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Favourite peonies plus tips on how to grow

Garden Gardens Illustrated

Nursery owner Claire Austin grows over 100 different herbaceous peonies in her garden and trials field to find the very best
'Among the specialist plant collections that Claire Austin offers is one of her personal passions: peonies – and there are plenty to be found both in her nursery and her garden. I usually stick with my favourites, such as ‘Dinner Plate’, ‘Elsa Sass’ and ‘Sarah Bernhardt’,” she says. “But it varies from year to year. If something new comes along and is worthwhile, it will certainly be included. Claire Austin Peonies are plants Claire feels have much to offer gardeners. Easy to grow and requiring little maintenance, they are sculptural in spring when the stems emerge, have architectural foliage and glorious flowers, so provide several seasons of interest. They start flowering in mid May with the early hybrids and species and reach their climax in mid June. Some of Claire’s favourites 1 Paeonia lactiflora ‘Hot Chocolate’ This early season is peony is an unusual colour combination with dark-red flowers and a pompom-like boss of frilly petaloids.   2 Paeonia lactiflora ‘Bowl of Cream’ Every petal of the smooth, scented, creamy-white, double flowers, curves inwards, forming a bowl-like centre. Flowers from early mid season to late season. 80cm. RHS H6.   3 Paeonia lactiflora ‘Pink Cameo’ Lavender-pink petals with a central boss of baby pink petalioids. A prolific flowerer and very fragrant. 1m. RHS H7.   4 Paeonia lactiflora ‘Pillow Talk’ The beautiful, scented, powder puff flowers of soft, pure pink are freely produced on strong stems boasting lush, dark-green leaves. Mid-season. 80cm.   5 Paeonia lactiflora ‘Karl Rosenfield’ Has fragrant, bright-magenta double blooms and a boss of golden stamens that become more prominent as the blooms mature. 80cm. RHS H6.   6 Paeonia lactiflora ‘Florence Ellis’ The pure-white flowers, notched petals and cream petaloids of this lightly scented cultivar make it a good cut flower. 85cm.   7 Paeonia lactiflora ‘Auguste Dessert’ A reliable, deep-rose-pink, semi-double with deep-yellow stamens, fragrant flowers and good autumn foliage. Flowers mid to late season. 90cm. RHS H6.   8 Paeonia lactiflora ‘Nymphe’ Its deep-pink flowers are strongly scented and like most single peonies, an excellent nectar source for bees. Late season. 80cm. RHS H6, USDA 3a-8b.   9 Paeonia lactiflora ‘Paul M Wild’ One of the best reds for a cut flower; the brilliant, rich red of the double flowers is very pure. Mid season. 90cm. RHS H6.   10 Paeonia lactiflora ‘Mr GF Hemerik’ Deep-pink petals surround a dome of broad, cream petaloids that fade with age. An easy peony to grow. Mid-season. 1m. RHS H6, USDA 3a-8b.   11 Paeonia ‘Coral Charm’ An impressive, coral-coloured, semi-double. Its long-lasting flowers age to soft peach and are carried on long, red stems. Can last for ten days as a cut flower. 85cm. AGM*. RHS H6, USDA 3a-8b.   12 Paeonia lactiflora ‘Kansas’ A late-flowering cultivar with fabulous double flowers that are a clear, rich pink-red. Excellent for cutting. 1.2m.   13 Paeonia lactiflora ‘Nancy Nicholls’ The big, fluffy, white flowers with a blush pink tinge are lightly scented. One of the best late-flowering cultivars. 90cm.     14 Paeonia lactiflora ‘Monsieur Jules Elie’ Its large, double-domed, rose-pink flowers tend to flop but it is worth growing for its heady rose-like scent. Mid season. 90cm.   15 Paeonia lactiflora ‘Adolphe Rousseau’ A mid-season peony with rich, cerise-red double flowers and yellow stamens. Although it has no scent it is always loaded with flowers. 95cm.   16 Paeonia lactiflora ‘Miss America’ Semi-double peony flowers are most unusual and the glistening white flowers of this fragrant cultivar are particularly special. Early to mid-season. 90cm. AGM. RHS H7, USDA 3a-8b. 17 Paeonia lactiflora ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ One of Claire’s favourites, this scented double has pure-pink flowers that are tinted with silver around the edges. Its long stems make this late-season peony a classic flower for cutting. 1m. AGM. RHS H6, USDA 3a-8b.   18 Paeonia lactiflora ‘Myrtle Gentry’ Another of Claire’s favourites; the large blush-pink, double flowers, fade to white with age and it has an excellent shape and scent. A mid-season bloom, it is long lasting in a vase. 90cm.   19 Paeonia lactiflora ‘Bowl of Beauty’ This deservedly popular Japanese cultivar boasts bright-pink guard petals and ribbon-like, pale-lemon petaloids. Free flowering and slightly scented. Mid season. 80cm. AGM. RHS H6.   20 Paeonia lactiflora ‘Shirley Temple’ Claire’s mother planted this lightly scented cultivar in a shady spot 20 years ago, and it produces more than 50 flowers a year. Mid-season. 85cm. RHS H6.   21 Paeonia ‘Prairie Charm’ The gorgeous, semi-double, yellow flower opens into a deep cup revealing raspberry flares at the base of each petal. Autumn foliage is burnished pewter. 90cm.     Claire’s tips for growing peonies • The leaf buds should be no more than 2.5cm below the soil surface and the planting hole wide enough to accommodate the roots comfortably. • Support taller cultivars when the stems are around 15cm high. • Feed every three years in spring, with bonemeal or general fertiliser. • Organic matter will scorch the emerging buds in spring, so mulch as far away from the central crown as possible. • Remove old leaves to discourage diseases. Peony wilt is worse during damp weather. If it becomes a problem, dispose of infected parts away from the garden or spray with fungicide. • Peonies do not mind being moved – especially if they are not divided. If you want to divide plants, do this when they are dormant, from late October to the end of January, and ensure that each division has at least three buds.   • Most of the peonies featured are available as bare-root plants from Claire Austin Hardy Perennials from October to March. claireaustin-hardyplants.co.uk To see and buy Claire Austin’s plants, you can visit The Sarn, Sarn, Newtown, Powys, SY16 4EJ 01686 670880 For more information please go to thesarn.co.uk'

