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Stock update

With containers arriving on a weekly basis stock levels are good and we look forward to supplying you with our comprehensive range of large garden pots and planters this season.............
Jeremy, Riverhill Garden Supplies Ltd

RHS Garden Planters and Large Terracotta Pots and Planters

Stock update
Our much awaited container of RHS Garden Pots and Planters arrives this Tuesday and all back orders will be sent out at the end of this week. The same applies to all large sizes of Terracotta pots and planters with the exception of the Camelia Tall Square Planter - this product is not due in until the week commencing 17th June 2013.
Jeremy, Riverhill Garden Supplies Ltd

Instant Topiary Solutions

Yesterday we supplied some instant topiary to an address in Cheshire using our largest Faux lead Fibreclay pots planted up with some excellent 60cm Buxus sempervirens (thank you Oscar - excellent topiary as usual). Above you can see the planters in situ on one of the patios at the rear of the house - we also placed more planters at the front of the property to frame some garages and the results were very good. The build was new and the gardens need to mature, when they do the grounds will look stunning.
It is quite rare that I go out on deliveries but decided to travel up north with Heidi. We made a day of it with further drops to Rochdale, Huddersfield, Denby Dale, Doncaster and Cambridge (stopping for a Chinese) before getting back to Kent in the early hours. A long day!
Riverhill Garden Supplies are experts when it comes to planting up topiary in modern and traditional planters. For more information on how we can enhance your landscape please call 01732 522471 and ask for me, Jeremy!
Jeremy, Riverhill Garden Supplies Ltd

It's Getting Busy!

Another season fast approaching and we have had our busiest March to date - despite the bad weather we have seen lots of extensions, summer houses and outbuildings being built in London and the South East as customers look to to improve their outdoor living space - good for garden pot sales! Let's hope that the recent changes in the draconian planning laws allow more home owners to release their dreams and give the construction industry a much needed boost. Long may it continue?


Pictured above: Jeremy standing outside a newly built summer house in Clapham, South London (20/03/13) by some large terracotta Florentine planters. 
Heidi, Riverhill Garden Supplies

Spring 2013 Royal Horticultural Society Garden Pots and Planters

Now in stock and available to buy online. We really are impressed with this range and love the RHS Cone which is excellent for displaying annuals and perennials. Click here to view the full range and prices. 


Heidi, Riverhill Garden Supplies Ltd

London Office Planters and Commercial Landscaping Services

After a busy Spring/Summer 2012 we have managed to replenish most stock and expect delivery of some exciting new lines for 2013 in mid-October. There are only two items out of stock that are listed on the website - 55cm Fibreclay Boxes and the Apta Black Eggpots.


As the season 'comes to a close' the commercial grounds maintenance and Landscaping projects in London remains busy. We have added a number of prime real estate to our portfolio of managed offices including the old Football Association HO at Soho Square (left) - a project that included installing nearly 100 office planters in central London with large Buxus sempervirens over 10 floors to block out the disruption caused by the Crossrail project.
Thank you everybody for keeping us busy!

Jeremy, Riverhill Garden Supplies Ltd

Heavenly Heuchera!

Last weekend Riverhill Garden Supplies Ltd attended the West Kent Garden Show (see last post) in Tonbridge and as always I brought in far too many plants for a relatively small show! Result - 40 trays of mixed perennials to bring home and no show for three weeks!!!!! So after giving away the lion share of them to friends and family I was left with a few trays of Heuchera (always the last to go).

I have always believed that Heuchera have one place in the garden (the front border) and that's only if it is a shady area where the only other option is Hosta (slug food!). Now there are gardeners out there who salivate when a new variety of Heuchera is unvailed, I am not one of them. I even know landscapers (gardening is a matter of opinion – sorry John/Lucy/Mike) who swear by Heuchera and will under plant every single garden pot that I sell to them with Palace Purple, Chocolate Ruffles, Silver Scrolls and even Berry Smoothie! Not for me, until.....................



