Open 7 days a week 
1st Feb - 30th Nov 
December & January closed for winter re-open 1st Feb 
The garden really does wake up in April. Even though we are having a cold start to the month the longer days mean that spring is definately here and when the sun shines there is a real feeling of warmth. We have a wide range of perennials, grown on the nursery, ready for planting out now. We have all the old favourite cottage garden plants including foxgloves, delphiniums and lupins, as well as a few more unusual plants to add variety and interest to your garden.  
The Cowslip (Primula veris) is a very easy spring flowering plant that produces scented, deep yellow flowers which grow in narrow clusters on tall stalks. It is suitable for the border, wildflower garden or meadow and is happy in full sun or part shade. 
Aquilegia has many common names including Granny's Bonnet and Columbine. They are a dainty cottage garden plant with ferny leaves and attractive flowers available in many colours. Easily grown in a well drained garden soil these plants will happily self seed without ever becoming a nusiance.  
Brunnera macrophylla is a beautiful hardy perennial with pale silver grey, heart shaped leaves and bright blue flowers, similar to Forget-me-nots, in mid to late spring. It prefers a sheltered spot with moisture retentive soil where it will happily spread to form a very attractive ground cover. 
It is easy to see why Dicentra spectabilis has the common name Bleeding Heart. Its arching sprays of heart shaped flowers are produced in spring above ferny, green foliage. This easily grown plant thrives in light shade in any well drained garden soil. 
Hardy Geraniums provide mounds of dense foliage which appears in April and is followed by a long flowering period. For example G. Rozanne (illustrated) bears masses of violet-blue blooms repeatedly from July to October and was the winner of The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 'Plant of the Centenary' in 2013. We have a range of Geraniums with different habits, foliage and colours, all of which are easy to grow. 
Polygonatum or Solomon's Seal is a traditional cottage garden plant ideal for shade. The graceful, arching stems bear green-tipped white blooms in spring to early summer. 
Epimedium is a ground cover perennial which thrives in light shade. The dainty flowers are held above the leaves on thin, wiry stems. Tolerant of dry shade but best in a fertile soil that is moist and rich in humus. 
Papaver orientalis or Oriental Poppy make a real statement in the early summer border. They need a well drained spot in full sun to flower at their best. Cut back and feed after flowering has finished for more flowers later in the summer. 
Alpines are a great way to brighten up your garden. One of the advantages of these small growing plants is that there is room for them in any garden. 
alpines blackburn
There is a vast range of beautiful and easy care alpine plants suitable for the rock garden, with a variety of foliage and flowers. For many the basic requirements are a free-draining soil, a sunny position and an adequate supply of water. Here is small selection of alpines we have ready now. 
Arenaria montana produces a profusion of glistening white flowers on cascades of evergreen foliage. This plant will tolerate shade. 
Lithodora diffusa Grace Ward is a striking, mat forming evergreen that has intense blue flowers in spring and summer. It requires a well drained, acidic soil in a sunny position. 
Lewisia Cotyledon is a stunning plant which flowers from late spring to early summer. Plant at an angle so that water can drain out of it's rosette of fleshy evergreen foliage; the crevice of a wall is ideal. 
Armeria maritima produces a compact cushion of evergreen, grass like foliage with pretty pink flowers in late spring and summer; regular dead heading will prolong the flowering period. This plant is particularly effective between slabs of paving but any well drained sunny spot is suitable. 
Phlox subulata is one of the most colourful ground cover plants available, it flowers profusely in late spring with masses of delicate pink, magenta, purple-blue or white flowers which completely cover the foliage.  
Aubretia deltoidea gives a long and bold display of vivid colour, It requires an open sunny position and is ideal for growing in a wall or traditional rock garden where it can be given the space to spread. 
Polygala chamaebuxus var grandiflora is a compact, mound forming evergreen shrub with striking flowers in late spring to early summer. It thrives in sun or partial shade and is an ideal shrub for the rock garden. This plant has recieved the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit. 
