Photoperiodism

We deciding what seeds we can sow and when, we must first consider the plants photoperiod requirements as well as other factors such as hardiness.

Heat Mats and Propagators

Heat Mats are my favourite piece of gardening equipment, they take your growing to a new level and cut down seed germination time, perfect for the impatient gardener.

Grow-A-Long Shop

Opens Saturday 14th January at 10am
Seeds dispatched immediately ready for the Grow-A-Long.
Packets contain my exact professional grade flower seeds and sell out quickly.

Dahlia Gall

What’s the difference between Crown Gall and Leafy Gall?

Videos with Subtitles (Captions)

On Instagram captions annoy more viewers than it pleases but fear not you can turn on captions when you view videos via our ‘Website’ here’s how

Wood Ash

You can add Wood Ash from your winter fires to your garden.

Neil’s Interchangeable Containers

Pot change over can be such an ordeal so Neil came up with this solution.
We have 2 sets of pots which means we can get the next display going undercover as required and then perform a quick pot flip twice a year in Late Spring and Late Autumn.

Bulbs can then be allowed to do their dying back out of sight.

Black pots are 30 x 30 x 30cm 18L capacity.
Wooden boxes were then made to fit the pots.

Overwintering Scented Pelargoniums

As we head into Winter I will move my scented pelargoniums into an unheated greenhouse or polytunnel to overwinter.

It’s fairly mild overwinter here in Buckinghamshire and I find they don’t mind the odd cold spell too much as long as they are not wet.

Grit, Perlite and Vermiculite

Have you ever wondered what the difference is (for your plants) between Horticultural Grit, Perlite and Vermiculite?

Over Wintering Dahlias in the ground

Short on storage space? Here is how we over winter our Dahlias in the ground.

It’s important to lift your dahlias if your ground floods or is excessively wet.

It is the water that freezes.

Water expands during the freezing process and this will cause the tubers to split.

Damaged tubers will rot, so it’s vital they are kept as dry as possible.

Grow-A-Long Orlaya Grandiflora

A beautiful, delicate filler, flowering in June and July.

If we experience a warm autumn, pre-chill in the fridge for 1-2 weeks before sowing.

Grow-A-Long Part 1 How to grow Ranunculus

Called the ‘Rose of Spring’, Ranunculus will provide gorgeous blooms throughout the start of the season, giving you an abundance of flowers long before the Roses wake up.

Introduction to Anemones & Ranunculus as Cut Flowers

Selling wedding flowers, at first to floral designers, then direct to clients for weddings and events, opened my eyes to a whole group of flowers that you might never have heard of: Ranunculaceae. The Ranunculaceae family (or ranunculus) is a genus of about 600 species. A ‘genus’ is a class of plants with similar traits,…

Grow-A-Long Larkspur (Delphinium consolida)

Larkspur needs both cold stratification to break seed dormancy and trigger germination and vernalisation (a period of cool growing temperatures) to trigger flower development.

Larkspur won’t germinate if the soil temperature is higher than 13°c so it’s vital that seed is sown outside in an unheated greenhouse and definitely not placed on a heat mat.

Grow-A-Long Wild Carrot (Daucus carota dara)

Once germinated Wild Carrot needs a period of cool growing conditions for good seedling establishment.
Excessively wet foliage from watering overhead or a very wet Spring can cause carrot leaf blight. This will cause the foliage to collapse and the plant will die.
For this reason I overwinter plants in a cold greenhouse to protect them from the worst of the winter wet.

Grow-A-Long Greater Quaking Grass (Briza maxima)

Grow-A-Long Greater Quaking Grass (Briza maxima)

I found this grass did well from an Autumn sowing, the seeds germinate easily, growing strongly over winter, producing bigger plants earlier than seeds Spring started.
Officially this grass has a hardiness rating of H6 (-15°c), however, I have found this plant can suffer cold shock (foliage bleaching) if plants are exposed to extreme temperature swings following planting out.
For this reason, I have reduced the official hardiness rating for the purposes of the Grow-A-Long, to H4 (-5°c).
The hardness of plants is reduced by keeping them too warm in the greenhouse.

Give plants a good long hardening off period in late winter and be ready with horticultural fleece, a cloche or cold frame after planting if the weather is extremely cold.
You can of course plant in pots and initially locate them in a sheltered spot.

Grow-A-Long Agrostemma githagos

Easy to grow from both an Autumn sowing and/or a late winter sowing.

