Plant of the Month Calendar

January – Hellebores


The plant of the month for January was the hellebore

Helleborus brings joy to the New Year as Trowell Plant of the Month for January 2016. Sometimes known as the Christmas or Lenten rose, it is the jewel of the Winter garden flowering reliably from late Winter to early Spring.

Its elegant flowers and attractive leathery leaves will brighten the garden during this cool month, bringing a lift of colour from pale green to white, cream to pink, and purple, to almost black.Helleborus compromises of approximately 20 species of herbaceous, evergreen, perennial flowering plants. They are often used for decorative purposes and their resistance to frost makes them a popular choice of plant for this time of year. Favourite garden varieties include, Helleborus foetidus, Helleborus niger, Helleborus Ashwood and Helleborus hybridus.

Best planted in herbaceous borders and in areas between deciduous shrubs and under trees, Helleborus sit beautifully with snowdrops, Primula, and Pulmonaria. Shrubs like, Shrubby Cornus often grown for its coloured stems which are brightest in winter, and Mahonia, a popular winter-flowering shrub grown for its bright yellow flowers, are also particularly complementary.

“Flowering Hellebores make you wonder at the beauty and resilience of nature as they open beautiful flowers in the depth of winter.  The diversity of the colour and blooms together with integrated shaped emerald green foliage across many varieties make this a perfect first choice as the calendar year starts”

February – Camellias


The plant of the month for February was the camellia

Few hardy shrubs signal the end of winter better than camellias, highly valued for their stunning floral displays and fresh, glossy, evergreen foliage. With dozens of varieties available you’ll be spoilt for choice, so pick from camellias in shades of pink, red, white and cream.

Their ultimate size, habit and rate of growth vary immensely too, so consider how much space the camellia will need as it grows. Whether you’d like something that stays small and compact or will grow into a bold shrub or even a flowering hedge or screen, the choice is yours.

Camellia flowers vary in size and shape too, and their forms can be divided into six descriptive groups depending on the number of petals and their pattern or arrangement within the flower. These forms are described as Single, Semi-double, Anemone-form, Peony-form, Rose-form double or Formal double, so take your pick from the ones that most appeal.

Like azaleas and rhododendrons, camellias are ericaceous plants, and this means they need to grow in an acid or lime-free soil to ensure they stay healthy. A simple soil test kit available from our garden centre can be used to check your soil’s acidity/alkalinity (often called its pH), and composts and fertilisers can be added to help make soil more acid. Alternatively, compact varieties of camellia grow well in large pots or half-barrels filled with ericaceous compost, available in garden centres.

Grown in the right soil and position camellias usually flower reliably with little care and attention, growing larger over time to develop into impressive flowering shrubs. Most camellias rarely need pruning, but if they outgrow their position individual shoots can be shortened, and plants can even regrow well if cut back hard into old wood.

Where space is available to develop a seasonal bed including a camellia or two and other evergreens and early flowering plants to provide welcome colour through late winter and into early spring.

March – Primulas


The plant of the month for March was the primula

Plant a rainbow of colour to welcome in spring by packing patio pots and filling flower beds with primulas and polyanthus. These cheerful bedding plants offer great value, flowering their hearts out for weeks on end to brighten your outlook on even the dullest of days.

New varieties are continually being bred offering outstanding garden performance, larger flowers and better resistance to the vagaries of our weather. Although single-coloured flowers are always popular also look out for bicolours, double and rosebud types, plus wonderfully scented new varieties too.

Bold blocks of primulas always look striking, but impressive displays can also be created by combining them with other spring bedding, flowering bulbs and foliage plants too. Small pot grown plants are available now in full flower, making them perfect for creating instant displays in any garden, patio or courtyard.

Primulas are one of the most popular wildflowers too. Make your own grassy meadow or plant banks, verges and other natural areas with dainty Primroses (Primula vulgaris) and Cowslips (Primula veris). Keep watered if conditions are dry and these hardy perennials will quickly establish, flowering and setting seed to slowly spread and cover the area with their progeny.