Take part in our reader survey

Garden Gardens Illustrated

Take part in our reader survey and you could win one of two vouchers from Crocus.co.uk worth £125
'Thank you for your interest in our 2019 reader survey. As a reader of Gardens Illustrated your thoughts and opinions are really important to us. The better we understand you and what you want from the magazine, the more relevant and enjoyable we can make it. The survey should take no more than 15 minutes and as a thank you for taking part, UK residents who complete it will be given the opportunity to enter our prize draw for a chance to win one of two eVouchers to spend with online plant nursery Crocus.co.uk. The survey will be available online until 11.59pm on Wednesday 17 July 2019. We look forward to hearing from you. CLICK HERE TO GET STARTED'

Sow your Silene ‘Blue Angel’ seeds NOW

Garden Gardens Illustrated

UK readers will have received a packet of Silene coeli-rosa 'Blue Angel' with their May issue of the magazine. Seeds can be sown from March to early June - so there's still time
'Silene coeli-rosa ‘Blue Angel’ is a charming, hardy annual offering rounded cushions of electric blue flowers, all summer long. Lovely sown in flowing drifts at the front of a sunny border or in a container. Here’s how Great Dixter head gardener Fergus Garrett described the plant when he chose it as a favourite for June in his Plantsman’s Favourite series in the magazine back in 2013. A wonderful annual, hugging the ground with tussocky rosettes of grey-green leaves, above which float a dense tangle of smooth upright stems carrying a profusion of flowers in the most stirring shade of vivid blue. Each flower is approximately 3cm across and made up of a flat disc of five petals each notched at the tip and joined in the centre by a distinct black eye. Showy over a long season and dainty enough to run through empty spaces among perennials, imitating self-sowing. Mixes well with Lychnis coronaria and Eryngium giganteum . Planting your seeds Sow March to early June Flowers June to September Height 25cm Spread 20cm Sow outdoors where they are to flower, 0.5cm deep, directly into finely prepared soil that has already been watered. Seedlings usually appear in 14-21 days. Thin seedlings to 15cm apart. Water well until plants are established. For a continuous display, make sowings at intervals of two to three weeks. Prefers well-drained soil in a sunny position. • Keep an eye out for our final packet of free seeds for 2019 later in the year. Seed packet illustration by Vicki Turner'

