Monthly Archives: May 2014

Revive your orchid

Orchids make beautiful houseplants and are now more widely available than ever, but how do you keep yours flowering year after year. The first tip is to check the label to see which type of orchid you have and provide the conditions that particular plant enjoys, as some, such as Cymbidium, like cool conditions, while others, including Phalaenopsis and Cambria, and are happiest in warm rooms. Most orchids prefer a bright position away from direct sunlight, and they thrive in a humid atmosphere, so set them in a pot on some pebbles in a tray of water and mist your plants regularly.

Orchid Care for Orchid Dendrobium. Spraying plant with brass mister - © GAP Photos

Orchid Care for Orchid Dendrobium. Spraying plant with brass mister – © GAP Photos

Misting
The atmosphere in most centrally heated homes is too dry for orchids, so mist the leaves and aerial roots every day or two using a brass or plastic mister filled with tepid water.

Orchid Care for Phalaenopsis - Moth Orchid. Soaking Orchid in fresh water - © GAP Photos

Orchid Care for Phalaenopsis – Moth Orchid. Soaking Orchid in fresh water – © GAP Photos

Watering
Water your orchids about once a week with tepid water. Water from above and tip away any excess that collects at the bottom of the pot to prevent the roots from rotting. Alternatively, plunge the container into a bowl of water for a few minutes, remove, and leave to drain.

Orchid Care for Orchid Cambria. Adding special Orchid formula to water - © GAP Photos

Orchid Care for Orchid Cambria. Adding special Orchid formula to water – © GAP Photos

Feeding
Feed your plants every three weeks from spring to autumn with a proprietary orchid fertiliser. Dissolve dry orchid food in water according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and water this solution onto the compost. Leave to drain, then tip away any excess solution from the bottom of the pot.

Orchid Care for Phalaenopsis - Moth Orchid. Carefully removing dead roots - © GAP Photos

Orchid Care for Phalaenopsis – Moth Orchid. Carefully removing dead roots – © GAP Photos

Repotting
Repot your orchid only when the roots have completely filled the pot and the old compost is beginning to break down. Carefully remove the compost from around the rootball, and cut out any old or rotten roots.

Orchid Care for Phalaenopsis - Moth Orchid. Adding Orchid potting mix - © GAP Photos

Orchid Care for Phalaenopsis – Moth Orchid. Adding Orchid potting mix – © GAP Photos

Trimming the roots
Place the plant in its new pot and fresh orchid compost, choosing a container that is one or two sizes larger than the original pot. Also try not to bury the aerial roots, as this may cause them to rot.

Pink & purple

There are many ways you can colour theme your garden. Use furniture, paint a feature wall or adding soft furnishings gives an instant lift in your favourite tones. You can buy colourful containers or paint your own. One simple and effective way to get the colours you love in to your outdoor spaces is to plant them. You can co-ordinate your flowerbeds with your furniture . Use annuals so you can regularly update and change the combinations or perhaps lower maintenance perennials suit you better. Research plants that live well together and give you long lasting colour.

Pink and purple is certainly eye catching together and as they have similar colour tone they offer a plethora of combinations.

Border of Agastache 'Black Adder', Artemisia ludoviciana 'Silver Queen', Astrantia major 'Star of Beauty', Deschampsia cespitosa 'Goldschleier', Eupatorium maculatum 'Atropurpureum', Geranium 'Rozanne', Lythrum salicaria 'Blush', Lythrum virgatum 'Dropmore Purple' and Sanguisorba menziesii - © Pernilla Bergdahl/GAP Photos

Border of Agastache ‘Black Adder’, Artemisia ludoviciana ‘Silver Queen’, Astrantia major ‘Star of Beauty’, Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Goldschleier’, Eupatorium maculatum ‘Atropurpureum’, Geranium ‘Rozanne’, Lythrum salicaria ‘Blush’, Lythrum virgatum ‘Dropmore Purple’ and Sanguisorba menziesii – © Pernilla Bergdahl/GAP Photos

Create an enclosed seating area filled with flowering pink and purple plants. Choose a range of textures, heights to keep the interest. Add pink and purple furniture to finish off the look.

