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Tulips come in a great variety of colours; these easy going spring bulbs never fail to delight. The best time to plant tulips is late October, November or December. With so many to choose from you are sure to find something to your taste. 
Tulips are relatively cheap to buy and easy to grow. They are guaranteed to lift spirits bringing the garden alive after its winter rest. 
Even in small groups of pots, tulips make a real impact.  
Tulips have a long flowering period, by choosing early flowering varieties you can have blooms in March, these can be followed by varieties flowering in April and May giving many weeks of colour.  
Choose an area of grass that can be left untidy for the early part of the year for a stunning effect. The Darwin hybrids are the most reliably perennial. 
Tulip Ballerina is an elegant, slender and tall tulip with a lovely scent. 
Monsella is an example of a double tulip with twice the number of petals it has a real splash of colour and a sweet lemon fragrance as a bonus. 
Daffodils are possibly the easiest flower you will ever grow and will reliably come back year after year. Planted in sun or part shade most garden varieties are hardy and our climate is ideal for them. Grown in borders, containers or naturalised in grass they are a welcome sight in spring and as the leaves contain minute razor-sharp crystals deer and rabbits tend to leave them alone. 
Planted now and requiring no winter attention daffodils will provide rays of sunshine in spring. 
N. Sweetness has bright yellow flowers and a beautiful scent, it is in the jonquilla group and has upright, narrow foliage and several fragrant flowers per stem. They readily form clumps and are excellent for cutting.  
Daffodils are best planted in groups of single species. If you are growing in grass plant them in an area that can be left unmown until the leaves have gone brown. Plant twice the depth of the bulb and allow two and a half times the size of the bulb between planting. If the bulbs are being planted in pots place much closer as they look best crammed together for real impact. 
N. Cragford has highly fragrant multiple flowers per stem with pure white petals and an orange cup. They make excellent cut flowers and are a great for naturalising. 
Daffodils are resilient plants, the number one reason for not flowering is being planted too shallow. They have everything contained in the bulb for the following years flower.  
Pulmonaria officinalis, commonly known as Lungwort, it is a low growing plant that provides useful ground cover in shady sites, although it does tolerate sun. It is a double value plant as it has appealing foliage as well as attractive spring flowers. The flowers change from pink to blue as they age and then as the flowers die down the foliage thickens and spreads out. Different varieties are available with blue, white or red flowers and foliage varies from spotted to marbled. 
Pulsatilla vulgaris, commonly known as Pasque flower and is an attractive addition to the front of the border or rock garden. It requires well drained soil in full sun and has lovely silky flowers followed by charming seed heads. This is a low growing, clump forming perennial that deserves a prominent location in the garden. 
Bergenia cordifolia, commonly known as Elephant Ears, is an excellent ground cover. This easy going plant isn't fussy regarding conditions and situation, although it is best to avoid a sunny, dry position. The leathery, slightly glossy leaves are evergreen and the spring flowers vary from white, pale pink through to deep red depending on the variety. Bergenia Eden's Dark Margin is a choice form which has a pencil- line red edge to leaves which turn deep maroon in winter. It has short stems of magenta flowers in mid spring. The only maintenance required is removing any tatty leaves after winter . 
Euphorbia Silver Edge is a stunning architectural addition to the garden with all year round foliage and yellow-cream flowers in spring which last until early summer. 
Ideal for a hot sunny position in the border with well drained soil or in a pot on a sunny patio. Height and spread 60cm. 
Camellias are aristocratic shrubs that are valuable throughout the year. 
The evergreen, shiny leaves are handsome in their own right but it is the flamboyant flowers that make this shrub a real showstopper. Despite their exotic appearance many Camellias are hardy but do appreciate a sheltered spot. 
If you aren't able to plant in acidic, moisture retentive soil in the garden camellias can be grown in containers using ericaceous potting compost. It is important that camellias whether in the border or in a pot are never allowed to dry out. The buds are formed in late summer so it is particularly crucial that they are not allowed to dry out at this time. 
