Garden Mentor

Based in Chester, developing gardens in Cheshire, the Wirral or North Wales


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Glorious May


Posted By on May 1, 2019

May is my favourite month of the year as trees and shrubs are in leaf, the foliage is young and looking at its best and there are flowers everywhere. Trees with blossom in May include Crataegus laevigata Paul’s Scarlet, a Hawthorn. This is for larger spaces as it can get up to 8m tall and wide. In spring, the blossom is a rich deep pink and will cover the tree then you get red haws in autumn. Beware the sharp thorns though! Many...

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April Flowers


Posted By on Apr 1, 2019

April brings such a choice of beautiful fresh flowers and foliage that it is hard to choose which ones to suggest. Starting with a choice shrub, Viburnum plicatum, with white or pale rose flowers that look like a lacecap Hydrangea flower. They have flat lacecap saucer sized blooms and the leaves turn red in autumn. There are many varieties such as Summer Snowflake, Lanarth or Mariesii. All can become large up to 3m tall and wide if...

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Spring at Last


Posted By on Mar 1, 2019

I love spring as everything is coming to life and that lovely green colour is coming back to the bare branches. So what can you add to your garden to bring spring cheer? Why not try tiny Chionodoxa bulbs with rich blue, white and pink flowers? They do well in pots and in any well drained soil. With small yellow daffodils planted alongside, they will really cheer you up. Primula Gold Lace is an old fashioned primula with velvety brown...

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Winter Jewels in February


Posted By on Feb 1, 2019

This month I am going to concentrate on the small flowers that show their faces in what can be the hardest month of the year. Snowdrops can be seen from January onwards if the soil is warm but come into their own in February. Did you know that they have reinforced hard buds to force their way through frozen soil? If you want to see them in flower en-masse then head to a National Trust garden such as Dunham Massey, Attingham Park or...

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Heralding the New Year


Posted By on Jan 1, 2019

January is a difficult month to find colour in the garden so take time to appreciate the shape of plants and the colour from evergreens and tree bark. One January flowering plant, is Hellebore orientalis which is a winter flowering perennial with pink, plum, white and speckled flowers about 5cm in size. In time, a single plant can grow to produce dozens of flowers over winter, then the seeds can set to give you many more plants. They...

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Christmas Colour


Posted By on Dec 1, 2018

December is the quiet month of the year when much of the tidying up has been completed, the plants are mostly dormant and there are few flowers about. So make the most of form and colour on individual plants and enjoy what nature has to offer. I got some Teasel plants from a friend who warned me that they can seed everywhere, which they do but I only let a few grow. They get to 2m tall and have lovely seed heads which are especially...

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Autumn Surprises


Posted By on Nov 1, 2018

November is an in between month between autumn and winter but often has late colour from leaves and especially berries. I love Acers and there are many that will suit small gardens. Their requirement is for a sheltered site, not in an exposed windswept location. They also need a moisture retentive and free draining soil so heavy clay will never suit them. They often grow under the canopy of taller trees and like semi shade or sun....

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Autumn Tints in October


Posted By on Oct 1, 2018

With one of the driest summer of recent years this has not been great for gardeners. If you do want to plant anything out, firstly dig a hole at least 50% deeper and wider than the pot. Incorporate a lot of well rotted manure into the base of the hole and all the back fill soil. This will act as a sponge to retain moisture in the dry soil. Make sure the plant has been standing in water for at least 2 hours to soak the compost and...

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Early Autumn – September


Posted By on Sep 1, 2018

Plants are in bloom earlier this year due to the dry weather which brings on flowering before the “normal” season. Colour this autumn comes from Rudbekia fulgida Goldsturm, a jolly yellow daisy like flower with a black centre which flowers for weeks if kept watered. They do best in a heavier soil that retains moisture and need to be split and replanted every few years to maintain their flowering. Another flowering perennial that is...

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High Summer in August


Posted By on Aug 1, 2018

After the dry period in early summer that caused some plant to die, many late summer perennials will be flowering less. Plants that enjoy the dry weather in late summer include Echinops ritro or Globe Thistle. They will grow to 1.5m tall and have soft thistle shaped leaves with tall stems bearing golf ball sized blue flowers. The need support but do well at the back of borders in full sun and well drained soils. Another blue plant is...

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