I saw the light. A relative’s birthday and three trays of Heuchera. Now I sell pots - and I have many (in my opinion the best online selection available in the UK)! I have Heuchera and I have lots - lots of pots and plenty of Heuchera. So let’s plant them up in one our best selling planters - the Fibreclay Chelsea Box and present as a gift to said relative. The results? Well my Aunt loved her gift and my opinion of the Heuchera has warmed. Not too bad eh? Even if I don't mind saying so myself - although topiary will do these excellent planters more justice!!
Jeremy, Riverhill Garden Supplies Ltd

A big thank you to everyome who came and visited our stand at the West Garden Show this weekend.

Heidi, Riverhill Garden Supplies Ltd

All of our large garden planters are now in stock and ready for the Spring 2012 season including extra large terracotta pots, polystone planters and troughs, glazed Apta pottery, fibreclay (faux lead) and fibreglaze planters.

Jeremy, Riverhill Garden Supplies Ltd

Alexander Rose Garden Furniture

This season we have made the decision to stock the complete Alexander Rose garden furniture range. You will now be able to buy Alexander Rose garden furniture tables, Alexander Rose garden furniture chairs, swing seats, steamers and loungers as single pieces online aswell as the Alexander Rose garden furniture sets that we have traditionally stocked. We are pleased to announce that all Alexander Rose garden furniture will be discounted by 10% this season. Excellent news for lovers of quality designer garden furniture.

Heidi, Riverhill Garden Supplies Ltd

Feed the Lawn this Autumn!

What an awful summer it has been weather wise! Heidi, Lucy and I have only managed to get down to the Kent coast twice this year to enjoy the beach at Whitstable - I think the weather allowed us to visit every other weekend last year. 


Oh well - at least this rainy season has allowed our lawns to remain green and act as a cooling foil for our colourful borders. As we approach Autumn remember to give your lawn a feed with an organic fertiliser. It does not take long and will toughen up the grass. Speak soon!

Jeremy, Riverhill Garden Supplies Ltd

All Terracotta and Fibreclay Planters now in Stock!

Terracotta pots and Fibreclay planters arrived into Harwich yesterday. All pots and planters now in stock - customers awaiting delivery will be contacted on Monday.

Jeremy, Riverhill Garden Supplies Ltd

Latest

At last, after three weeks in hibernation the sun has finally arrived back in Kent!

A special thank you to our existing customers who recommended our instant topiary solutions last month to their friends and family – you are the reason we have been in business for so long and I am truly grateful.

I would also like to mention Neil at the Springhead Nursery on the A2. His zonal geraniums are the best in Kent – every year I pop in and fill the van up with a variety of colours for my own garden – they have now been in for four months and continue to flower profusely.  Neil, you are a star.

August is traditionally a quiet month for us. The holiday season kicks in and most families are now ready to enjoy their garden, not work in it! This year is different and we have seen a busy start to the month – possibly because July was a write off weather wise for many of us in the South East and the gardens were put on hold.

The majority of our pots and planters are now in stock. We are just waiting for a container of terracotta pots and planters to arrive at Harwich on 14th August and some Polystone planters to dock on the 20th August.

Riverhill Garden Supplies Ltd are now an approved supplier of Alexander Rose garden furniture and are I am genuinely exited about our new relationship with a name synonymous in the garden furniture world for innovation, high quality and durability. It is an extremely competitive market but I am sure our dedicated approach to customer service will see us grow in this sector.

Jeremy, Riverhill Garden Supplies Ltd

Downtime!

We use a host for our website – they are called Mr Site – and they are good, I like the company. However over the last two days they have really tested my patience.

The Mr Site server has been down for 48 hours and we have not been able to administrate our site. Paying customers have not been able to access our online shop.

Technical glitches happen, not an issue. We would just like to be made aware of them in the future please Mr Site! Why? Well we have unwittingly continued to run an expensive Google Adwords campaign for the last 36 hours and of course, anyone who has visited our website will have found it was not functioning properly and left!

