Let’s be rotters!

The latest on compost, our newest arrivals, ways to celebrate Treebilee and what to do in your garden this month.

Well, after dry January (miraculously without any effort at all on the gin front), February turned out to be a wild, wet and windy affair. Much needed rain with Dudley, but Storm Eunice? Who on earth came up with that shy name to describe such devastation and ferocity?

But on to cheerier things…
Events on the can’t-miss social calendar this month include Compost Week UK (14-20 March). Yes really! According to the website, this is when the movers and shakers of the compost world will ‘celebrate the benefits of composting and encourage the UK to be rotters’. Not quite beside ourselves with excitement on the latter front, but super important for your garden and the environment otherwise - so much so there’s even an International Compost Awareness Foundation. Who would have thought? For a quick catch up on the virtues of peat-free compost, do have a look at our blog on the subject.
Bareroot Plants
Oh - and a final call for bareroot planting. It’s not too late to get your ornamental trees, hedging, roses, soft fruit and fruit trees in the ground. It’s Tree-bilee year after all, as Prince Charles has nicknamed the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. There’s a great article about it in the latest issue of The Field which features our one and only Julian de Bosdari at Ashridge.
Watch the video

Mixed country hedges are one of the joys of British boundaries and gardens. They’re always planted bareroot, so there’s still time before the end of March. Watch the video for the Ashridge lowdown on how to do it.
Primrose, F1 Bonnelli
Primrose, F1 Bonnelli: A new feather in our cap – this delightful mix of primroses is a bit of Joseph and his  Technicolour Dreamcoat in the garden, bringing vivid pops of colours to pots and borders from February to May. The great plantsman and garden writer Christopher Lloyd used only one plant variety in any of his pots – these are ideal candidates for the same treatment.
Okame Japanese Cherry Blossom
Okame Japanese Cherry Blossom: This stunning little tree produces a profusion of candyfloss blossom in early spring long before most other flowering cherries have even thought about putting forth a petal. Perfect for small gardens, pollution tolerant and loved by bees, it also bears fabulous jagged dark green foliage that transforms into a pyrotechnic display of orange and red come autumn.
Spectabilis Forsythia Hedging
Spectabilis Forsythia Hedging: Sturdy, reliable and a riot of colour early in the year when it lights up borders and hedges with a mass of sunny golden yellow flowers. A good-tempered plant if ever there was one and the most popular forsythia grown for obvious reasons…
Winter Aconites
Winter Aconites: Members of the buttercup family, these enchanting egg-yolk yellow flowers appear in January, each surrounded by a courtier’s ruff of dark green foliage. The method in their early-flowering madness is to garner as much sunlight as possible under the bare-branched deciduous trees that are their natural home. Lovely planted with snowdrops and a great source of nectar and pollen for pollinators.
Chanticleer Pear
Chanticleer Pear: Glossy green foliage and a cloud of ethereal white blossom in early spring, lively summer colour and a spectacular autumn display (purplish-red, crimson or orange-yellow depending on the soil) amply compensate for the inconspicuous and inedible fruit. Brilliant for screening or as an ornamental statement tree given its long, long season of interest.
Buff Beauty Shrub Rose
Buff Beauty Shrub Rose: If there were an all-round good egg in the rose world, Buff Beauty would be it. More than 100 years old and still holder of the RHS AGM (which says a thing or two given the competition), this fragrant and almost ridiculously pretty shrub rose bears clusters of double flowers ranging from apricot to cream through June to September. Probably the most famous of the hybrid musks and deservedly so.
Stella Cherry
Stella Cherry: The all-time top favourite cherry, as dearly loved by young and old alike as by our feathered friends. But all’s fair in love and war when it comes to big, fat, sweet red cherries, so net early to avoid disappointment
Williams Bon Chretien Pear
Williams Bon Chretien Pear: Another stalwart of the fruit world, this gorgeous old variety bears the world’s most widely-grown pear. A steadfast cropper to the end and known as Williams to us mere mortals, it’s cherished for the large, sweet and super-juicy fruit, as good for eating off the tree as it is for stewing and poaching.