Win an Atco lawnmower

Garden Gardens Illustrated

Enter our competition for your chance to win an Atco Liner 19SE V lawnmower worth £1,009
'Atco has been manufacturing lawnmowers for more than 90 years and has earned a reputation for quality and performance. We are delighted to be able to offer one lucky winner the Atco Liner 19SE V – a premium lawnmower powered by a powerful Briggs & Stratton 675IS InStart push-button, electric-start engine. Fitted with an innovative Twinclip blade with four cutting edges; the leading edge reduces the initial length of the grass with the following edge reducing the finished length down to the desired height. The extra-finely cut clippings are blown into the large 80 litre collector allowing for a 20 per cent increase in collection performance. The large diameter steel rear roller is driven by a heavy duty Hi-Torque cone clutch transmission, which combines light and easy operation with smooth acceleration through a range of cutting speeds. Cleaning the cutting deck after use is made easy by using a hose connection fitted to the chassis. Supported by a five-year manufacturer’s warranty, this lawnmower is an essential piece of kit, perfect for medium-sized gardens up to 50m x 50m in size. Visit the website to find out more: atco.co.uk   How to enter We have one Atco Liner 19SE V worth £1,009 as our competition prize. For your chance to win, complete the form below, answering the question. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions.'

Special offer – Penstemon Collection

Garden Gardens Illustrated

Save up to £27 on this Penstemon Collection from Hayloft Plants
'Penstemons are excellent hardy perennials, ideal for providing long-lived colour and interest from May to October from their clustered dangling blossoms and their attractive, lush, semi-evergreen foliage. Throughout summer stout spires are laden with flowers, which are popular with bees. Gardens Illustrated readers can save up \u2028to £27, and receive free p&p on this special collection from Hayloft Plants . Available as a six-plant collection (one of each cultivar), or 18-plant collection (three of each). All plants show are also available to buy as individual cultivars (three plants of each) with free p&p. Supplied as young plants in 14 days.* Penstemon in this special Hayloft Plants offer include: Penstemon ‘Blackbird’ One of the darkest flowered penstemons, with clusters of dark-purple, trumpet-shaped blooms held on strong stems above green, semi-evergreen foliage from May to October, often longer. Height 70cm.   Penstemon Fujiyama A compact plant with an upright habit that was originally bred to be grown in patio containers. The large flowers are an attractive combination of a solid pink lip that fades to white at the base. Height 60cm.   Penstemon ‘Willy’s Purple’ An imposing plant, with tall stems and flowers that are a dark-wine colour and have a waxy appearance. Originally found growing in Australia. Height 1.2m.   Penstemon ‘Cherry’ Vibrant red stripes on a white background in the throat of the flowers. It is a vigorous plant in its first couple of years but after that needs replacing. Height 80cm.   Penstemon ‘Pensham Laura’ Produces clusters of large, white, bell-shaped blooms with pretty, bright-pink edge on strong stems over semi-evergreen foliage for over six months each year from May to October. Height 90cm.   Penstemon Phoenix Violet Part of a series of relatively short plants with large, open flowers. These flowers are plum coloured with a clear white throat, appearing in early June. Semi-evergreen bright to mid-green foliage. Height 50cm.   OFFER • Collection of 6 (1 of each cultivar) £16.50 – save £8.52 • Collection of 18 (3 of each cultivar) £22.50 – save £27 • Or you can order a single cultivar (3 plants) for £12.50   How to order • Online at hayloft.co.uk/ROGI • By phone Call 01386 426245 and quote code ROGI19-22. • By post You will find an order form in the June issue of Gardens Illustrated – issue 274 Postage & packing Free (normally £4.95).   Offer closes 28 July 2019. *All orders will receive an acknowledgement with approximate delivery date. All items are subject to availability; we reserve the right to send suitable substitutes or, for paid-for items, offer a refund. Offer available to UK addresses only, and cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotions or discounts.'

