In October, David Coton is getting the garden prepared for the onset of colder weather but, at the same time, the arrival of spring bulbs in the garden centre is a reminder that you should also now be planning ahead for next year.
The beauty of one particular Clematis has enchanted David Hall for many years, Clematis sieboldii or “Florida Bi-Colour” is his queen of the climbers and here he explains why it captivated him.
There are keen gardeners who like to cultivate many different variants of the same species, rose growers are an obvious example, but much as I love all clematis, there's only one that captured my imagination long ago and it is still the only one for me even now.
The much sought after Clematis sieboldii was introduced into Britain from Japan during the nineteenth century. It flowers continuously from late June right through to September with flowers which are up to 4in (10cm) across.
Beautiful white saucer-shaped sepals embrace double flowers which form a domed central boss. Magnificent violet-purple petal-like stamens marry the sepals and flowers together. Each petal also carries a contrasting central green stripe.
The flowers are borne singly in great clusters, bees love them and their star-like shape and striking colours make these unusual blossoms look like those of the more tender Passion Flower.
The dark green biternate leaves of Florida Bi-Colour are composed of nine leaflets and form the perfect sombre backdrop for such a bright and vivid bloom. The growth is slender, reaching up to 7-9 feet (2-3 metres), and generally considered deciduous, though it could be classified as semi-evergreen during a mild winter.
Growing well in a container, its best location is on a south or south-west facing wall with a trellis to give it support. When planting use loam, peat, and a little bone meal and plant at least 2in (5cm) above the top of the rootball at below soil level.
Clematis Florida Bi-Colour produces all its flowers on the current season's growth, so should be pruned hard every March.
Although the days are short and the view from our Garden Centre is frosty and overcast, Andy Taylor suggests various jobs that can be done in the garden during the month of January.
Showcasing young musical talent, this year's Winter Concert at Arthur Terry School was an outstanding success and took place against the stunning backdrop of a Christmas Tree donated by GardenSite.
It was quite an honour for GardenSite to be asked to supply the Christmas Tree to Birmingham New Street Station this year, and to celebrate we're offering a Champagne High Tea to the winners of a seasonal selfie competition.
With Storm Caroline reeking havoc many people are likely to be contacting their insurance companies at some time regarding damage caused to sheds, greenhouses, fences and other garden property. Robert Hall explains how GardenSite.co.uk can help with an independent insurance quote and claim.