Good Gardening with Mark Curtis: February 2019

01/02/19 News

Hopefully you have conquered those New Year’s resolutions – you've done Dry January and Veganuary, joined a gym, detoxed and got a six pack. You're in the moment, ready to go… and you've tidied the garden and the greenhouse. 
Just as well, because your garden is feeling fresh too (and that's not just from the easterly wind). The shelves are currently filling up with those gorgeous summer bulbs, seedlings and baby plants. Lily ‘Apricot Fudge' has beautiful, waxy and unusual fragrant flowers. Shorter than normal lily flowers, it more resembles an open tea rose with the long stamens and orange pollen of the anthers held above. 
If you have cats and are worried about the pollen, there is a lovely soft pink variety, ‘Elodie', which is pollen free. Another Apricot-topped flower is the gorgeous Iris ‘Edith Wolford', over mauve petals below, it's a cracker! Growing up to 3 foot, good for cutting and both rabbit and deer resistant, she can have up to 9 blooms per stem. 
There are some glorious Dahlias waiting in the wings too. Rejman's ‘Firecracker' lights up with its flecks of gold, scarlet and red streaks – with the intensity of the eye of Sauron. A great cut flower too, rising to 3 feet or more in a sunny spot. Thompson and Morgan's Flower of the Year, Nasturtium ‘Orchid Flame’, will also keep those border colours hot. Nasturtiums are great in pots, borders or even between veg on the allotment. They are a great one for the younger gardener to try.
Valentine's Day will soon be upon us too, so don't forget there are some beautiful plant gifts available. How about giving Dahlia ‘Crazy Love' to plant for blooms later in the year – a soft white flower, with gently-kissed lilac tipped petals. Some temptations you just have to succumb to – happy gardening!

Mark Curtis
Plant Manager, Tates of Sussex

For more gardening tips for the month, please visit