Rare and gorgeous plants feature in our planters at the GI stand

Garden Gardens Illustrated

The Gardens Illustrated stand at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019 featured some rare and show stopping plants
'We like the planters on our Gardens Illustrated Chelsea stand to reflect what you’ll find in the magazine – rare and unusual plants that you’ll want to grow in your garden. This year Hortus Loci kindly provided the plants to include Iris sibiric a ‘Silver Edge’ Salvia nutans Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’ Bupleurum longifolium ‘Bronze Form’ Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’ Lunaria annua ‘Corfu Blue’ Geranium Rozanne Nepeta racemosa ‘Walker’s Low’   Iris sibirica ‘Silver Edge’ This iris featured in our May selection of Plantsman’s Favourites as chosen by head gardener Tom Brown – so we are delighted to have it included in our planter. Here’s what Tom wrote about the plant: If you have space for just one Siberian iris then ‘Silver Edge’ is hard to beat. Its abundant and large flowers are a rich blue colour and have a distinctive silver edge that gives them a real presence. They appear above grass-like foliage in May and June and are most floriferous if they are given a sun drenched position with a reasonable level of moisture during the summer. AGM. Height 1m Conditions Fertile, moist but well-drained soil; full sun.   Salvia nutans This is an aromatic plant found of steep steppic slopes. It forms bluebell-like crowds that are visible from a distance. The flower clusters become erect in fruit. This particular plant was grown from seed collected under licence by Hortus Loci from a meadow in Romania and as such is pretty special and precious to have in our planters. In fact it is on the Romanian IUCN Red List as being a threatened species in the wild. If you’re at the show we do hope you have a chance to admire it. Here is it growing wild in a Romanian meadow   • With huge thanks to Hortus Loci for this gorgeous plant selection Don’t miss our reader day with Hortus Loci coming up on 22nd June .'

Competition: Win tickets to RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival with Hartley Botanic

Garden Gardens Illustrated

Glasshouse and greenhouse manufacturer Hartley Botanic is offering a pair of tickets to the preview night of RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival on 1 July.
'Greenhouse and glasshouse manufacturer Hartley Botanic is offering two pairs of tickets to the preview event of the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival on 1 July. Lancashire-based manufacturer Hartley Botanic was set up in 1938 by businessman and inventor (and RHS fellow) Vincent Hartley who had the simple mission to produce the ‘finest greenhouses money can buy’. To the best of their knowledge, the company was the first in the UK to make aluminium greenhouses and they gained recognition for their unique clearspan design, which rids the interior of internal bracing, allowing for maximum light and usable space. 2018 marked Hartley Botanic’s 80th anniversary and the company is proud to be the only aluminium greenhouse manufacturer to be endorsed by the RHS. A regular exhibitor at the RHS shows, Hartley Botanic will be attending RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival this July to exhibit its range of handmade greenhouses and glasshouses, offering both traditional and contemporary styles. Visit them at the show to find out more about the range – Stand number: 317 . Click to find out more about RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival . Click to find out more about Hartley Botanic’s range of greenhouses and glasshouses .     Competition Win one of two pairs of tickets to the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival preview evening on Monday 1 July 2019. You’ll have the opportunity to be among the first to view the show gardens and tradestands, plus enjoy live music, exciting food options and a fireworks finale. How to enter Complete the form below, answering the question. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions.'

