New to plant buying?
In spring last year I wrote Gardening advice for the reluctant gardener and one year on an enthusiastic new gardener might be thinking about plant buying but which ones to choose and where from??
In this blog I’m looking at what’s growing in gardens right now. When you see things flowering in other people’s gardens in January/February you can decide whether you want them for yourself or not.
These are plants that you will put in now but which won’t flower till this time next year.
Late winter flowers
Snowdrops? If you want some, now is the time to buy them from growers who dig them up and send them in the post. You can read more here but just google “snowdrops in the green” and buy some, plant them now and next year they’ll flower. Not this year – sorry.
If you like hellebores you can buy them now for flowering next year. If garden centres were open you’d be able to buy the very common ones in 1 litre pots but as they’re not, why not browse the many different types at a specialist nursery like Ashwoodnurseries.com
You’ll be amazed how many different ones there are when you start looking.
I have some dark red, some white and some pale yellow. All quite common ones.
These hellebores may not set your heart racing but it’s plants like these that make a garden a living cycle of growing rather than an installation or a display. They do their own thing; disappearing out of season and then reappearing in their season, winter. If you ignore them they will still appear. That’s the kind of plant you’d call “low maintenance” if you wanted to.
Online plant buying
Plant buying for me will be online this year even more than usual. As I stick to simple plants and not rare or exotic ones I can easily find a huge selection. From experience I have my favourite independent nurseries that I buy from and it feels good to form a relationship with a nursery and support them. You can find their list at independentplantnurseriesguide.uk
I like the idea of plants that have been grown here in the UK in our climate and that don’t get a terrible shock when they arrive in north London.
Plant buying or seed sowing?
If you want to try some seeds there are wonderful people selling them online. Check out Benjamin Ranyard who sells the best seeds on higgledygarden.com He lives on a houseboat with a very large dog. What more could you need to know. I’ll be trying a triumph of hope over experience (known as tohoe) and planting some of his hardy annual mixes but not before April at the earliest.
So you can buy seeds now, in supermarkets or online but all the advice is to not sow anything yet. Patience is everything when it comes to gardening. Patience…….. then panic and manic activity.
Early spring plant buying
In a future blog I’ll look at what to buy in March/April when the whole world of online plants opens up and we go mad like kids in a sweet shop. Because it’s warmer many plants will flower soon after they arrive and the choice is so enormous it’s a bit overwhelming to look at the catalogues.
I shall take a deep breath and see if I can make it simpler.
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3 comments on "Plant buying in late winter – what to choose"
Thank you Julie. As a new gardener this post is just EXACTLY what I need right now. I do like the idea of buying plants that make my garden “a living cycle of growing rather than an installation” that will not need loads of attention. And the tip to buy from independent growers. I followed your advice and for the first time planted some bulbs in pots in December and I cannot believe how wonderful it is to peer out on rainy days and see the green shoots poking up. Something to cheer me up in these weird times. Thanks
Here in Australia independent nurseries are a dying breed and one is left with Bunnings (Big Box Hardware store). I now do most of my plant buying online particularly as wholesale nursery suppliers to places like Bunnings would have used some form of insecticides on their
plant stock. Buying online also means you buy what you actually want. You never know what choice you will have at the Big Box store. When buying online from independent nurseries it is nice to know the plants are actually grown onsite. Sadly one of my favourites are closing plant sales and moving to just seeds. I am not good at growing from seed; I usually direct sow and rely on tohoe!
Thank you for reminding me that dark flowered hellebores do not show up as well as the lighter ones. When the weather is rot and your nose is pressed against the window, it is nice to be able to see what is flowering. I will try and remember this before I succumb once again to another beautiful but harder to see hellebore.