Herbaceous collections
We’ve taken the hard work out of finding the perfect combinations for your borders and curated some special collections that will help make your garden zing, small or large. We’ve combinations that suit cottage gardens, sunny spots, backs of the border or those will tantalise the taste buds of bees and butterflies and more. See a few of our collections below, or see the full range.
Cottage Garden Herbaceous Collection
Cottage Garden Herbaceous Collection
Back of the Border Herbaceous Collection
Back of the Border Herbaceous Collection
Hot & Spicy Herbaceous Collection
Hot & Spicy Herbaceous Collection
We have a luscious new range of lupins – those slender pyramids that spike summer borders with shades from the palest pastels to the splendidly outrageous. Go pretty or flamboyant – there’s little to beat a lovely lupin in traditional cottage garden or contemporary planting schemes. See a few of our colourful lupins below, or order from our full range.
Every month our customer support team picks out a topic that has generated lots of questions from customers...
Q: Is it too late to cut my new native hedge back as I forgot to do it when planting?
Hedge Planting
A: The key to dense, bushy hedging lies in the way the hedge plants are treated in the first year after planting. Cut mixed hedging back to 6-8 (15-20cm) immediately after planting. If you have forgotten after planting, you can reduce those new shoots by 50% in the autumn/winter following planting. See our advice page for more information on planting and hedge trimming.
Please keep sending in your questions. We love them and they also help other gardeners.
Watch the video
Divide and rule – a good enough strategy for Julius Caesar and Napoleon, and definitely the way to go with summer-flowering herbaceous perennials. Not only does digging and dividing increase the number of plants in your garden for free, it’s also good for their health and performance. Brutal but kind in the long run. See how it’s done by watching the video.
Winter Jasmine
  • Mulch around newly-planted trees and hedges
  • If it’s dry, water newly-planted hedging - in the first year it must NEVER run short of water
  • Prune hybrid tea and floribunda roses once the frosts are over – remember to use sharp secateurs or loppers to make clean cuts that will heal quickly
  • Prune shrubs such as fuchsias and buddleia
  • Prune yellow winter jasmine
  • Ventilate greenhouses, tunnels and conservatories on warm days
  • Prune blueberry bushes
  • Deadhead daffs that are going over so the sun’s energy is channelled back into the bulb
  • Cut back ornamental grasses before they start to grow
  • Feed your lawn with high nitrogen feed
  • Pot on potted plants
  • Plant hardy plants, including herbaceous perennials
  • Start sowing vegetable seeds
  • Chit potatoes
  • Crop rhubarb…if you have a glut make rhubarb gin
  • Dig up and relocate plants 
Dates for your Diary...
7th – 13th March – Food Waste Action week. There’s incontrovertible evidence that food waste fuels climate change. Composting, grow your own – there are myriad ways gardeners in which can help.
My Lovely Mum Potted Rose
27th March – Mothering Sunday. We may have banged the drum for sustainability on the odd occasion, but a pair of beautiful bay trees, a rose bush, a fruit tree or an Ashridge voucher is bound to hit the spot and remind your Mama of how much you love her well after the flowers have wilted and the chocolates have settled around the waist!
And last but not least…
Victoria Sponge Cake
Celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee by rustling up a Victoria Sponge cake and sandwiching it with delicious, home-made strawberry or raspberry jam. We give our top tips and secret recipe tricks.
Take a look at the full recipe...
Our blogs are written by garden designers and passionate gardeners (not mutually exclusive) making them well informed and opinionated... So if you want ideas that may be relevant to your garden have a look at this month's scribblings: Wildflower Meadows & Inspiration For Winter Colour
Soft Fruit
Garden Trees
Fruit Trees
Herbaceous Collections
Sweet Peas
Alpines and Wildflowers
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Grove Cross Barn, Castle Cary, Somerset, BA7 7NJ
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Thank you, The Ashridge Nurseries Team.

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