Primula enthusiasts often move on from growing bedding varieties to picking choice varieties of Auricula to grow and display in small terracotta pots on patios or shelved Auricula Theatres. A Victorian favourite, hundreds of exquisite varieties of these evergreen perennials have been bred over the years. Many have deeply coloured and patterned petals surrounding a white or golden eye, with rosettes of leathery leaves often intriguingly coated with a powdery bloom.


For damp, shady sites and boggy or poolside gardens, there are several Asiatic primulas that flower from late spring through into summer. Look out for:

  • Japanese Candelabra Primula (Primula japonica)
  • Chinese Candelabra Primula (Primula beesiana)
  • orange Bulley’s Candelabra Primula (Primula bulleyana)
  • or hybrids between them.

Plant in spring so plants develop strongly to establish and bloom well this summer.


  1. Deadhead regularly to remove faded flowers and keep displays looking their best.
  2. The compost in patio pots can get waterlogged during wet weather, so always put a layer of coarse gravel or similar drainage material in the base of pots before filling with compost.
  3. Raise pots off the ground by standing them on ‘feet’ to avoid drainage holes in the base of pots getting blocked.
  4. Temporarily move pots to a sheltered position if snow or bad weather is forecast.
  5. Cheeky sparrows and other birds sometimes peck at primroses, damaging their blooms. It’s hard to stop these antics, especially with plants growing in borders, but try moving pots closer to the house to scare them away. Some people have noted that blue varieties often avoid their attentions.
  6. Fancy growing primulas from seed? Check the flower seed range in your local garden centre to see what’s available.

April – Pansies


The plant of the month for April was the pansy

These are hardy annuals whose flowers have “faces.” These plants offer colourful flowers for any season in your garden. They have one of the widest ranges of colours and are good for containers, borders, and ground covers.

Pansies are one of the most popular and recognizable cool weather annuals. Breeding has produced pansies that are better able to stand up to the cold. Many pansies are bi-coloured, making them striking plants for their small size. Although delicate, they are surprisingly hardy. And like their cousins the violas and violets, the flowers are edible.

May – Herbs


The plant of the month for May was herbs

Create your own culinary herb garden that looks almost too good to eat!

Try planting a selection of tasty herbs valued as much for their ornamental appeal as their flavour. From sage to thyme, rosemary to clipped bay and flowering chives, combine herbs valued for their ornamental beauty to produce long-lasting displays as well as regular pickings for the kitchen.

There are no hard and fast rules about creating herb gardens, but successful designs often define the space using brick pavers, dividing-up the area with small paths to provide easy access for picking. Go for an informal mix or choose a formal pattern or cartwheel design. As a centrepiece plant a large, shrubby herb such as rosemary or sage, a formally clipped bay tree, or a potted herb arrangement.

In small spaces herbs can be grown in pots, either planting them individually and grouping pots together into displays or creating bold combinations in larger containers. As many herbs have Mediterranean origins they relish a site in full sun where they can bake during summer. Soil must be free-draining too, as wet and waterlogged ground will lead to root damage, and for pots choose a free-draining loam-based compost.

Low-growing thyme is a herb garden favourite, perfect for making a herb carpet, softening the edges of gravel paths, or filling gaps between paving. With flavoursome foliage in greens, silvers and golds, plus colourful flowers too, they’ll look good and provide pickings all year.

Whether adding to salads, cooking with new potatoes, or making herb teas, mint is a versatile herb with many uses. Their colours and flavours vary immensely from powerful peppermint and spearmint to those with an underlying taste of apple, citrus, banana, red berries, and many more. And for chocoholics everywhere there’s even Chocolate Peppermint with a hint of dark chocolate. Irresistible!

Just remember that mint is one herb that’s always best kept contained to prevent it invading your borders, so grow it in a pot or large bottomless bucket.