Enjoy 20% off entry to Woburn Abbey Garden Show: 22-23 June

Garden Gardens Illustrated

The Woburn Abbey Garden Show celebrates its tenth anniversary this year with a bountiful programme of events across the weekend of the 22-23 June. We have a special offer giving you a 20% discount on tickets
'The Woburn Abbey Garden Show celebrates its tenth anniversary this year with a bountiful programme of events across the weekend of the 22-23 June. Pippa Greenwood and Adam Frost will be presenting talks, demonstrations and Q&A sessions along with a host \u2028of other horticultural experts. Guided garden tours around the Humphry Repton gardens will give visitors insights into the management and creation of the landscaped grounds. The plant village will be full of RHS award-winning nurseries with their stunning plant displays. The nursery displays and innovate trade stands will be assessed for the sought-after ‘Woburn Abbey Garden Show Award’ by a host of prestigious judges including garden designer James Alexander-Sinclair.   READER OFFER Book in advance and readers of Gardens Illustrated will be able to enjoy the show with 20 per cent off general admission ticket using code GI2019 . For more information and booking go to Woburn Abbey website. Use offer code when prompted. Woburn Abbey and Gardens Woburn Bedfordshire MK17 9WA woburnabbey.co.uk   VIP Packages There’s also the option to treat yourself to an exclusive Woburn Abbey Garden Show VIP package. Places are limited, giving a select number of guests the chance to enjoy all that our VIP experience has to offer. This VIP package includes: • Designated parking and fast-track entrance • An escort to the Abbey • A guided tour of the Abbey by Deputy Curator Victoria Poulton • A two-course lunch in the Sculpture Gallery. • Exclusive access to a VIP marquee in association with Gardens Illustrated . Including unlimited refreshments, to enjoy the show at your leisure. You will also have plenty of time to explore all the stalls and benefit from reserved seating for the talks and demonstrations. £150 per person and lunch is included (NOTE 20% discount does not include VIP packages) More details here'

Remember to sow your Chinese forget-me-not

Garden Gardens Illustrated

UK readers will have received a packet of Cynoglossum amabile with their May issue of the magazine. Why not sow them this weekend?
'Cynoglossum amabile , or Chinese forget-me-not is an upright, bushy annual, producing a multitude of little blue flowers from mid to late summer. It grows best in less fertile soil and is idea for sunny mixed borders. Horticulturist Jamie Butterworth happened to pick the plant out back in our January issue as one of his favourite choices for 2019. “Once seen Chinese forget-me-not is a plant you will remember. Delightful blue flowers add a zing to planting through summer. Could this be the next star of Chelsea? Ideal as a cut flower, or as an annual to spice up border. I like to mix it with a fiery geum for a dazzling display,” Jamie wrote. Here’s how to plant your seeds Indoors February to April: Sow thinly, cover with 5mm of compost. Firm gently and keep moist. Cover with glass, polythene or propagator lid and keep at 15-20°C. Seedlings appear in 14-28 days. Remove cover and when large enough to handle, transplant 5cm apart in trays. Harden off by standing outside for a few days from late May (avoid frosts). Transplant 25cm apart in flowering position. Outdoors April to May : Sow thinly in rows 20cm apart. Cover with 5mm of fine soil. Firm gently and keep moist. Thin to 25cm apart. Flowers June to October. Deadhead to prolong flowering and stop sticky seeds from becoming a nuisance. Height 45cm Spread 30cm.   • Illustration by Vicki Turner'

