The owners have bestowed time, love and horticultural knowledge, and it  is now my responsibility to care for them.  They impart  an immense sense  of peacefulness and serenity that only  time allows.

I am planning an entire weekend in my own garden, all my seeds have arrived,  I have until now resisted the urge to sow.  My sister Louise is already pricking out seedlings, she tells me that her use of heated wheat pillows underneath the seed trays has worked triumphantly.  As a member of the Wicks family, we are never short of practical ideas.  I personally have been known to say ” it was an idea, it seemed quite  good at the time, however on reflection, possibly it was not my best one…”

This year, one idea I really would  really like to put into practice is to create more  double borders.   I find you become far  more engaged with the planting  as you wander down the pathway. This  is my favorite double Spring  border.  Over the last six years I have filled it with primroses, crocus and hellebores.november   2013 076One idea I had years ago was to make a border that you could physically climb into. Pushing past the Crocosmia and Helianthus, there was a space for a low slung chair.  On this occasion it was  quite a good idea.P1020036Enjoy your ideas.