Saxifraga x arendsii form a low cushion of bright green leaves and flower in spring. Various shades of pink, red and white are available. These plants perform well in a sunny spot with good drainaige, they are also ideal planted in a trough or sink.. 
Now is a good time to plant new roses. This will allow the root system to become established before plants come into leaf. Hard pruning after planting will encourage the development of vigorous growth. It may go against your instinct to cut back a newly planted rose, but it will make a stronger bush and is well worth doing.  
Prune to within 7 to 15cm (3 to 6”) of ground level.Prune using sharp, clean, bypass secateurs cutting at an angle away from the bud to allow moisture to drain away. Make the cut 6.5cm (2.5”) above an outward facing growth bud. Remove any damaged shoots or crossing stems and discoloured wood. 
Most evergreen shrubs are fairly low maintenance, but if pruning is required (or just the removal of damaged and diseased shoots) mid to late spring is ideal. The timing is dictated by the risk of severe frosts having passed and just before growth starts. Spring flowering evergreens can be left until flowering has finished. 
Overgrown hedges can be brought under control when they are dormant and respond well to hard pruning. 
Apples and pears should be pruned when the tree is without leaves. Take out no more than 10% to 20% of the old wood to stimulate new growth. This is done because it is wood that is between 1 to 4 years old that fruits best. It is also important to develop an open centre to allow maximum light and improve air circulation to discourage disease. 
Although we are still in winter there are welcome signs in the garden that spring is around the corner. 
There are many ways to introduce interest to a winter garden, the beauty and variety of stems, bark, berries and a variety of decorative, evergreen foliage chosen with care to ensure that your garden never looks dreary.  
Sarcococca hookeriana may not be the showiest of plants but it is an extremely useful shrub. It will happily thrive in a shady or more open position and is tolerant of a wide range of soils. In summer it is a useful background plant but in winter it comes into its own. The small creamy white flowers produce an intense, vanilla scent which makes it an ideal shrub for positioning near a gate, door or any where else you will get the benefit of its glorious scent. 
Skimmia x confusa 'Kew Green' is another useful shrub that can cope with sun or shade and requires no pruning. It has a low growth habit and a compact shape providing a year-round backdrop of evergreen foliage. At this time of year it bears cone-shaped clusters of buds which open in early spring to reveal creamy white scented flowers with a hint of green. 
Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn' bears clusters of intensely scented flowers which appear on bare stems. The tiny blooms can withstand frost and will continue to flower for several months. Despite appearances this is a tough, easy to grow shrub best planted to avoid early morning sunshine. Morning sun can cause damage to frosted blooms, although this will not cause any lasting damage and new flowers will take their place. 
Acer griseum is known as the paper-bark maple and is an ideal tree for a small garden. It is an attractive tree with stunning autumn colour that sees its leaves turn from dark green to orange and then a rich crimson. Its decorative bark peels off in thin, papery sheets, exposing cinnamon-coloured new bark making it an perfect winter interest tree. 
Helleborus makes the winter garden a more exciting place. It's beautiful and sophisticated flowers appear from mid-winter and last for months. There is a wide range of flower colours and forms, the leaves also offer variety in shape, size and markings. The flowers are designed to attract solitary bees which are essential to the pollination process. Hellebores are generally trouble-free and thrive in humus rich soil beneath deciduous shrubs and trees.  
Pyracantha is a valuable garden shrub throughout the year. The frothy white flowers appear on the evergreen shrub in summer and are followed by bright coloured orange, yellow or red berries depending on the variety. It responds well to trimming and an overgrown shrub can be cut back drastically if required. The berries are particularly popular with blackbirds and it is one of the top shrubs for nesting, perfect for many bird varieties. It isn't fussy about position or soil as well as a gereral garden shrub it can be grown as either a wall shrub or hedge and clipped accordingly. 
Old Oak Farm Nurseries | Bell's Lane, Hoghton, Preston, Lancashire PR5 0JJ | Tel: 01254 852 065 
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