Celebrate Garden Day

Garden Gardens Illustrated

Sunday 12th May marks the launch of Garden Day, a nationwide community benefit project that encourages gardeners to down tools for the day, pop on a flower crown and celebrate their gardens with their neighbours, family and friends.
'Sunday 12th May marks the launch of Garden Day , a nationwide community benefit project that encourages gardeners to down tools for the day, pop on a flower crown and celebrate their gardens with their neighbours, family and friends.  What started in Somerset in 2017 was such a success, that it is now launching nationwide. Garden Day aims to highlight the benefits that gardens offer for positive mental wellbeing and building community and takes place at the start of both Mental Health Awareness Week and the National Gardens Scheme’s Gardens and Health Week . It’s not so much about ‘doing’ the gardening as it is enjoying the garden – relaxing, gathering together and appreciating being outside surrounded by plants and nature – be it a balcony, a lawn or patio, or in a flat surrounded by precious pot plants. Start planning now Gather together neighbours, family and friends together on Sunday 12th May for elevenses, lunch, barbecue, afternoon tea or a glass of wine or two. Garden Day have even got some downloadable invitations for you to send out to your guests. You can download this Garden Day invitation to send out to your friends and neighbours.   Flower Power – flower crown workshops Encourage guests to wear a flower crown and indulge in all things floral. You’ll find some inspiration below plus  Flower crown workshops are taking place at: Hauser & Wirth – 4th May, Chelsea Physic Garden – 5th May, Frome Independent Market – 5th May RHS Wisley – 11th May These are free (standard site entry fees apply) and you just need to sign up to secure a place. Find details at www.gardenday.co.uk/events Michael Perry – aka Mr Plant Geek shows is support for Garden Day sporting a suitably floral crown Garden designer and broadcaster Arit Anderson comments “There are great benefits on our wellness both physically and mentally from being in nature, amongst plants and wildlife. A garden is our co-creation with nature.” Poppy James, founder of happiness app Happy Not Perfect adds her support to Garden Day.   If you can’t make a workshop in person, watch and learn online with step-by-step video tutorials filmed exclusively for Garden Day with Tallulah Rose Flower School .   • Spread to work and join the conversation about the benefits of gardens and gardening to health and wellbeing by using the hashtag #GardenDayUK and tagging @GardenDayUK Garden Day was created and funded by  Candide  – a new gardening app that connects  gardeners with fellow plant-lovers, public gardens and plant nurseries. It aspires to be the gardener’s best friend with a knowledge base of plants, news articles, plant identification, growing tips and garden tours.'

20% off pelargonium collections from Woottens

Garden Gardens Illustrated

Enjoy these collections, put together by Woottens of Wenhaston especially for Gardens Illustrated readers, which include some of the most popular species and scented pelargoniums
'We can’t resist these species and scented pelargoniums to brighten the garden \u2028over the summer months. Enjoy these collections, which include some of the most popular, tried-and-tested species \u2028and cultivars. All of these can be taken indoors to protect them from frost over winter and reinvigorated for the following year.SCENTED COLLECTION \u20285 x 9cm plants £20 plus £6.50 p&p Pelargonium ‘Ardwick Cinnamon’ Intense silver, filigreed foliage with a cinnamon scent. Small white flowers. H30cm.    Pelargonium ‘Pink Capricorn’ Vivid pink flowers with strong feathered markings on upper petals. Soft moss-green trilobed foliage scented of rose. H30cm.    Pelargonium ‘Prince of Orange’ White flowers with faintest pink blush on the upper petals. Mid green, strongly orange scented leaves, small in form. H35cm.    Pelargonium ‘Radula Roseum’ Large, striking magenta-pink flowers. Dark feathers on the upper two. Large grey-green leaves with a spicy/rose scent. H40cm.    Pelargonium ‘Brilliantine’ Elegant, lavender-pink flowers on long stems. Long and late flowering. Crimped grey-green leaves strongly scented of eau de cologne. H20cm.   SPECIES COLLECTION 5 x 9cm plants £20 plus £6.50 p&p Pelargonium ‘Blackman Beauty’ Highly unusual with fern-like foliage held on thick trunks, almost like a bonsai form. Elegant, white flowers with central red stripe. H40cm.    Pelargonium exstipulatum Profuse, small, clear-pink flowers with dainty, sticky, silver leaves on stems that often redden with age. A light spicy scent. H40cm.    Pelargonium pseudoglutinosum Pale-pink flowers with very elongated bottom petals. Unusual jagged foliage with a dark brown centre. Rare in cultivation. H60cm.    Pelargonium ignescens Light scarlet flowers with dark markings on upper two petals. Soft green leaves. H35cm.    Pelargonium echinatum ‘Album’ Tall stems of white flowers with vivid red markings on upper petals. Small, soft, grey-green leaves top the thorny stems. H40cm.  Combined Collection All 10 plants £37 plus £7.50 p&p Combine the Scented and Species Collections and grow all ten plants for interesting and varied pelargonium displays throughout the summer. OFFER Make your choice of either the Species or \u2028Scented Collection, or choose a Combined Collection for all the plants. Plants are supplied fully established in 9cm pots with detailed \u2028care instructions. Prices give you a 20% reduction on buying the plants individually. Find out more about each of these plants at woottensplants.comHOW TO ORDER • By phone 01502 478258, quoting \u2028code GIPEL19.• Online at woottensplants.com. Click on \u2028the Special Offers tab to find these options and use discount code GIPEL19 in the shopping basket.• By post Please include details of the collection you would like, your name and address, telephone or email address and \u2028a cheque made payable to Woottens of Wenhaston Ltd. Send your order to: Woottens of Wenhaston, The Iris Field, \u2028Hall Road, Wenhaston, Suffolk IP19 9HF. TERMS & CONDITIONS Offer closes 30 June 2019 or while stocks last. Offer is available to mainland UK only. Varieties may be substituted depending \u2028on availability. Orders will be dispatched from the end of May.'