Autumn sown plants will flower from late May and will be slightly taller at 120-140cm.

Late Winter sown plants will flower around a month later and a tiny bit shorter 110-130cm.

Grow-A-Long Euphorbia oblongata

Euphorbia oblongata is a short lived perennial so if you miss your sowing window you can try again in the Spring.
Germination can be slow and erratic. Never throw away the compost where seeds have not germinated. You can get a sudden surprise months and months later.

Grow-A-Long Nigella

Nigella is not quite as hardy as some of the other Autumn Jump Starter seeds but over winters beautifully in a cold greenhouse.

Growing Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus)

Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus), are technically a short lived perennial best grown as an annual.

I find that Snapdragons bloom best in their first year, especially from a Autumn sowing (Autumn Jump Start).

Taking Scented Pelargonium Cuttings

As well as potential winter loses, plants also have a tendency to become woody and flower poorly as they age.

Taking cuttings is your insurance policy against losing plants.

Harvesting Stocks

Harvest stocks straight into deep water and allow them to condition preferably overnight.

Insects including the dreaded Pollen Beetle dislike being indoors, leave a door or window open so they can escape.

Harvesting Nigella

Harvesting Nigella

Nigella can be harvested fresh or pods can be dried for everlasting flowers.

Harvesting Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) 

Snapdragons are geotropic which means they are influenced by gravity.

If conditioned at an angle, even in complete darkness the tips of the flowers will bend skywards and fix in that position.

Arrange-A-Long

Arrange-A-Long

Part One – Cutting and Conditioning
Part Two – Making an Arrangement

Harvesting Orlaya grandiflora

The first Orlaya grandiflora flowers are just beginning to emerge.

This early in the season you want to cherry pick those stems that are fully open but without any sign of pollen drop.

Stems will feel firm to the touch while underdeveloped buds will feel soft and bendy under your fingers, avoid these stems for now because they will likely wilt after picking.

Chelsea Chop

Very late flowering plants such as Sedum can be cut back in May (around the time of the ‘Chelsea Flower Show’) to produce shorter bushier plants that will then not require staking.

Sedum cuttings can be easily rooted in water.

Patio Container Boxes

The bulbs are over so we are swapping out the pots in Neil’s homemade patio containers with Dahlias that are best suited to pots.

Harvesting Sweet Rocket

Cutting and conditioning Sweet Rocket (Hesperis matronalis aka Dame’s Rocket, Dame’s Violet).

Grow-A-Long China Aster

China Asters (Callistephus chinensis)

Video 1 How to Grow

Video 2 Harvesting China Asters

Grow-A-Long Zinnia’s

Videos Updated

Zinnias are tender plants native to Mexico and as a result resent cold wet conditions.

Avoid frost at all costs. This video will explain how to achieve the best results.

Grow-A-Long Orach

Orach (Atriplex hortensis) perfect for dramatic garden decoration especially towards the end of Summer and Autumn. The tender leaves can be eaten just like spinach or leave plants to develop seed pods to use as cut flowers.

Grow-A-Long Wrinkled Cress

Wrinkled Cress is the perfect quick foliage filler for your bouquets and arrangements. In this video I give you a whistle stop tour from sowing and growing through to harvesting.

Grow-A-Long Strawflower

How to sow and grow Helichrysum.

Flowers will bloom until the frosts taking the place of earlier flowering hardy annual plants.

Flowers can be used both fresh or dried for everlasting flowers.

Grow-A-Long Cosmos

How to sow and grow one of the worlds favourite garden plants, Cosmos bipinnatus for armfuls of blooms and dramatic garden display this Summer.

Dahlia Grow-A-Long

Dahlia Videos will be added here throughout the season…

We are starting at the beginning again!

Grow-A-Long Statice

Fast growing and easy for the beginner.

Wonderful used fresh in bouquets and arrangements, filling in all those awkward gaps, Statice can be dried for everlasting flowers.

Tomato Grow-A-Long

Tomatoes need to be kept above 5C so you may need to sow and grow them indoors initially. To help prevent leggy seedlings (leggy Linda’s) you can create a simple foil reflector.

Sweet Pea House

How we support our Sweet Pea’s and protect the blooms from rain and adverse weather conditions.

Grow-A-Long Apple Mint

One of the first foliage fillers to be ready in my garden and the last still standing in November! This perennial, once established, will give you bucket loads of stems and needs very little care and attention. Fresh green foliage early in the season and stems with delicate flowers later in summer.