Mr Site Customer Service team – I suggest in future you let us know of any problems so that we can suspend our Google Adwords campaign. Why should we have to call your premium rate ‘help desk’ to find out what is going on! After all, is it not us who pay you to host our website!

Jeremy, Riverhill Garden Supplies Ltd

95% of Planters now in stock. Thank you for your business.

First of all I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for supporting us this season, I really do appreciate your business and I hope our garden planters have helped enhance your landscape this year. So far everything has run smoothly our end, there are still a handful of back orders but I am pleased to say that after a busy start to 2011 we now have about 95% of our online catalogue in stock and are prepared for the late rush before the school holidays.



As always please check the measurements of the large garden pots and planters before ordering - I can't stress how important this is! Large planters like the terracotta Florentine planter pictured above (100cmx85cm) really do take up some space.
A special thank you to Apta pottery for being very helpful over what has been a busy time for them as well as Riverhill Garden Supplies Ltd - long may our excellent working relationship continue.  
Now the dust has finally settled I am going to spend the next few months visiting and vetting potential suppliers as I look to add some quality products to the website for next season. Trips to Italy and Denmark are already planned before I make my annual pilgrimage to Glee at the NEC in September. Many thanks.
Jeremy, Riverhill Garden Supplies Ltd


My love affair with the Bay tree is back on (just!)

I helped out with deliveries yesterday and spotted this wonderful trio of Bay trees planted outside a modest abode off the Kings Road, Chelsea.

Bay trees in Chelsea


Unfortunately I have spent the start of this season taking calls from upset clients who like me, had lost their specimens to the cold snap we encountered in December. Losing 15 Bay trees myself I felt their frustrations and even fell out of love with anything Laurus!

This coming winter I will be giving the remainder of my somewhat decimated collection a warm overcoat when the next cold snap arrives in the form of horticultural fleece and will never underestimate our unpredictable winters again! I hope you all follow suite.  

Jeremy, Riverhill Garden Supplies Ltd

Instant Topiary Solutions

For a number of years Riverhill Garden Supplies Ltd have offered an 'Instant Topiary Service' to homes and businesses up and down the United Kingdom. Although I am unable to deliver every piece of instant topiary myself it is still me who plants up and I still love doing it!

Topiary in Contemporary Planters

With prices being extremely sensitive over the past 2 years I thought that this part of the business would suffer, after all this is a premium service that we provide. On the contrary, 2011 has been our busiest season for Instant Topiary Solutions and as our customers work longer hours they simply do not want to spend all weekend visiting their local (often overpriced) garden centres filling up their cars with soil, shrubs and extra large planters!
There is also a matter of quality. Our polystone pots and fibreclay planters are some of the best large garden planters on the market, our topiary is sourced directly from an award winning Italian grower and of course, it is me who plants it all up and I am an absolute perfectionist! For more information on how we can enhance your landscape call 0845 5196447.


Jeremy, Riverhill Garden Supplies Ltd


Frost proof terracotta? Try our Terracino range

We delivered to a customer just outside London today who ordered some large Terracotta Fresco Cylinders for what I can only describe as a stunning garden. For not the first time this year I was horrified at the condition of her existing terracotta planters that she had been sold by a reputable garden centre. Despite being marketed as frost resistant they had been ravaged by the bad weather and were crumbling at the base. They will need to be skipped.

Unfortunately we take calls daily from home gardeners up and down the country who are disappointed that their terracotta pots have cracked, crumbled and dissipated beyond repair. Some vow never to buy terracotta again!

Large Terracotta Planters

Terracotta is appropriate refined clay that is partially dried and cast, moulded, or hand worked into a desired shape. After further thorough drying it is placed in a kiln, or atop combustible material in a pit, and then fired. After pit firing the hot ware is covered with sand to cool, and after kiln firing the kiln is slowly cooled. The higher the temperature the terracotta pot is fired at the less porous it will become. A porous terracotta pot will allow water to build up in the air pockets which will freeze when the weather deteriorates, thus causing the ‘baked clay’ to crack.

