The fact that most of the British Isles was covered by ice in geologically recent times and then cut off from Europe by sea as the ice receded has meant that British flora is relatively species poor. There are correspondingly few true native British species with bulbs, tubers or rhizomes or other underground storage roots which we taken to be bulb equivalents. We have tried to cover the full range of at least the most garden worthy of these and of which the Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) is the most prominent and which has made the British Isles its central home.
Other bulbs, not native to the British Isles, can be naturalised readily in our climate if given the appropriate conditions, complementing our native species.
The following can be mass planted in natural groupings in controlled grass or round deciduous trees and shrubs.
Our two native squills are Scilla verna and Scilla autumnalis. Other members of the tribe, which have been grown and naturalised in British gardens for centuries, creating carpets of various shades of blue in grass or around trees and shrubs.
Chionodoxas are often called 'Glory of the Snow', and are native to the mountains of Anatolia where they flower as the snow recedes. Chionodoxas are excellent for naturalising, where they can provide a drift of blue in the early spring well before the bluebells come in. Particularly fine under deciduous trees and shrubs.
In addition to our native Muscari neglectum there are a range of Grape hyacinths, all flowering in April, that have long been naturalised in British gardens.
As well as the common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis) there are a myriad of named forms of both Galanthus nivalis and other Galanthus species. We offer a small selection which are strong growing and able to naturalise well in our gardens, with a range of size and flowering times. As with the common snowdrop these are freshly lifted on demand when dormant in the autumn (with the exception of Galanthus elwesii). We can send them 'in the green' in March as with the Common Snowdrops.
A genus of European and American woodland bulbous perennials, flowering in March and April, known as Dog's Tooth Violets in Europe and Trout Lilies in America. Care must be taken that the bulbs do not dry out before planting.
Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa) our native Anemone is a spectacular sight in our woods on April. Several forms have been selected from different populations over the last couple of hundred years and we have a wide selection including doubles and shades of blue, pink and purple. Other European Anemone species have been cultivated for centuries as well, adorning our garden banks and copses.
The most colourful of the early spring flowers. Crocuses are not native to Britain but have been grown in Britain at least as far back as the Middle Ages when they were known to be have been introduced into monastic gardens. They naturalise readily, often self seeding, in short grass and light woodland.
As well as our native tulip, Wild Tulip (Tulipa sylvestris), other tulip species can be grown in the garden here in open drier areas or borders. In general tulips are not always great for establishing in our climate as most species originate from the steppes and mountains of Central Asia, Iran and Turkey, where summers are often hot and dry. However it is worth trying some other tulip species from environments with a climate regime a little closer to our own. These species are of course much smaller than the big showy hybrids, many of which disappear after the first year.
Apart from the culinary aspects of this useful genus, Alliums extend the bulb season into summer, often flowering into July. As well as our native Ramsons, our native Wild Chives and Wild Leek we include a few of the great range of species and cultivars.
As well as our native Monks Hood there are a range of Aconitums that naturalise well here. All are delivered in late autumn.
A genus from North America all the Camassias we have spread happily in damp soil, growing readily from seed.
Trilliums are another N.American genus related to our woodland Herb Paris, and are ideal for growing in woodlands here. The plants grow 20-30cm (8- 12") high, with trifoliate leaves, bearing curious three-petalled flowers in spring (Apr-June). The rootstocks are best planted fairly deep 10-15cm (4-6") in rich leafy soil in shade.
Daffodils are particularly robust and problem free, and many species and varieties naturalise in a range of situations, growing equally well in a woodland or meadow. The daffodil genus Narcissus is spread across Europe represented by several other species as well as our own Wild Daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) and Tenby Daffodil (Narcissus obvallaris). They are always a glorious discovery when flowering in profusion in a woodland glade, on a mountain side or riverbank.
One great advantage the following have over many modern hybrids is their relatively small size, which makes them much more appropriate as a naturalised feature. This means they remain standing where many of the taller, showier hybrids are blown over, and blend into and out of the landscape gently where the large flowers of some of the hybrids make a brash statement then remain unsightly after dying back.
We offer a number of Narcissus species as well as other varieties that come close to species in height and form often referred to as miniatures (Miniature Daffodils). We then offer a range of Cyclamineus Hybrids, Jonquil Hybrids and Triandrus Hybrids that are likewise modest in height. We also have a range of daffodils that have a long history in horticulture often surviving in cottage gardens while fashion passed them by (Historic Varieties).
There are, of course, many native species that can be used ornamentally. The fully grown plants are some we are growing for use in woodland, wetland or hedgerow situations.
Some of these are geophytes which in botanical terms are like bulbs and corms in holding their resting buds under the soil over their dormant period in preparation for the coming season. Others form rhizomes and rootstocks holding their resting buds close to and protected by the soil.
They are despatched as rhizomes, tubers or rootstocks for delivery in Autumn(Aug-Oct) or Spring(Feb-April), except where indicated.
Plants whose foliage does not entirely die back (Primrose, Cowslip, Campion, Ragged Robin, Water Avens etc) will be sent as bare rooted plants. Please plant up ASAP on delivery.
These need moist soil all the year round to grow successfully.
These North American natives growing to 2-3ft tall are far removed from trailing bedding lobelias. Delivery in spring only Feb/March
Irises (named after the Rainbow Goddess) are an extremely diverse and widespread genus with species adapted to all kinds of habitats. Only two are native to the British Isles (the Stinking Iris and Yellow Flag Iris), and not surprisingly one of these, the Yellow Flag, is adapted to wet conditions. As well as these two, we also grow some other species and varieties, some for naturalising in water margins and boggy areas, and others for drier conditions. They are all freer flowering in open sites, but will tolerate partial shade. They are suitable for transplanting and despatch in either autumn or spring, i.e. before and after their leaves die back for winter.
Often loving cool shady places, ferns are ideal plants for damp woodland as well as the shaded border. Almost fanatically sought after by the Victorians, they are now becoming fashionable again. They are a fascinating subject in their own right, and our native species are hard to beat. Hardy ferns are generally easy going, mostly preferring moist shady areas where they thrive. When planting avoid sunny or windy sites as young fronds can scorch in these conditions, and add plenty of organic material to the soil before planting. Once established they will reward you with their marvellous foliage and different shapes and habits, with minimal attention. For those ferns with different cultural needs, please refer to the text
Selected Forms Of Our Native Ferns
The Victorians were particularly keen and adept at finding new forms of our native ferns, which are originally found as sports and then grown on. This practice continues and there are now a host of wonderful ferns to chose from .
We can guarantee that none of our bulbs have been taken from the wild. All bulbs are mature and of flowering size. Bulbs, such as Snowdrops, are sent freshly lifted just before despatch. This is an important point as it ensures that they do not dry out, too long drying out being a common cause of failure in some species. All plants despatched are fully grown stock and are sent out bare rooted.