Peat Free Compost
Last summer, I ran a Peat Free Compost Trial to compare the different peat free composts available, and find out how well each of the composts performed growing dwarf French beans under the same conditions. In my trial, Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables and Salads, and Dalefoot Double Strength Wool Compost were the clear winners producing healthy plants with a great harvest. (To see all my Compost Trials, please click here).
I’ve been using Dalefoot Composts for a while now, I have been so impressed with the quality of their products that I have used Dalefoot Compost for my Sweet Pea Trial and other trials I have run. Dalefoot Double Strength Compost is a fantastic product; it’s a highly concentrated compost that’s rich in nutrients. I have used this compost in previous trials mixed 50/50 with a spent compost that was unable to sustain any plant growth when used on its own with fantastic results – the plants grown in the compost mix thrived. Dalefoot Double Strength Compost is also ideal to use in a compost mix for plants like hellebores that require a rich soil to grow well. I have used this compost for growing vegetables, salads, as well as flowering plants with great results every time.
Winter container ideas
If your garden is looking a bit dreary or lifeless this month, you might like to plant up some early spring containers to bring some seasonal cheer to your garden and to the bees, as nectar and pollen is in short supply at this time of year.
Sarcococca are a genus of slow growing shrubs that look rather inconspicuous. For much of the year you’ll walk past them without so much as a second glance, but when Sarcococca are in flower, these shrubs really turn heads, for their perfumes are powerful, sweet, and heady. One of my favourites is Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna ‘Purple Stem’, a super shrub for a shaded spot, which will thrive whether grown in the ground or in a container. I have grown Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna ‘Purple Stem’ in a container in deep shade; I’ve never once watered the container, even through the driest of summers, yet my plants have flourished, and I have enjoyed the intoxicating fragrance of this Sarcococca’s long lasting flowers, from winter to spring each year.
More winter flowering plants
Lonicera x purpusii ‘Winter Beauty’ is a winter-flowering honeysuckle that comes into its own during the late winter and early spring, providing nectar for bees, and fragrance for gardeners.
An ideal choice for a sheltered spot, near a doorway, or path where its fragrance can be appreciated is Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’. The fragrance that this Daphne’s pretty pink blooms produce is divine! Don’t make the mistake of cutting the flowers to bring indoors, they don’t last and your plant won’t thank you for removing them. This slow-growing, evergreen shrub hates disturbance, so do ensure you plant it in a permanent position.
If you are lucky enough to have room to plant a small tree, do consider Prunus × subhirtella ‘Autumnalis Rosea’, which flowers on and off, from December until the end of March. This tree has a delicate beauty, which will charm and uplift you, warming your heart during the winter months.
Snowdrops, crocus, daffodils, hellebores, polyanthus and primroses are other early spring joys that provide food for bees, look for single flowers that have accessible pollen and nectar. To see a list of reputable snowdrop nurseries and suppliers, please click here. To see my Calendar of Snowdrop Garden Openings, Snowdrop Plant Sales, Snowdrop Talks and Events, please click here.
This article was first published in the February 2017 edition of Vantage Point Magazine.
Have you seen my calendar of online and zoom talks? Click here to see my Calendar of Zoom & Online Nature and Gardening Talks and Events.
You may be interested in some of the other trials I have conducted.
Compost Trial Reports
To see all of my Compost Trials, please click here.
To read advice on planting up containers, please click here.
Scented Daffodil Trial Reports
To see the results of my third Scented Daffodil Trial, please click here.
To read the results of my Scented Daffodil Container Trial, please click here.
To read the results of my first Scented Daffodil Trial, please click here.
Sweet Pea Trial Reports
To read the results of my third Sweet Pea Trial, please click here.
To read the results of my second Sweet Pea Trial, please click here.
To read the results of my first Sweet Pea Trial, please click here.
Terrarium, Vivarium, and Orchidarium Trials
To see how my Orchidarium was created, please click here.
To see the design of my Rainforest Terrarium, please click here.
To read the first part of my White Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial, please click here.
To read the first part of my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial, please click here.
To read the first part of my Miniature Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial, please click here.
To see a planting list of ferns, orchids, and other plants that are perfectly suited to growing inside terrariums and bottle gardens, please click here.
To read about the general care I give to my orchids and terrarium plants, and the general maintenance I give to my BiOrbAir terrariums, please click here.
To read how I track the temperature, humidity, and light conditions inside my terrariums, please click here.
To see my Tomato Trials, please click here.
To see all of my Vegetable Trials, please click here.
Other articles that may interest you………….
For autumn gardening advice, please click here.
For winter gardening advice, please click here.
For information about where to buy beautiful, British grown flowers for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, please click here.
For lovely ideas of what you could do in your garden, or at your allotment in February, please click here.
To read about daffodils, please click here.
For information about using daffodils as cut flowers, please click here.
To read about carnivorous plants, please click here.