Hi Aidan, one of the earliest daffodils is Narcissus papyraceus (paper-white daffodil) which flowers from winter to early spring and also carries a delicious fragrance. It is often the daffodil of choice for forcing in time for Christmas! Another popular early daffodil is ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’ which flowers between January and March. If you like dwarf daffodils then Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete’ is a good choice, flowering from late February; or ‘Little Gem’ which appears in early March. Another fairly small but early variety is Narcissus ‘February Gold’, which as the name suggests will flower from February to March! Narcissus x odorus (Campernelle or sweet-scented jonquil) flowers in early March and has a strong scent. Another early species is Narcissus obvallaris which will flower in March. For something a bit different try Narcissus ‘Rip Van Winkle’ which produces double, almost star shaped blooms in early spring. I hope this gives you some ideas to start with!
Hi Cathy, daffodils coming up ‘blind’ (no flowers) is quite common and there can be several causes. It could be that your daffodil bulbs are overcrowded - daffodils naturally reproduce underground which can lead to congestion over the years. If you think this may be the cause then lift your daffodil bulbs in the summer once the foliage has died back and re-plant them at a spacing of 5-7cm, and a depth of 10cm. Deep planting discourages bulbs from dividing. It’s a good idea to work in some organic matter and fertiliser before re-planting them, to help feed the bulbs. Lack of food can be another reason why bulbs come up blind. As the bulbs emerge in the spring try sprinkling a general purpose fertiliser around them. After flowering, feed your bulbs with a high potassium liquid fertiliser such as tomato food, every week or two until the foliage yellows. This helps them prepare for next year’s display. It’s worth keeping an eye out for narcissus bulb fly damage too. The larvae of this fly burrow into the centre of the bulb and eat the contents (which contains the flower buds), leading to death or bulb blindness.
Other things you can do to improve flowering include dead-heading the flowers once they’ve finished and letting the foliage die down naturally after flowering (don’t be tempted to tie the foliage in a knot) Dry conditions after flowering can also prevent flowers forming for next year. If you suffer from dry soil you can mulch around the bulbs in the spring with organic matter such as well rotted manure or compost, which should help retain moisture. I hope something here helps and good luck with next year’s display!
Hi Ken, Freesias can be a bit tricky as they naturally grow between September and February in their native South Africa. In the UK they are best planted into pots in September and kept in a cool greenhouse or conservatory over winter. They don’t tolerate freezing but should be kept below 13°C for the best show in the spring. In a cold greenhouse it’s best to cover the pots with fleece in severe weather to help protect the corms. Grow them in loam-based compost such as John Innes No.2 and add some grit for extra drainage. Make sure the corms are planted 7cm deep in the compost.
Once Freesias start to grow they like a full sun position and a moist soil so make sure you water regularly. They are greedy feeders too and will appreciate a weekly liquid feed with a balanced fertiliser once flower buds start to form. Keep feeding your Freesias until the leaves start to die back as this will provide energy for next year’s flowers. Reduce watering as the leaves start to die, then keep the corms completely dry until they need re-planting in the autumn. I hope this has given you some pointers Ken, best of luck!
Hi Pat, we’re sorry to hear of your disappointment, please contact our customer care team if you’re unhappy with your purchase. It will be fine to give your blueberry bush a prune – they are best pruned in late February or March so you are just in time! Blueberries fruit on stems produced in the previous year and should not need to be pruned in their first 3 years except for the removal of dead, damaged or diseased stems. After 3 years, it is good practice to prune out the oldest stems at their base in order to encourage healthy new growth the following season. Aim to remove about a third of the oldest stems. Young stems are red in colour and the oldest stems are brown. By removing the oldest stems regularly you encourage constant rejuvenation and better fruiting.
If you wish to reduce the overall size of your blueberry bush this year, make sure you cut just above a bud or side-shoot at an angle facing away from the bud/shoot. You may find cutting back the bush this year will compromise some of the fruit as blueberries fruit on the previous season’s growth. You can try to be selective by retaining the branches with the most fruit buds – you can recognise these as they are much fatter than the leaf buds. In future years just prune out the oldest stems to allow the new wood to mature. Blueberries do tend to produce a better crop when grown near a different variety. Other small varieties include ‘Sunshine Blue’ ‘Northsky’ and ‘Blue Pearl’. I hope this helps pat and that you get lots of delicious blueberries soon.