Astrantia 'Roma' and Salvia 'Tanzerin' - © Clive Nichols/GAP Photos

Astrantia ‘Roma’ and Salvia ‘Tanzerin’ – © Clive Nichols/GAP Photos

As well as creating a stunning colour combination in your borders remember to think about attracting bees and butterflies to your garden. Choose long flowering scented plants known to be beneficial to our bee friends. Herbs like salvia and lavender fit the bill perfectly.

Echinacea purpurea 'Rubinglow' and Perovskia 'Little Spire' - © Julie Dansereau/GAP Photos

Echinacea purpurea ‘Rubinglow’ and Perovskia ‘Little Spire’ – © Julie Dansereau/GAP Photos

Large and small – a really eyecatching way to combine your colour themed plants is to select completely different sized flowers. Here the Perovskia ‘Little Spire’ provides a stunning and soft backdrop to the bold flowerhead of the bright pink Echinacea purpurea ‘Rubinglow’

Aster with Dahlia - © Friedrich Strauss/GAP Photos

Aster with Dahlia – © Friedrich Strauss/GAP Photos

Subtle tones – Choosing pinks and purples that are very close in colour creates a lovely soft effect as they colours blend so well together.

Click here to view more images of pinks and purples.

Whiter than white

A sea of white flowers is a beautiful sight, peaceful somehow. Keeping one colour – even though you will always have the green foliage to compliment it – is easy on the eye and white gives a particularly romantic touch to a garden, especially when in abundance. You can add some plants with silvery grey foliage or perhaps some ice blue tones without taking away from your theme. In larger gardens you will often find garden rooms entirely in white but you can achieve the same effect with a group of pots on a terrace or using just one flowerbed.

Viburnum opulus 'Roseum' next to wall in spring - © Abigail Rex/GAP Photos

Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’ next to wall in spring – © Abigail Rex/GAP Photos

Using white flowering shrubs or climbers around the boundaries you can create a wall of white to surround a lawn, terrace or decorate a walled garden. Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’ is a lovely choice, with big blousy flowers.

Betula utilis var. 'jacquemontii', Astrantia major 'White Giant', Tiarella cordifolia, Geranium phaeum 'Album', Dicentra spectabilis and Saxifraga umbrosa. The Cancer Research UK Garden, Gold Medal Winner RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2010 - © Elke Borkowski/GAP Photos

Betula utilis var. ‘jacquemontii’, Astrantia major ‘White Giant’, Tiarella cordifolia, Geranium phaeum ‘Album’, Dicentra spectabilis and Saxifraga umbrosa. The Cancer Research UK Garden, Gold Medal Winner RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2010 – © Elke Borkowski/GAP Photos

If you already have a silver birch in your garden, consider underplanting it with white. This has a lovely ethereal woodland feel to it and perhaps choose shade loving plants right through from spring to autumn.

White garden with Acer pseudoplatanus 'Brilliantissimum', Hesperis matronalis alba, Allium multibulbosum syn. Allium nigrum, Lupinus, Philadelphus coronarius 'Variegatus', Olearia, Iberis - White Candytuft. Mathern House, Mathern, Monmouthshire, Wales. Early June. Garden opens for National Gardens Scheme - © Charles Hawes/GAP Photos

White garden with Acer pseudoplatanus ‘Brilliantissimum’, Hesperis matronalis alba, Allium multibulbosum syn. Allium nigrum, Lupinus, Philadelphus coronarius ‘Variegatus’, Olearia, Iberis – White Candytuft. Mathern House, Mathern, Monmouthshire, Wales. Early June. Garden opens for National Gardens Scheme – © Charles Hawes/GAP Photos

Consider painting a piece of furniture white too. It will continue the theme, give it an even more fresh, modern or romantic feel and give you somewhere to sit and enjoy all your hard work.

Buxus - Box parterre - © Elke Borkowski/GAP Photos

Buxus – Box parterre – © Elke Borkowski/GAP Photos

White planting is a stalwart of the box parterre and for good reason. Fresh and stylish combinations look fantastic against the deep green of buxus or other evergreens and give a cloudy romance to the formal shapes.

Click here to view more pictures of white borders.