Riverhill Supplies Ltd has stocked the ‘Terracino range’ of large terracotta pots, terracotta troughs and terracotta planters for seven years. To date we have not had any negative feedback regarding frost damage. This is because our large terracotta pots and planters are fired at temperatures in excess of 1150°c resulting in less porous terracotta that is not as susceptible to frosts as some of the terracotta fired in the warmer climbs of Southern Europe.

As a rule we advice all of our customers to use pot feet and not to block off the drainage holes – any excess water must have an escape route, especially during the colder months. Terracotta should be brought in during freezing temperatures but we understand that this is almost impossible. Our large terracotta pots are difficult to move when planted up and who really has the space to store them, not me anyway! Instead we recommend that you insulate your terracotta with bubble wrap until the frosts have gone for good.

Jeremy, Riverhill Garden Supplies Ltd

Quick update!

Thank you everyone (customers old and new) that said hello down at the Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells last weekend. The Farmers Market has now become a general market but despite this, all of the stallholders selling local produce have stayed loyal to it. Thanks Jackie, the Pantiles is buzzing again with shoppers thanks to your efforts.

Perennials and Shrubs

Mum e-mailed me this picture of Godinton House in Ashford, Kent. Looks well worth a visit!



For a comprehensive list of Gardens to visit in the United Kingdom please visit the Gardens to Visit section of our website. Have a great week and long may this good weather continue!

Jeremy, Riverhill Garden Supplies Ltd


Growing clematis in large terracotta garden pots

Growing Clematis in large terracotta garden pots

With mases of opulent blooms in an array of rich colours, clematis make great plants for terracotta pots and planters.

The clematis family has always been an accommodating bunch. With flowers in a rainbow of colours, and forms ranging from the dainty and star-like to glorious great blowsy beasts, there’s something to suit every taste.

Unusually, there’s also something to suit almost every site too. This is possibly the only plant family that absolutely everyone should be able to find room for. True, clematis do need some sun, but this doesn’t have to be in the isolated splendour of a dedicated patch of ground. For best results, they need support, which a wall or accommodating shrub can well provide, while all but the most vigorous Montana types will not only grow but will positively thrive in a good quality terracotta plant pot.

Clematis expert Raymond Evison has built a business on the universal appeal of these colourful climbers, and for many years has been promoting the practise of growing clematis in terracotta pots and containers.

“The Victorians used to grow their clematis in containers, and then take them indoors when they were flowering. These days, especially with so many people gardening on patios, we’re more likely to leave them outdoors as part of a permanent display, but otherwise it is exactly the same. And with a pot-grown clematis, you can pull it into the spotlight when it’s flowering, then tuck it out of sight for the rest of the year.” Clematis Patio Boulevard (below).

Purple Clematis

For a shortcut to success, choose one of the Viticella or Texensis types, or a late, large-flowered hybrid. All of these can be cut down hard in spring and flower later in the summer on new-season growth. This means there’s none of that tricky unwinding of overgrown stems to worry about and, when pruned, the clematis can be easily moved to another spot in the garden to train up an available support.

Raymond Evison also pioneered the breeding of a group of colourful, compact varieties he calls the Boulevard series. Growing to only 90-120cm, they’re perfect for terracotta planters. “They couldn’t be easier,” he says.

“Choose, a terracotta pot not less than 45cm x 45cm and fill it with a mix of John Innes No.1 and a good multi-purpose compost, feed the plants from spring until the first flower buds form, and keep it well watered throughout the growing season. That’s all there is to it.”

Aesthetics may be your first consideration when planning a patio feature, but remember that clematis need a cool, shady root-run and good drainage in order to thrive. Drill extra holes in the pot base if necessary, and consider slipping the pot inside a larger terracotta planter for additional insulation. The number of plants the planter can support will be determined by it size.