Rosemary is a hardy shrub with aromatic leaves and long flowering season. ‘Miss Jessopp’s Upright’ is a popular variety with statuesque habit, but for large patio pots also consider a variety from the Prostratus Group with a weeping habit that will gracefully arch over the sides of the container.

Try flavouring casseroles, soups and sauces with homemade bouquet garni made from sprigs of thyme and parsley wrapped in a bay leaf. Alternatively other herbs can be added to suit your culinary creations, such as rosemary, basil, chervil or tarragon. Herbs have so many uses from using fresh in cooking, making pesto, infusing into herb oils and vinegars, or making herb teas.

A wonderful assortment of herb plants are available at garden centres now, so buy your favourites to create your own culinary herb gardens. Many herbs can be raised from seed too, so buy packets of coriander, basil, parsley, chives and many others.

Four Hardy Herbs for Pots or Borders

  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
  • Mint varieties
  • Chives – both regular onion flavoured and Garlic Chives
  • Thyme (Thymus varieties). 
Includes AGM winners like golden thyme (Thymus ‘Aureus’), ‘Silver Queen’, ‘Pink Chintz’, lemon scented ‘Bertram Anderson’

Herb Topiaries

Several shrubby herbs can be clipped and trained into formal topiary features. These living sculptures not only look striking but their clippings can be used in cooking or dried and stored. 
The best herb topiaries are created using upright growing varieties of rosemary, sweet bay, sage, lemon verbena, Greek myrtle, or even tender perennials like scented leaf pelargoniums. 
Popular shapes for training bay include balls, cones, pyramids, spirals and standards (with a clipped head on a short woody leg). Skilled commercial growers even create bay trees with striking twisted corkscrew stems.

Top Tips for Successful Herb Gardens

  1. Although many herbs are of Mediterranean origin and relish hot dry conditions, to get the best from herbs in pots most require regular watering to prevent their compost drying out completely. Try standing pots in saucers of water so pots can take up moisture as required.
  2. Add fertiliser to one watering a week to keep plants growing strongly, or mix slow-release fertiliser granules into compost at planting time.
  3. Regular picking some herbs, like basil, encourages side shoots to form, keeping plants bushy and productive.
  4. Pick and dry the leaves of herbs like thyme, sage, bay and many others to store and use when cooking.
  5. The flowers of many herbs can be used to brighten summer salads. Use flowers from chives, basil, coriander and thyme, and flowers or petals from daylilies, pot marigolds, nasturtium, lavender and others. NB Always check flowers are edible before eating.
  6. Coriander has a habit of bolting or running to seed, but enjoy their flowers as they’ll encourage beneficial insects, like hoverflies, into your garden. Let plants set seed, then collect and dry coriander seeds to grind and use when cooking spicy Indian dishes.

Herb Garden Companions

Dozens of interesting culinary, medicinal and ornamental varieties of herbs are available to plant together and create vibrant herb gardens. Many are hardy shrubs or perennial varieties that will grow back again year after year, while others (like coriander and basil) are annual herbs that will not survive winter outside, so new plants will be needed each year.


Angelica Basil Bergamot (Monarda) Borage
Chamomile Chervil Chives Coriander
Curry Plant Dill Fennel Garlic chives
Greek Myrtle Hyssop Lavender Lemon Balm
Lemon Verbena Lovage Marjoram (Oregano) Parsley – curled and flat-leaf types
Sage (Salvia officinalis) Savory Sweet Bay (Laurus nobilis) Tarragon

June – Clematis


The plant of the month for June was the clematis

Clematis are versatile and colourful climbers that no garden should be without. Whether left to clamber up a trellis panel to cover walls and fences or trained over a pergola, clematis are a wonderfully diverse family with varieties to choose for flowers in every season of the year.

Top tips on growing clematis:

1. Clematis like their heads in the sun and their feet in the shade.

2. Plant so that the soil around the roots is shaded to keep it cool, training shoots up into brighter, lighter space above.