Camellias are best positioned in dappled shade and are ideal in the shade of light woodland. If this is not possible position them so that they avoid early morning sun as rapid thawing out of the flower buds will damage the bud. 
Camellia Dr Tinsley is an RHS award winning variety with upright growth and semi-double flowers of blush pink. It blooms in late winter to spring providing much needed winter colour. 
Winter flowering shrubs add an extra special dimension to the garden over the colder, wetter months. Although not the showy blooms of the warmer seasons many are scented and the unexpected beauty in winter is a delight. 
Skimmia japonica 'Daddy's Dream' is an easy to grow shrub which bears small, green flower buds held in showy panicles throughout winter, these open into scented, creamy white flowers in spring. This shrub is best grown in part shade and grows to a height and spread of 90cm. 
Viburnum tinus is a useful evergreen with glossy, dark green leaves. This large shrub bears clusters of pink buds which develop into white flowers between December and April. The flowers are followed by ovoid, blue fruits.  
Jasminum nudiflorum bears clear yellow flowers on bare stems from November to late February. This lax shrub can be grown over banks or trained on a wall, any reasonable soil is suitable and it is ideal for a north facing wall. This easily grown shrub provides a real splash of sunshine in the gloomiest months. 
Sarcococca is an evergreen shrub that could well be overlooked until winter when it bears small, creamy white flowers with an intense vanilla scent. It is an accommodating shrub that grows in any well drained soil in semi or full shade. The flowers are followed by shiny, black berries.  
Mahonias are valuable evergreens in the winter garden. These architectural shrubs flower from autumn until spring casting a delicate scent over the garden. The flowers are followed by purple-blue fruits which decorate the shrub in summer. There are lots of different varieties available, most of which are suitable for growing in any reasonable garden soil in semi to full shade. 
Strictly speaking Garrya elliptica doesn't have flowers but the tassels that drape the evergreen shrub in January and February make this a beauty of the winter garden. Best grown against a north facing wall this shrub is a real feature of the late winter garden. 
Berries are a great way to add colour to your garden during autumn and winter. 
Skimmia japonica Pabella is a female plant that produces masses of red berries which follow fragrant, star shaped flowers produced in spring. The berries are produced in autumn and last into the new year. The neat domes of evergreen foliage reach a height and spread of 1m. They are excellent for both the border and pots requiring full or part shade.  
Skimmia japonica reevesiana is a low growing shrub reaching 90cm. The white flowers produced in May are followed by obovoid, crimson-red berries which last right through the winter into spring. T^his species is an hermaphrodite so does not require a pollinator. 
Pernettya mucronata is a hardy dwarf evergreen shrub which flowers in early summer. The long lasting berries which follow are either white or in shades of pink and purple. This is an excellent shrub best planted in a sunny position. 
Pyracantha is an easy to grow shrub which is tolerant of any aspect but looks particularly effective grown against a wall. This evergreen shrub provides shelter for nesting birds and blackbirds, song thrushes and starlings are attracted by the berries. 
Symphoricarpos is a deciduous shrub that grows well in shade and is tolerant of all types of soil. It has white or rose-coloured berries in autumn and winter which are eaten by many birds including robins, blackbirds and finches and is ideal for an informal garden. 
Cotoneaster horizontalis, know as the herringbone or fish-bone cotoneaster,is a low growing shrub which is ideal for north or east facing walls and for covering banks. It has good autumn and winter colour provided by berries and deciduous leaves. The berries are eaten by jays, thrushes, starlings and finches.  
Nothing quite sets off a garden like a perfect lawn, but this requires more than a regular cut. To be a thing of beauty requires a few straightforward routine tasks; see below for essential autumn lawn care steps. 
Hyacinths make a wonderful, fragrant display for indoors as well as the garden. If you want to have a bowl of hyacinths indoors for Christmas buy 'prepared' or heat treated bulbs. 