Any clematis will need support to show off its flowers. Set one to scramble over a spring-flowering shrub and extend the season of interest, or train it into a trellis (either alone or in combination with a climbing rose).

Alternatively, there are many desirable – and expensive – obelisks and other supports around. Equally effective is a simple arrangement of 120cm bamboo canes, birch or hazel branches, pushed round the pot rim and tied together with twine at the top to form a wigwam. Coax early growth into contact with the support and soon each leaf petiole will cling on of its own accord.

“Blooms are really the point of a clematis, so the more the merrier. Generally speaking the best clematis for terracotta pots fall into the pruning category known as group 3. This means they should be cut hard back in early spring to stimulate the production of a vigorous crop of new flowering stems.”

“When it comes to the early flowered cultivars, such as ‘Barbara Jackman’ and the lovely double ‘Artic Queen’, these fall into pruning group 2, and need a little more attention than their late-flowering, group 3 cousins. Cut early-flowerers hard back at planting time to stimulate plenty of new shoots. Thereafter, prune in February, removing any dead or weak stems, and taking each vigorous stem back to just above its highest pair of healthy buds,” explains Charlie Pridham who holds the National Collection of Clematis viticella cultivars. “Plant deeply, and if the plant looks thin layer a few stems in winter instead of cutting them down. To do this, curl a stem on to the soil surface and peg it into place. By spring it should be sending up new shoots.” Charlie also advocates a refinement of the pruning regime for an extended flowering period. “The trick is to cut everything down in the normal way, then around Chelsea time, in late May, cut half the stems back again to delay their flowering, This so called ‘Chelsea chop’ can almost double the length of your display.”

So, however stuffed your garden, however poor your soil, regardless of whether you have no more than a terrace to call your own, there is a clematis waiting for you.   

Jeremy, Riverhill Garden Supplies Ltd

Ground-cover plants

Ground-cover plants

Not all of us have unlimited time on our hands to spend in the garden so anything that helps save some time is well worth considering. Ground cover is one such valuable aid: it cuts down on the amount of weeding needed and covers large areas with just one plant, so saving on planting. Below: Geranium-x-oxonianum

What are ground-cover-plants?

They are exactly what the name suggests: plants that cover the ground. Some are creeping plants that spread out to form a dense mat; others are large planting of individual plants, each one merging into the next to provide a close mass. Most tend to be low-growing, though this is not essential, and any dense-growing plant will suffice.

Some gardeners consider any plants grown closely together as ground cover, but the term is usually reserved for those plants that have a proven record for a dense growth.

Most ground-cover plants flower at some point, but that are mainly used as foliage plants, which ensures that they cover the ground for the maximum length of time. Many can simply be left until they die back naturally, but others, such as pulmonarias, are best sheared over at the end of flowering so that they acquire a set of fresh and more attractive leaves.  

Purposes of ground-cover

There are several reasons for using ground cover. The first and most obvious one is that the dense covering of plants inhibits the germination and growth of weeds from beneath them. In other words, it cuts down the amount of weeding that is required for the area they cover.

Another use is to cover large areas with attractive plants. This is particularly important in large gardens, where there are often areas that need planting but are not suitable for borders, such as under trees, where a carpet of plants can be very attractive.

A third use of ground cover is to deal with areas that are difficult to cultivate. Banks, for example, may be awkward to cope with, as are those barren strips of earth in the middle of some driveways, which are the perfect place for thymes or similar low-growing plants.

Limitations of ground cover

Unfortunately ground cover is not all good news. There are some downsides particularly if you have a small garden, where space is a premium. (Though for larger gardens the advantages certainly outweigh the disadvantages).

The first is that a large spread of the same plant can be rather boring. This may not trouble you if you are not over-interested in plants as such but just want to keep your garden tidy. However, many gardeners feel that they would rather user their space for different plants, creating a more interesting scene.

