Time to Plant Flowers21 May 2020 Sandra Ross
Stock, pansy, viola, poppy, primula and polyanthus
All can be planted now for a stunning winter display.
Nothing smells like gillyflower (stock); its wonderfully spicy, distinctive scent makes it a joy to grow. Plant stock now in temperate and cool climate gardens. This annual thrives in winter’s cool temperatures and stops blooming once hot weather arrives. It's especially good in window boxes and planters at nose level, where its subtle effect can best be appreciated. Stock comes in a wide range of gentle muddied shades; clotted cream, musky mauve and dusky pink. It makes a great cut flower; vases, bouquets as well as the garden border. It grows best in full sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil.
Iceland poppies are good for cut flowers. We grow them in the vegetable/cutting garden. Give them plenty of sunshine and prepare the soil well before planting with home-made compost or a good soil conditioner from your garden centre. You can plant them as seedlings and you can sow them as seeds.
Iceland poppy bred by Bob Cherry.
Polyanthus and Primula
Plant a cheery winter welcome with colourful pots of primulas and polyanthus near your front door.
Primula, or fairy primrose, has delicate-looking, candelabra-like bunches of small blooms balancing on fragile stems. The dainty flowers, in shades of pink, white, mauve and carmine, have a faint perfume. Plant out as established seedlings in light shade and damp soil. Their relative is the Polyanthus, that come as ready-made posies in pink, red, blue, yellow, cream and white, with contrasting bright yellow eyes. You will find them in your local nursery in a few weeks.