3. Always plant summer-flowering clematis deeper than they were growing in their pots. Dig a deep hole so that the top of the rootball sits about 7-10cm below the soil surface, and bury the base of the stems with soil. This can help plants regrow if they ever suffer from clematis wilt disease.

4. Spread a deep mulch of compost or bark over the soil after planting to lock in moisture and protect from the sun to keep roots cool.

July – Butterfly Favourites

Butterfly Favourites

Plan your planting carefully to choose a range of plants that flower right through the year, as these will both attract and support the widest range of butterflies in your garden. Some of the best flowering perennials provide long-lasting displays, with a succession of flowers opening over several months. These include varieties of Rudbeckia and Cone Flower (Echinacea), both valued for their outstanding garden performance.Lavenders provide welcome nectar for butterflies through the summer months, while planting a range of Ice Plants (Sedum) ensures more flowers develop into autumn to feed Small Tortoiseshell and other late-flying butterflies as they prepare for hibernation.

Top Four Plants to Bring Butterflies

1. Butterfly Bush, Buddleja davidii varieties and others,including like Nanho Blue, Royal Red, White Profusion and Harlequin.
2. Ice Plant and Sedum ,including Sedum spectabile and Sedum telephinium.
3. ‘Brilliant’, Atropurpureum Group, Purple Emperor, Thundercloud.
4. Cone Flower (Echinacea) – lots of varieties to choose from Rudbeckia varieties, including ‘Goldsturm’ and ‘Pot of Gold’.There are dozens of others to choose from that can provide nectar in different seasons for butterflies to enjoy. Such as Aubretia,Bugle (Ajuga), Ceanothus, Coreopsis, Cosmos, Cranesbill (HardyGeraniums) Dahlia, Globe Thistle (Echinops), Heather, Hebe, Helenium, Lavender, Michaelmas Daisy (Aster varieties), Marjoram (Oregano), Phlox,Scabious, Statice and Verbena bonariensis.

August – Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental Grasses

From dainty Blue Fescue Grass to majestic Miscanthus, ornamental grasses provide texture, character and form unmatched by many other hardy perennials. Their presence develops through the seasons as bright and colourful foliage is joined by graceful swaying flower heads that last well into winter.In large borders grasses can be planted in bold groups or striking drifts, but many varieties perform well in large patio pots, positioned where their individual shape and arching form can be fully appreciated. Popular grasses for pots include compact Blue Fescue Grass and Slender Sweet Flag ‘Ogon’, or taller varieties of Miscanthus such as the Zebra Grass (Miscanthus ‘Zebrinus’).

From green to gold, purple to a host of patterned and variegated forms, ornamental grasses come in a wide range of colours, sizes and growing habits. As well as selecting grasses to suit your colour scheme always consider their other qualities, positioning grasses close to paths and seating areas so you can run your hands over their feathery foliage and flowers as you pass. Popular grasses for tactile displays in sensory gardens include the Feathertop Grass (Pennisetum) or annual grasses like Bunny Tails.

Taller grasses also add movement to otherwise static displays, catching a summer breeze to add interest and catch the eye. Growing to around two metres in height, the bold form of Golden Oats (Stipa gigantea) is a real showstopper! Or if space allows, try planting a statuesque clump of Pampas Grass, and enjoy their feathery plumes right into winter.

Top Four Ornamental Grasses

Many great grasses are available that have received an Award of Garden Merit (AGM) from the Royal Horticultural Society. Here are some of the most popular:

Festuca – such as Blue Fescue Grass (Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’)
Pennisetum – such as Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Summer Samba’)
Miscanthus – such as Zebra Grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Zebrinus’)
Stipa – such as Giant Golden Oats (Stipa gigantea)

September – Cyclamen

The plant of the month for September was Cyclamen

Patio Cyclamen;as seen in this picture gives you this bigger stunning,colourful flower,that will certainly cheer up your borders,tubs and baskets, as with most bedding plants this type of cyclamen are not Hardy and will not come back next year,but will just give you this wow impact through out Autumn.

