Before & After with England's Gardens

Before: At this garden in Patcham, England's Gardens renewed a flower bed which needed some work. We planted some new plants freshly bought from the garden centre, weeded and cleared leaves from the bed, before adding some rich compost to the border. Now it looks as good as new...

After: ...And here are the results...

Patcham Garden Receives Lawncare and Pruning Treatment

A beautiful 3-tiered garden in Patcham is being cared for now by England's Gardens. The lawn needed cutting and edging and some of the shrubs, such as Berberis and Common Privet have been cut back  to shape.

It is really a very beautiful garden in need of general maintenance and up-keep. This week I will be pruning back some more of the shrubs nearer the end of the garden.

The garden has a delightful pond with a cascading stream descending down to the pond. I can imagine it gives the owners great joy and relaxation in the summer sun.

Tulips on display and a Lenten Rose on a bed banked by a retaining wall really bring some splendid colour to the garden.

Before & After with England's Gardens

This weedy spot in a garden in Preston Park needed some tender care. England's Gardens weeded the area ready both for a small greenhouse and for new planting in the Summer.

St Anne's Wells Gardens, Hove


How to Prune a Passion Flower

An excellent video guide on how to prune Passiflora (Passion Flower). Spring is the best time to prune the Passion Flower, as it starts to generate new growth.

One website dedicated to the Passion Flower,, has these tips on pruning...

'Leave the plant looking messy over winter & amp; prune only after growth has restarted. Even then always leave some long straggly bits. When pruning never cut hard to the main stems. Never prune late in the season.'

Stanmer Nursery, Stanmer Park

Ready for planting...

Top Left: Dahlias ready for planting out for the summer. Top Right: A peacock butterfly rests on a Alcea plant. Middle Left: Stunning tulips going on sale for Spring. Middle Right:Striking Stipa tenuissimas are attractive in any garden. Bottom left: Dicentra spectabilis 'Bleeding Heart' are very delicate and charming. Bottom left:Lavender ready for planting.

Also, at Stanmer Park you can walk around the park and see, among cherry trees and some lovely plants, these spectacular Cedar of Lebanon trees. This is my personal favourite tree pictured above. Majestic. Stanmer Park also has a little cafe where you can get great food, coffee and tea. It is a lovely day out for individuals and is very family friendly. Highly recommended.

Highdown Gardens

I recommend a trip to Highdown Gardens in West Sussex, near Goring by Sea. The tulips have yet to emerge but the Helleborus orientalis (Lenten Rose, pictured above) and anenomes are out in full colour, not forgetting the glorious Spring daffodils swaying in the breeze.

Highdown Gardens opened on April 4th and closes for the winter around October. If you live in the region, it is very much worth a visit. The anenomes (left) are particluarly striking at the moment and I thought the small path lined with them was charming.

Click here to visit the website of the gardens, ran and maintained by Worthing Borough Council.

Before & After with England's Gardens Part II

Before: These evergreens needed cutting right back at the Preston Park garden, having not had some tender gardening care for quite a while. Billy, the dog, looks on as England's Gardens gets to work on getting the Brighton garden back up to scratch....

After: These shrubs are back to their best having been given some pruning treatment in a day's work, ready for some planting for some hot colour in summer.The Bay tree (Laurus nobilis) in particular has been taken down to give the garden some perspective again.

Below Right: Using an extended ladder, I was able to cut back rampant Wisteria siniensis that had not been pruned the year before, freeing the beautiful shuttered windows of this 1850s built Brighton house from the Wisteria, ready for it to blossom in May. Not for the faint of heart! Don't worry, even though I am not in the second picture, I am still safe, alive and in one piece.

Before & After with England's Gardens

Before: This area of a large garden of a historic house in the Preston Park area of Brighton has been transformed in a matter of days. Hedera helix (Ivy) had been on the rampage for a long time in this section towards the entrance of the garden. England's Gardens set about digging and weeding the area, clearing bags of leaves and removing Ivy.

After: The area has been cleared and weeded. The Narcissus (Daffodils) which had sprouted up for Spring should now be a lot more visible when they bloom, now that the Ivy has been cleared. Also revealed were some lovely ferns amid the ground cover as well as the decorative brick and slate pathway and border hidden by the dead leaves and Ivy. Today we were joined by a feathered friend who was investigating the scene following the clearance, clearly eager to find some tasty worms in the fresh soil we had uncovered!

Tulips for Instant Colour...

Try Tulipa 'Jan Reus' for instant hot colour in your garden...

