Where to buy plants online
Dreaming of delphs? Lusting for lupins? Gagging for geraniums? If you don't fancy the long socially-distanced queues at your local garden centre, here's where to shop online to get your garden looking rosy.
Spring is sprung and that means the pressure is on to get your plot garden-party ready. But with many garden centre gates still in lockdown and others the only trolley you’ll be filling this year is online, with mail order plant shops to best route to looking-the-biz borders.
If you’re after something specific, check out out the Royal Horticultural Society’s free online plant finder. It will also make plant suggestions of what and where to buy for your garden’s particular conditions, so uber-useful.
Most nurseries are working their wellies off, with fewer staff, and order lists longer than a long-handled cultivator, so be patient: waiting times are up to three weeks.
Never mind if you’re rubbish at them, house plants are in and succulents which are the most in of all are practically indestructible, thriving on neglect and the occasional dust down. And they’re good for your well-being. Buy from Bloombox, choose what you like or take out a subscription from £35.
Blooms for borders
Want reliable flowers that come back year after year? Hardy’s Cottage Plants have a fabulous choice and when you click on a plant, owner Rosy Hardy’s choice of companions comes up below to help your colour-scheming. Check out Cotswold Garden Flowers for unusual good-do’ers or Beth Chatto’s online nursery in Essex if you’re after plants for shade, drought and water plants. For anyone clueless about what to plant, Claire Austin has helpfully created six failsafe collections, including one for Bees & Butteries and for a Cottage Garden vibe.
Sarah Raven is a reliable barometer of what’s cool and classy. Likewise, Hayloft‘s thing is unusual versions of familiar flowers, like a wisteria for a pot, curated collections and annuals you can’t be bothered to grow from seed as young plants, including this peachy zinnia, and easy plants for newbies.
Roses, climbers and ramblers
It’s not summer until you’ve sniffed a lungful of the nation’s favourite flower. David Austin Roses specialise in breeding shrub roses which don’t go down with the usual suspects of blackspot and mildew, and flower right through summer, as well as climbers, ramblers and standard types. For true old-fashioned roses, go to award-winning Peter Beales.
Chic and urban, grasses are brilliant for softening built-up spaces with their swishy – that’s a technical term – shapes. Award-winning Knoll Gardens sell a huge range and perennials to plant alongside. You can’t go wrong with Anemanthele lessoniana (except maybe when you try to pronounce it). This knee-high bronze grass is evergreen, and self-sows itself around the garden so you don’t have to.
One meadow you won’t need to mow is Meadow in My Garden. Like native English meadows, but less tricky to grow, these curated seed mixes create colourful pop-ups this summer if sown now. Every Kind of Soil Mix is brim-full of poppies and cornflowers and sprouts in all but waterlogged soils. Just sprinkle seed on a bare patch in sun, keep it watered and it’ll do the rest. And follow @MeadowinGarden on twitter – they do fab flash sales giveaways.
Known as the Queen of Climbers, clematis are so varied there’s one for every season and situation, including a cute winter one called ‘Jingle Bells’. There’s forty-footer Clematis montana, ideal for covering an ugly outbuilding; tiddlers for arches like C. alpina; large-flowered hybrids for high summer and even an exotic evergreen to coolify your garden, C. armanii. Buy online from Floyds Clematis and Thorncroft Clematis and don’t stint on the trellis.
Trees and shrubs
In a hurry and don’t mind splashing the cash? Tendercare near Uxbridge specialise in mature trees, with a slow-growing Japanese maple setting you back a cool £1,134 or a 5m evergreen magnolia closer to £2.5k.
Suppliers to Chelsea Flower show designers, Crocus are a good place to start for most plants and sell 60 tree species for under £100. Or try Binny Plants for more unusual species grown in peat-free compost.
With Med holidays in the rear-view mirror, dang it, we’re just going to have to pretend. One way to bring on the oasis is to plant up big whopper palms, big bamboo and wow plants in pots on your patio – known as architectural plants in the trade – from The Palm Centre. Just add tequila.