Papaver

Garden Gardens Illustrated

The scarlet poppy may be one of the most instantly recognisable flower, due in part to its association with remembrance, but with more than 70 species of Papaver, in a range of shapes and colours, there’s one for every occasion
' In Brief Season: Summer flowering Size: Alpine species grow to just 10cm tall, while some Papaver orientale cultivars reach 1.2m tall Conditions: Specific growing conditions vary with the species but in general Papaver need open, sunny situations and well-drained soil. Papaver is made up of at least 70 species \u2028of annuals, biennials and perennials, growing mainly in the northern hemisphere, including within the Arctic Circle, with one species found in southern Africa. They are part of \u2028the Papaveraceae family, which includes other genera commonly referred to as poppies, including Meconopsis (the blue poppy) \u2028and Eschscholzia (the Californian poppy).Cultivation • The annual poppies are among \u2028the easiest plants to raise from seed. Most do not like the disturbance caused by transplanting so are \u2028best sown in the spring in the place where you want them to flower. • Overcrowding will produce weedy plants so sow seed thinly and be ruthless in removing seedlings to ensure the plants you are left with have the space to flourish. • Annual poppies prefer an open, sunny aspect in well-drained, relatively poor soil but will adapt \u2028to any soil that is not waterlogged. They will not grow well in deep shade. All produce copious amounts of seed and most will self-seed, although it is a bit of a lottery \u2028what colour the flowers of named cultivars of P. somniferum and \u2028of P. rhoeas will be. • The perennial species tend to be more demanding than the annual ones and although in the wild \u2028P. orientale grows in poor, rocky soil or in meadows with thin soil, to perform well in the garden the \u2028plant needs rich, well-drained soil. Too much moisture and the crown \u2028of the plant will rot; too poor a soil and it will not flower. • After flowering you are left with tatty foliage. The renowned designer Gertrude Jekyll advised hiding it with a scrambling plant, such as Lathyrus latifolius, but P. orientale can be cut down to the ground, which will encourage fresh, healthy looking leaves as well as the occasional second flowering.Here’s a selection of favourites: Papaver commutatum ‘Ladybird’ Similar to the common field poppy, this has smaller, bowl-shaped flowers that are an intense scarlet. The black blotches at the base of the petals make this an eye-catching plant. 40cm. AGM. RHS H5, USDA 1-11. Papaver orientale ‘Beauty of Livermere’ Shiny, blood-red flowers that are 20cm wide on tall stems make this an outstanding plant. It is often grown from seed, resulting in paler flowers or shorter plants. 1.2m. RHS H7, USDA 3a-7b. Papaver somniferum seedling In the wild the opium poppy has variable flowers, ranging from white to deep purple. Garden-sown seedlings can exhibit an even wider range of colours and flower shapes, including, as shown here, double flowers. All have the same glaucous foliage. 1m. RHS H5, USDA 1-11. P. somniferum ‘Lauren’s Grape’ A cultivar that comes reliably true from saved seed if no other forms are grown nearby. The single, bowl-shaped flowers are the deepest purple and grow up to 10cm wide. 90cm. RHS H5, USDA 7b-8a. P. rupifragum A perennial species from southern Spain that has adapted well to northern gardens. Flowers for several weeks in early summer and often self-seeds. Several double-flowered forms available. 45cm. RHS H5, USDA 5a-9b. P. rhoeas ‘Bridal Silk’ The common field poppy has always thrown up the occasional white flower but this is a stable seed strain that reliably produces white flowers with the look of crumpled silk. 35cm. USDA 1a-11. P. nudicaule ‘Pacino’ A neat dome of grey-green foliage on small flower stems. Disliking winter wet, it grows well in gravel. Some nurseries still sell it under its previous name: P. miyabeanum ‘Pacino’. 15cm. RHS H7, USDA 6a. P. nudicaule Pulcinella Series A seed mix noted for producing plants with long-lasting, large flowers in vibrant colours, mainly bright oranges and fiery reds. Single-colour seed packets are occasionally sold. 40cm. RHS H7, USDA 2a-8b. P. nudicaule Gartenzwerg Group Sometimes known as the Garden Gnome Group, this dwarf strain produces flowers in a range of reds, pinks, yellows, oranges and white. A short-lived perennial, almost always grown as an annual for use as a cut-flower. 30cm. AGM. RHS H7, USDA 6a. Where to buy • Beth Chatto Gardens Elmstead Market, Colchester, Essex CO7 7DB. Tel 01206 822007, bethchatto.co.uk• Chiltern Seeds Crowmarsh Battle Barns, 114 Preston Crowmarsh, Wallingford, Oxfordshire OX10 6SL. Tel 01491 824675, chilternseeds.co.uk• Cotswold Garden Flowers Sands Lane, Badsey, Evesham, Worcestershire WR11 7EZ. Tel 01386 422829, cgf.net• Plant World Seeds St Marychurch Road, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ12 4SE. Tel 01803 872939, plant-world-seeds.com Words: John Hoyland Photos: Jason Ingram and Annaick Guitteny'