Grow-A-Long Carnations

Carnations ‘Dianthus caryophyllus’, technically a tender perennial. Carnations are best grown as an annual. They dislike damp conditions so are unsuitable for Autumn Jump Starting. Sown in late winter gives them not only the time and but also lower temperatures at the young plant stage to achieve strong bushy growth.

Grow-A-Long Rudbeckia

Late Winter is the perfect time to sow Rudbeckia hirta for blooms from later in Summer until the frosts.

Pinching Snaps + Late Winter Sowing

Pinching Snapdragons Late Winter is the perfect time to sow a 2nd round of Snapdragons, they will bloom slightly later than the Autumn Jump Starter Snapdragons which should now be ready for pinching to create more bouquet sized stems. Full how to and why in this video.

Grow-A-Long Eucalyptus

How to sow and grow your own Eucalyptus (Late Winter)

Potting on and coppicing (Late Spring)

Eucalyptus update (Late Summer)

Grow-A-Long Malope & Stock

Malope trifida and Stock (matthiola incana) part 1 sowing seeds for successful germination. You can follow along in real time by following me on Instagram
@zoewoodwardgardening

Grow-A-Long Scabious

The annual scabious (scabiosa atropurpurea) is a supreme cut flower! I like to sow late winter for best results

Late Winter Sowing – Anemone & Ranunculus

Late Winter 2nd Sowing of Anemone and Ranunculus Corms For busy gardeners you can now plan ahead with our Grow-A-Long Handbooks. It contains technical growing information including plant heights and spacing, what to pinch and when, key dates to help you plan for the growing season ahead, and a sowing schedule.

Late Winter Sowing of Sweet Pea’s

The best time to sow Sweetpeas is in the Autumn but you also have a short window in late winter. In this video I explain why it’s best not to sow any later than the end of February.

Soil Science

Soil Science
In these videos we will discuss Soil PH, Soil Structure, Soil Horizons, Planting and Composting.

Cold Shock

Leaves turning yellow for no apparent reason? Your plants could be suffer from ‘Cold Shock’.

Buttonholes

In this video I’m going to demonstrate how to make a simple buttonhole using flowers you have grown yourself from your garden.

Shopping Lists

My list of essential kit is also available in the handbooks with pages you can print and take it shopping. In these videos I will also take you through each item and explain the use.

Seeds

In this video I will explain what a seed is which will help you understand why we need to store them carefully in a cool dry place.

Cold Frames

How to make your own cold frames

Shopping List
VC Corrugated Roof Sheets

Length : 2m Width : 762mm

Frame 850mm x 350mm Pressure treated wood (Total needed approx. 6.5M)

Back legs 2 x 500mm

Front legs 2 x 400mm these are shorter so rain will run off

Extra support baton 25mm x 35mm (total wood 2.8M)

100mm screws

Roof fixings will cover any screws in the roof

Drying and wiring flowers

Drying Strawflowers and wiring.

It is better to wire flowers fresh and then dry them, they are easier and less fragile.

Sweet Pea Cuttings

Convert your ‘Leggy Linda’ seedlings into new plants by taking Sweet Pea cuttings.

Dahlia Hall of Fame

Dahlia Hall of Fame, the very best Dahlias to grow as cut Flowers for Flower arranging, Weddings and Events

How to grow Peonies

Is there any flower in the world more beautiful than a Peony?

Herbaceous Peonies are the most well known type of peony and probably the most converted Wedding Flower ever! Not a single stem is wasted.

Here are my top tips on how to grow Herbaceous Peonies.

Wire Hoop Plant Supports

Wire Hoop Plant Supports.It can be expensive and tricky to adequately support a whole cut flower garden, here are some plant supports you can make yourself…

Our Flower Growing Frames

Flower Frames
Our own ‘invention’ these double Plant Staking with Cold Frames and extend our season here in the Chiltern Hills right on the Buckinghamshire / Bedfordshire border…

How to plant a Bulb Lasagne

In order to have a season long display rather than one big bonanza, you should plant bulbs with a variety of flowering times.

Cutting and Conditioning Flowers

Cutting Flowers 
An easy way to remember is not to cut flowers for something important like a Wedding or Event if you can feel the heat of the sun on the back of your neck…

I pick in the early morning or the cool of the evening straight into water and then keep them in a cool and dark place for at least a few hours – preferably overnight.