Plants & Trees & Plant of The Month

Plants & Trees

Our new and enhanced outdoor plant area carries a comprehensive range of trees, conifers, shrubs, roses, perennials, climbers, alpines, heathers, bedding plants, aquatic plants, grasses, fruit trees and statement plants for that instant impact in your garden.

Our plant area is set out in alphabetical order for easy garden planning. We have published our own plant guide leaflets to show you what we have available on offer. They are designed to assist you in achieving all year round colour.

Please find in store 28 leaflets for you to pick up free of charge.

We are proud to supply top quality plants at very reasonable prices and a one year guarantee with proof of purchase*.

We offer a wide range of summer and winter hanging baskets to enhance your garden.

Please visit our friendly plant area team for all your garden questions and if you are not able to find the plant you are looking for, then we will do our up most to source our suppliers, to provide you with the plant you're after.

Anne Covell

Plants & Trees Manager

Hardy Plant Guarantee - Our hardy outdoor plants are covered by a 12 month guarantee, which begins from the day of purchase. Proof of purchase in the form of our till receipt must be produced. A plant label alone does not qualify. We will replace the plant or provide a full refund. The guarantee does not cover sale or discounted items. The guarantee does not cover plants that have not been properly cared for. The plant must finally be returned to the garden centre for inspection.

Plant of The Month For June - Penstemon

Penstemon Quick facts

Common name Penstemon
Botanical name Penstemon
Group Perennial
Flowering time Early summer to mid-autumn
Planting time Spring to autumn
Height and spread 15cm-1m (6in-39in) by 30-60cm (12-24in)
Aspect Sunny
Hardiness Frost tender to hardy
Difficulty Easy

Cultivation notes
Border penstemons are easy to grow in any fertile, reasonably moist, free-draining soil in full sun or light shade.

Planting is best done from mid- to late spring. Enrich the soil with about a bucketful of well-rotted organic matter and 70g per sq m (2oz per sq yd) of balanced general-purpose fertiliser to aid good establishment. Alpine and shrubby penstemons need relatively infertile soils, so no improvement is needed. Allow 45cm (18in) between plants.

Watering of well-established plants in medium to heavy soils should be seldom needed, but plants growing in light, free-draining soils might need watering every two weeks in dry spells.

Deadheading to remove spent flowering spikes helps promote a long season of flowering.

Aftercare is important to ensure a good show is subsequent years. Each spring apply a balanced, general-purpose fertiliser at the rate of 70g per sq m (2oz per sq yd), followed by a 5-8cm (2-3in) mulch of well-rotted organic matter to help promote strong healthy growth. Penstemons flower on new vigorous growth that is not lush.

Penstemons can become woody and leggy if they are not pruned annually.

Trim them once the hard, winter weather is over (usually in late April or early May); until then old stems provide valuable frost protection for the new shoots
In spring, when new shoots appear at the base, remove the old flower spikes and any suitable material can be used as cuttings
In autumn, limit windrock and tidy up borders by cutting back penstemon by about a third, being sure to leave enough foliage to provide winter protection
Penstemon pruning
In mid-spring, check plants for new shoots at the base or along the stems
Where shoots are growing from the base, cut out all the old stems close to the bottom
Penstemon with few or no shoots growing from ground level should only have their stems shortened, making the cuts just above the lowest set of healthy leaves
Once a plant has been pruned, remove weeds and other encroaching plants
Because many penstemons are not reliably hardy, a hard winter can result in serious losses. It is therefore advisable to propagate some fresh stock each year in late summer and keep it in frost-free conditions until the following year. Cuttings are the best method when propagating a named cultivar, as these do not come reliably true from seed. However, seed, division and layering can also be used. See the links below for more on these techniques.

Softwood cuttings
This is the best method to produce plants true to the parent. Softwood cuttings can be taken any time during the growing season – those taken early in the year require bottom heat. The more vigorous cultivars, such as Penstemon 'Alice Hindley' and P. 'Schoenholzeri' can be taken early in the year (for planting out in early summer) and usually grow rapidly enough to give a flower display by late summer.

Take softwood cuttings as follows:

Take non-flowering tip cuttings of about 10-12.5cm (4-5in) long and trim with a sharp knife to just below a leaf node
Gently remove the bottom two leaves and trim the top and side leaves by up to one-third to reduce leaf surface area and, in turn, moisture loss
Dip the cut ends in hormone rooting powder and insert in a 50:50 mixture of compost and perlite
Up to five cuttings can be inserted into a 9cm (3.5in) pot, or modular trays can be used for larger quantities
After rooting, they can be left undisturbed over winter or individually potted on
Rooted cuttings of penstemons need frost-free conditions during the winter, but can otherwise be grown with little or no warmth and should be kept as cool as practical, with good ventilation whenever possible.

Penstemons are easily propagated from seed sown in early spring in heated conditions and planted out in early summer. However they are unlikely to come true to the parent plant.

Cultivar Selection
Here are a few of the best penstemons for the border:

Penstemon ‘Alice Hindley’ AGM: Large, pale-mauve, white-throated blooms. Height 90cm (3ft); spread 45cm (18in).
P. 'Osprey' AGM: Create a cottage garden look with its pink and white flowers. Height 1m (3¼ft); spread 45cm (18in).
P. 'Raven' AGM: Has rich, sultry purple blooms set off by the white throat. Height 90cm (3ft); spread 45cm (18in).
P. 'Stapleford Gem' AGM: This cultivar bears large, lilac blooms in from mid-summer. Height 60cm (24in); spread 45cm (18in).
P. ‘Sour Grapes’ AGM: Unusual greyish-blue flowers, suffused with rich purple. Height 60cm (24in); s spread 45cm (18in).

RHS Find a Plant
AGM Plants

Penstemons decline within a few years of planting, so replacing with fresh stock every three to five years is often necessary. Plants are more liable to die out in winter where the soil is heavy and not free draining.

Some of the other problems encountered include frost damage and powdery mildew.

Grafted Vegetable Plants

Grafted vegetable plants.
Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and aubergines.
• Coming this week by popular demand and new to Bawdeswell Garden Centre grafted vegetable plants.
• Ideal to grow in a large pot, glass house or in your garden. Use a grow bag but stand the bag on its end for a deeper root run.
• One single plant can produce 75% more fruit in comparison to the traditional varieties, fewer plants required so ideal for patios and even small garden areas. Initially more expensive to buy but well worth the investment.
• Grafted plants are stronger, grow quicker and are more disease resistant including resistance to blight problems. Choose ‘Crimson Crush’- the most blight resistant variety.
• Plant at same soil depth to the pot and no deeper with a stake or supports for those fruit laden branches.
• Plant outside when the risks of frosts have passed in an area with lots of sunshine and keep well watered and feed every 14 days with a high potash feed.
• The varieties of tomatoes and cucumbers have been breeder selected to cope with the fast growing root stock but selected for their delicious tasting fruits.
• Also coming this week are Sweet potatoes plus another first for Bawdeswell. ‘James Wong Lycopene-Rich’ tomatoes; standard and cherry varieties. Eat your tomatoes as part of a healthy Mediterranean style diet to promote good heart health.
• Come in store and ask one of our plant area staff for more details.