Competition: Silent Pool Gin at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Garden Gardens Illustrated

Here's your chance to win tickets to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May courtesy of Silent Pool Gin, which has its second show garden there this year.
' Craft distillers, Silent Pool Gin is delighted to be exhibiting its gin garden at the Chelsea Flower Show (21-25 May 2019) for the second consecutive year.To celebrate, we’re offering one lucky reader the chance to win a pair of tickets to the show for Friday 24th May, where the winner will get to enjoy the Silent Pool Gin garden and meet with garden designer, David Neale.The prize also includes a bottle of Silent Pool Gin along with two matching Copa glasses, perfectly presented together in a beautiful teal and copper gift box. Plus, the winner will receive the stunning Sophia bouquet from online flower shop Bloom & Wild, resplendent with roses, tulips and delphiniums.Using water from the spring-fed Silent Pool and the finest botanicals, this award-winning gin is hand-crafted in the beautiful, rural landscape of the Surrey Hills. Taking inspiration from the distillery’s natural surroundings, David Neale and Silent Pool Gin have designed a garden full of tranquillity, utilising plants to create a space that absorbs the pressures of everyday city life.THE PRIZE • 2  full-day entry tickets to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show for Friday 24th May 2019. • Opportunity to meet with the award-winning garden designer, David Neale. • 1 Silent Pool Gin gift box containing a 70cl bottle of Silent Pool Gin and 2 x Copa glasses. • A Sophia bouquet from Bloom & Wild.HOW TO ENTER Please complete the form below Closing date of 1/5/19.Please read all terms and conditions as stated in the link, also noting the below.Entrants must be over the age of 18Delivery address must be within the UKIn order to meet David, guests must arrive by 12pm'