Use a pot with drainage holes and place a layer of crocks or coarse grit at the bottom to improve drainage. Add a layer of compost and then position the bulbs close together but not touching. Add more compost around the bulbs but don't completely cover; leave at least half sitting above the compost. Water and then place in a cool, dark place such as a garage or shed. Check the bowl from time to time and don't let the compost completely dry out. Once the flower spikes begin to colour, which can be anything up to 10 weeks, move into a light and airy position in the house; perhaps a porch or cool windowsill.  
If the hyacinths are placed in a warm room it is beneficial to occasionally move them into a cooler position, even outside for a few hours, this will extend the flowering period considerably. 
If you use a bowl without drainage holes use bulb fibre in place of compost, this has a free draining structure so that the bulbs don't rot. It also contains charcoal which stops the compost from becoming sour.  
Once flowering has finished the bulbs can be planted out in the border, the blooms will not be as big in following years but you will still get colour and an amazing fragrance. 
Now is the time for planting bulbs for a great display next spring.  
Bulbs give maximum display for minimum effort and are such a welcome sight after a long winter. 
Daffodils are always a welcome ray of sunshine after a long winter. 
Alliums make excellent exclamation marks and a real touch of class in the border. They flower mainly in May and June but there are varieties that flower earlier and later.  
Crocus start to flower in February and are best planted en masse to give a real splash of colour just when we need it most. 
Hyacinths are available in lots of different colours including pink, white, blue, yellow and red. The one thing they all have in common is an amazing fragrance. 
The UK has the perfect climate for growing daffodils and produces 90% of the world's cut daffodils, exporting to Europe and the USA. 
Daffodils are easy and reliable spring-flowering bulbs which multiply quickly and bloom year after year, most of them aren't fussy about soil and will grow in sun or part shade. The bulbs are best planted from September to November and there is a huge selection.Daffodils are extremely versatile with a wide range of sizes available and not all daffodils are yellow. There are varieties suitable for pots, borders, grassland, wild gardens, cutting gardens and indoors. Many are scented and there are different varieties for blooms from February to May. There really is something for everyone with well over 30,000 varieties available. 
Narcissus Sweetness  
As it's name suggests this is a sweetly scented daffodil. It has classic yellow blooms with multiple flowers per stem. This is a tough and trouble free variety and will reliably come back each spring.  
Narcissus Grand Soleil D'or 
This variety is ideal for planting indoors for Christmas blooms. It is strong growing with long upright stems topped with multiple scented blooms. Outside it requires a sunny, sheltered spot with excellent drainage. 
Narcissus Jenny 
This small white and cream daffodil looks ideal planted in pots and window boxes as well as grassland and borders.  
Narcissus Tahiti 
This eye catching, double has a distinctive two-tone effect with deep golden-yellow petals and ruffled orange petals in the centre. It is a robust, reliable variety. 
There is still plenty of colour in the garden it just needs a bit of TLC to extend the season into autumn. Deadheading is key to keeping the plants in your pots and borders flowering and producing new shoots of glorious colour. A stroll round the garden with some secateurs or even scissors tidying away spent blooms will bring you in touch with your garden and ensure your plants provide colour for as long as possible. Summer bedding in pots and baskets still need daily watering and will benefit from a twice weekly feed, a liquid feed added to your watering can is an easy and effective way to do this. Feeding the flowering perennials in your borders will help to keep them blooming and maintain good health. A feeding regime throughout the growing season really does make a difference. Even if it isn't something you have done up to now, try it; your plants will repay your efforts and next year you can start the feeding early. There is no doubt that feeding improves general plant health, pest and disease resistance, flower production and overall beauty. Feeding can transform a 'nice garden' into a 'wow garden'. 
The eight photographs below were taken during September and October. There is still plenty of flower power left. 
Old Oak Farm Nurseries | Bell's Lane, Hoghton, Preston, Lancashire PR5 0JJ | Tel: 01254 852 065 
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