The snowdrops I planted in October are just beginning to bloom and the purple crocuses will be flowering shortly. With stirrings of Spring in the garden, my thoughts are now turning to summer planting.
This year I’ve planted two new Rosea Hollyhocks in an oval tub. I’ve made sure that the roots have plenty of room to spread and that the crown is at soil level. If you look very closely you can see two crowns peeping out above the soil. The optimum time for planting Hollyhocks is between February and April for July-August flowering. They flourish best when planted in well drained soil in full sun, so I’ve planted mine against a warm wall and will keep well watered to encourage good growth. In my previous garden, my hollyhocks suffered from rust, so by planting in a tub I’m hoping to avoid this plight!
The Sarah Bernhardt double peony is one of my absolute favourite flowers, and today I’ve planted two more to add to my collection. Peonies can be planted between January and May, and flower in June. I’ve planted my peony in a pot, using a mixture of grit and compost, with the tip upwards, buried 5cm below the soil surface. I’ve tried to avoid planting my peony too deeply and now have to be patient, as it can take a few years before it begins to flower, but I think it’s worth the wait!
I adore the scent of freshly blossomed Sweet Peas and grow some annuals every year, as it’s so easy to do! I grow mine in seed trays filled with compost, sowing in three rows at a depth of 1.5 cm. I grow these indoors on a cool window sill (15C) and keep the soil moist. Once they start to grow I pinch out the growing tip, when two pairs of leaves have formed, to encourage bushy growth. In April, I accustom the Sweet Peas to outside conditions, finally leaving out overnight once all chance of frost is over. I usually plant out in the garden at the end of April, beginning of May, and once they flower I cut regularly to encourage more flowers.
I bought my Old Spice Mixed Sweet Peas from Mr Fothergills and Horizon Mixture Sweet Peas from Dobies of Devon. Gardens4You have an impressive selection of Hollyhocks and Peonies including the stunning Paeony Lactiflora Edulis Superba.
Happy Summer Planting!