Hardy Cycalem; grow a smaller flower,which depicts them from above but equally pretty,and these will cope with much colder temperatures and come back the following year,as they are perennials.

Indoor Cyclamen; naturally not suitable for outside but enjoy being indoors, particularity in the cooler areas of your home.


October – Pyracantha

The plant of the month for October was Pyracantha

Berry-bearing trees and shrubs come into their own in autumn, creating colourful displays that can last well into winter. From elder berries to rose hips, crab apples to firethorns, the addition of berrying plants adds to a new dimension to any garden, with plants carry fruits and berries through autumn and into winter.

Berrying plants also provide home grown food for hungry birds and wildlife too, enhancing their appeal and value to any garden.

Evergreen shrubs provide structure and form to the garden throughout the year, but many produce early displays of flowers followed by autumn berries. Once of the best compact shrubs for borders or patio pots is a Skimmia with a mouthful of a name, Skimmia japonica subsp. reevesiana. Don’t let this put you off as its displays of bright red berries are second to none!

Also check out the compact and spreading Viburnum davidii, a hardy shrub with distinctly veined evergreen foliage that produces the most unusual metallic-looking blue-black berries. It really is quite a talking point.

To create seasonal pots for autumn colour include a small Gaultheria mucronata carrying brilliant berries in pink, red or pure white. Combined with pansies and violas, trailing ivy, heather, carex or skimmia your pots will put on a display that lasts for months.

Trained against walls and fences, firethorn is a valuable evergreen shrub. Its thorny stems make it a great choice for producing secure garden boundaries, but don’t let the spines put you off buying Pyracantha. They provide valuable nesting sites for birds, flowers that attract bees, and red, orange or yellow berries to feed birds into winter.

Explore the cotoneaster family too, attractive ornamental shrubs with year-round appeal. The arching stems with herringbone-patterned stalks of Cotoneaster horizontalis make it an excellent choice to carpet banks and low borders or train up to cover bare fences. Birds love these berries, quickly stripping stems bare as they stock-up for winter.

If space allows, many ornamental trees produce bright berries and fruits as well as good displays of autumn foliage colour. Two of the best families are Rowan (Sorbus) and Crab Apple (Malus), and both make ideal trees for small gardens.

With such a rich and diverse range of plants to choose from it really is possible to fill your borders with berried treasure this autumn!

November & December – Christmas Trees

Plant of the month for Nov & Dec was Xmas Trees

Beautiful fresh Potted Christmas Trees in now and Fresh cut arriving Sat. 26th November!

CUT OR POTTED Nordmann Fir… is the most popular Real Christmas Tree in the UK.With its lovely deep green foliage topside and underside a striking blue, its beautiful symmetry, blunt non-drop needles and traditional Christmas tree cone shape.

CUT OR POTTED Norway Spruce…is a great example of the traditional Victorian Christmas Tree. Norway Spruce have an immediately recognisable Christmas scent and dense foliage. Please note that these trees are not soft to touch and will drop their needles,albeit good care can help lessen this.

Potted Christmas Trees,ever considered this for a change as a Tree in your Home at Christmas and a Tree in your Garden for the rest of the year?

We stock the potted varieties of Nordmann & Norway Spruce & Picea Blue Spruce,up to 6ft,which you can bring inside, to enjoy it with baubles and lights on ,remembering to water it well,(needless to say,a potted tree or a fresh cut tree sat next to a very hot fire or hot radiator wouldn’t be ideal for its well being)Naturally,when it is due to be returned outside its best not to ‘shock’ it from the warmth of your home to cold outside temperatures,but take a middle step into a cooler space or if not possible ,use frost fleece to wrap around it, until it is adapted to its ‘outside ‘ temperatures for a couple of weeks. The potted tree will continue to grow, but slowly, and can be used again and again. To get the BEST OUT OF YOUR FRESH TREE….once you have chosen the ‘one’, we will net it for you,and help you into your vehicle with it or if you live locally we can arrange delivery,albeit there is a charge.