According to Val Bourne of The Telegraphtulips should be planted after the end of October once temperatures fall. Her article continues however...

But if you missed your chance this year, there is another way to have tulips in the garden now: seek out ready-grown potfuls and sink them into the borders. They will do well (even in shade) and Beth Chatto has been using this system for years.

The most colourful tulips are the Triumphs - a group bred in Holland for the cut-flower trade. Excellent late-April varieties include the dark chrysanthemum crimson 'Jan Reus', the purple-veined white 'Shirley' and the beetroot-purple 'Negrita'.

Tulipa 'Shirley'

They come in a wide rainbow of colours, but a limited colour scheme probably works best in the garden. Add a few May-flowering tulips to follow on. Next year pot your own tulips between early November and late December. Place about nine tulip bu…

The Telegraph's Top 10 Spring Flowering Shrubs

Cercis chinensis 'Avondale' - Chinese Redbud

Courtesy of The Telegraph

Cercis chinensis 'Avondale’, a form of the Chinese redbud, makes a large shrub or small tree, with masses of purple-pink pea flowers on the bare shoots in late March and April. The leaves then unfurl; they are very big, heart-shaped, pale green in colour and turn yellow in autumn. This plant is hardy, happiest in full sun or partial shade, and likes a fertile, moist but well-drained soil.

Halesia carolina is one of the choicest of all spring shrubs (or small trees), having adorable, nodding, pure white snowdrop flowers in late spring, once the plant has a few years on the clock. These are ¾in long, and hang in clusters of three or five on short stalks. These flowers turn into 2in-long, pear-shaped fruit with four wings and a tail. When fully ripe, these are brown, chiming well with the leaves, which yellow in autumn. Halesias like a sheltered spot in sun or part shade in neutral or acid soil.

Chaenomeles x …

Magnificent Magnolias

The Magnolia season is upon us in the UK. Wakehurst Place in East Sussex is home to some magnificent magnolias, as seen in the picture above.

Courtesy of BBC Gardening, here are the basics on the resplendent Magnolia genus.

Common Name: Magnolia
Genus: Magnolia
Species: liliiflora
Cultivar: 'Nigra'
Skill Level: Experienced
Exposure: Full sun, Partial shade
Hardiness: Hardy
Soil type: Well-drained/light, Acidic
Height: 300cm
Spread: 240cm
Flowering period: April to June

Chinese Dogwood Tree [Cornus kousa]

I saw this tree today at Nyman's Gardens, Handcross, Sussex and thought it was beautiful. H/T to University of Arkansas for information on this wonderful plant.

'The Chinese dogwood comes into bloom in mid-May and lasting until early June. It is a 20-foot tall, twiggy, round-headed tree that is small enough to be accommodated in even the most crowded garden. Its flowers appear three weeks after those of the native dogwood.

The blooms are pointed on the end instead of bobbed off like our native dogwood, giving the appearance of white four-pointed stars against the dense green background foliage. The individual petals -- actually modified leaves called bracts -- are usually 2- to 2 1/2 inches long and about one-third as wide. They begin as a beautiful light green and gradually change to bright white as the flowers open.

In the autumn, the Chinese dogwood produces round ping-pong size clusters of red fruit on drooping peduncles that add another dimension of beauty to the tree. Autum…

Everlasting Wallflower: The Butterfly's Favourite

People say that Buddleja is the best plant for getting wildlife and butterflies into your garden. I recently took a trip over to my parents house and they showed me the Everlasting Wallflower, latin name, Vanessa cardui.

Tens of painted lady butterflies are now swarming into my parents garden, because they absolutely adore this plant. If you like butterflies in your garden, get it!

Pruning Clematis

Clematis 'Josephine'

Great article from Garden Forum on pruning Clematis.

Pruning is one garden job that confuses many gardeners. And pruning clematis/how to prune clematis is certainly one area that has heads scratching all over the world.

You don't have to prune clematis. Pruning can be restricted to: 1) the plants are out-growing their allotted space; 2) the flowers are produced too high up to enjoy.

Pruning in the latter case can even be avoided by retraining and tying shoots lower down on the support - say just above ground level. These shoots produce their flowers much lower down.

Training shoots horizontally not only keeps the flowers within eye level, but provides better coverage of the support, and the reduced flow of sap encourages even more flowers.

Clematis can be divided into three groups when it comes to the subject of pruning, depending on when they flower.

Group 1

Early-flowering species clematis (such as Clematis montana, C. macropetala and C. alpina),

These plants…