The second disadvantage is that ground cover is not quite as efficient as it is often portrayed to be. Any perennial weeds left in the ground when it was prepared will certainly penetrate the cover, and any thinning of the cover will allow in light and aid the germination of weed seed. So it is essential to prepare the soil thoroughly in the first place, removing all traces of weeds, and then to make certain that the plants are in the best of health and maintain their tight cover. Shearing them over from time to time helps to keep them dense.

The third problem is rubbish. So often ground-cover areas are left to themselves, and they have a habit of catching any pieces of paper or other bits of rubbish that blow past. I am constantly picking out crisp packets and drink cartons from the vinca that sits at the front of my house!

Jeremy, Riverhill Garden Supplies Ltd

Weeding - Don't leave it too late!

Weeding

This is the aspect of gardening that I particularly dislike the most. I always leave weeding too late and when the sun comes out, like today I am horrified at the state I have allowed my beds and borders to get in! If the weeding had been done on a regular basis it would have been quick and pleasurable resulting in a weed free garden.

Timing

I know that as a general rule the best time to weed is as soon as you see one. If you keep on top of the weeds, weeding rarely becomes a problem and never a chore.

Ideally, you should go over all the beds during the winter or early spring to clear out any weeds. Once cleared of weeds they should be mulched. If these two processes are done at the beginning of the growing season, there is every chance you will have little to do except pull out the odd rogue that appears. If, like me! You wait until the weather warms up before talking the weeds, you will find that they are ahead of you.

Weed Killers

Using chemicals in a planted border is not a good idea. They can be used to make an initial clearance, but once the plants are in place it can be a disastrous procedure. However careful you are there is bound to be some drift, with odd drops falling on actual plants. Chemicals can also translocate from roots to roots. If a border is prepared properly in the first place and then weeded regularly by hand, there should be no need to use chemicals anyway.

Hand-weeding

I find the best way to tackle weeds in a border is to hand-weed. If the soil is loose or if there is a good depth of mulch on it, this may simply mean pulling the weed gently out. If, however, there is a possibility of the weed breaking off and leaving its roots in the soil, use a hand fork or trowel to loosen the soil first.

In the late winter, as the plants are just appearing through the soil, it is a good idea to fork the soil over lightly, working in well-rotted organic materials as you go. As you do this, you can easily pull out any weeds that are present.

If a plant becomes infested with a persistent perennial weed, such as couch grass, then it is best to dig the whole plant out, wash the soil off the roots, remove the weed and replant the plant. If you try to remove the couch grass while the plant is still in the ground, then the pieces of weed that grow through it will only regenerate and you will have to start again.

Some gardeners like using a hoe to weed their beds but I strongly advice you not too. So often, fragile new shoots or even whole plants get hoed off. The other problem is that, although hoeing can be effective for annual weeds, it is no good just cutting off the top of perennial weeds – you need to get to the roots as well.

Lady landscaping services

Mulching

One of the greatest aids to weeding is mulching, since it prevents the weeds from forming in the first place. A layer of some material that will keep the light from the soil will inhibit the germination of weed seeds, so keeping the border free of weeds. If, however, there are already perennial weeds in the border, then the mulch will not help. This is because the weeds will simply grow through the material in the same way as the plants.

Organic mulches, such as leaf mould and composted or chipped bark, are best, as they will eventually rot down and improve the soil. Most will also look more sympathetic in the borders, creating a good background against which to see the plants, though this is not the case with straw or grass cuttings.

Black plastic mulches are efficient but ugly. Some gardeners try avoiding the plastic showing by covering it with a shallow layer of earth or another mulch, such as bark, but this inevitably washes off in places or is revealed by birds pecking among the covering layer, and the ugly plastic makes an appearance.

I am off to weed now and will be using horse-manure as my mulch of choice! Lovely but I suppose it’s free to beggars can’t be choosers. Have a great day.

Jeremy, Riverhill Garden Supplies Ltd. 

