Whitehall Garden Centres Blog

Welcome to Whitehall Garden Centres Blog. We aim to provide you with hints, tips, information and advice on all aspects of gardening! It is a chance for you to ask us questions and to read our blog posts about what you should be doing in your garden each month.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Grow Your Own - Onions

Onion Sets -You can raise an onion from a seed or a small bulb called a set. Seeds can be cheaper and have more varieties available and have more flexible sowing times however there is more labour involved in raising onions from seeds and there is more risk of pest and disease attack. Sets are already started and so therefore make it easier to grow, are ready to harvest earlier and are stronger so are less prone to disease and pests. Even if your soil is less than perfect, sets will give you a good crop however they do not have such a wide spectrum of varieties.
To plant your onions seeds or sets you should never sow them in cold or wet soil, sow thinly about 30cm apart. The ideal time to plant is March, just push the set into the soil so that the tip is just below the surface. Once the crop becomes established you can water them. The end product needs to be dry and hard so little watering is required once they are established unless there are signs of wilting. Make sure you keep the bed weed free to prevent bolting.
When the green stems above the ground collapse your onions are ready to be harvested! Ease the bulbs out of the ground with a garden fork being pushed under the bulb and eased up and then pull it out.

Whitehall`s Plant of the Month- Hebe

Whitehall's Plant of the month this month is the Hebe. We have three varieties of Hebe's in particular that are sure to catch your eye and brighten up your garden.
The first one is Hebe "First Light", this is a spreading evergreen shrub which can grow up to 12in (30cm) high and 36in (90cm) wide. It boasts bronze-green coloured leaves that are shaped in a spear which can grow up to 1in (2.5cm) long. Short racemes of pink flowers are borne over a long time in the summer and remain fairly hardy in the UK winter.
Hebe "Pearl of Paradise" is a small, compact evergreen shrub which may grow upto 30in (75cm high within the space of 4 years. This plant also bears spear shaped leaves in a green colour. Spikes of lilac flowers are produced in May and June and can often flower again in the late summer and autumn if it has been pruned properly. It enjoys full sunlight and moist soil.
The final Hebe is a "Purple Pixie", a pretty, low growing shrub that grows up to about 20in (50cm) in height. It is a sturdy specimen with short, rounded, matt green leaves which are held onto ruddy brown stems. It blooms freely producing lilac blue flowering spikes that are conical and appear for around two months in the summer.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Prune Overgrown Evergreens

Now is the time to start pruning your evergreens, provided that they are hardy. More tender shrubs such as Choisya Ternata ( Mexican orange blossom) should not be pruned until later on in the year when the weather is a little bit warmer. You can prune back any shoots that have become crowded or have grown awkwardly to maintain your plants shape and keep it healthy. If you have a plant such as Prunus Laurocerasus, Aucuba Japonica (Spotted Laurel) or Viburnum tinus, you may need to prune these to ground level as these can require quite drastic pruning. This method of pruning may encourage strong growth from the base of the plant. After you have pruned, feed the plant with an organic fertiliser and then mulch with organic matter to ensure a healthy beautiful plant!