Garden Shows (April 2011)

Spring is finally here and as we approach April the Garden Show season starts to get into full swing with the first major RHS show of the year at Bute Park, Cardiff.
My staff and I enjoy attending Cardiff but unfortunately it will not be possible to send any representatives from Riverhill Garden Supplies Ltd to South Wales in a fortnight; we are simply too busy delivering our garden pots and planters at the moment which is a shame because RHS Cardiff is a fantastic show and well attended. I am going to miss those fantastic plant displays in the floral marquees, especially the daffodils! Tickets are still on sale at the RHS website and cost £8.


One show that I will be attending at the end of April is Grand Designs Live at Excel, London (April 30th to May 8th). This is not a traditional Garden Show but well worth a visit if you have an interest in landscaping or are just simply looking for some inspiration; there will be a focus on green technology which is of particular interest to me. The cheapest admission is £11 if you visit on a weekday or £14 if you attend at the weekend. You can visit the Grand Design Live website for more information.


The Hertfordshire Garden Show at Knebworth House (30th April to 2nd May) organised by WMH Leisure, the same company who are responsible for the Kent Show at Detling is worth a visit as is the Southend Spring Garden Show (30th April to 2nd May) at Garam Park. Riverhill Garden Supplies exhibited at this show last year and were impressed with the number of local nurseries in attendance.


Other Garden Shows of note are the three events put on by Plant Hunters Fairs at Consall Hall (2nd April), Bodenham Arboretum (9th April) and Bramall Hall (10th April). The Newark Garden Show (15th April to 17th April), an Aztec event like the Southend Spring Garden Show and finally if you happen to be in the West Country the Bath Spring Flower Show (30th April to 2nd May) which is well organised by the local council.


For further information on Garden Shows in April visit the Garden Shows website.

Jeremy, Riverhill Garden Supplies Ltd

RHS Orchid Show (March 18th/19th/20th)

RHS Orchid Show

'Garden Show season' does not get into full swing until mid-April, however, if you get a chance I highly recommend you visit the RHS Orchid Show this month.

“Widely considered as one of the most stylish plant additions to any home, orchids come in a surprising range of shapes, sizes and colours, all of which can be found at the London Orchid Show in Westminster. Browse from hundreds of orchids on sale by specialist growers from home and abroad, and receive expert advice on all aspects of orchid care.

The Botanical Art Show is back again this year with from 40 botanical artists, including Barbara Everard.

A new feature for this year is the first International Slipper Orchid Symposium on Sunday 20 March. There will be lectures by distinguished speakers on Paphiopedilum, Phragmipedium and Cypripedium; giving an insight in new breeding lines, cultivation and natural habitat.”

Preview evening: 18 March

This is the perfect start to the weekend. Relax with a complimentary glass of wine and be one of the first to wander among the displays and see the expert botanical art.

Venue

RHS Horticultural Halls, Greycoat Street and Vincent Square, London SW1P 2PE. Find directions and travel information

Opening times

Friday 18 March: 5.30pm - 8.30pm

Saturday 19 March: 10am - 5pm

Sunday 20 March: 10am – 5pm

Admission

RHS members £3, adults £5. Special rates are available in advance for groups of 10 or more, groups from RHS Affiliated Societies and groups from Orchid Societies.

Preview evening: £15 for RHS members (£20 non-members) and includes a glass of wine and re-entry to the show on the Saturday or Sunday.

Jeremy, Riverhill Garden Supplies Ltd

Gardening in containers

Gardening in Containers

People have been growing plants in containers for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians created temple gardens out of bare rock and transformed these terraces with container-grown trees and other plants. Similar, though less grand, gardening traditions developed in ancient Greece, Rome, China and the Americas.

Although planters were common in the gardens of the Middle Ages, it was not until the Italian Renaissance that they became essential to horticulture. In the late seventeenth century, Italian, Dutch and French container styles made a big impact on the development of English gardens. Ornate containers, tubs, pots and vases became features of great gardens and modest cottages alike.

Modern gardeners share many of the opportunities and challenges faced by these historic gardeners. Like them, we can grow plants in containers that under normal circumstances would never grow naturally where we live – including inside our home. With a little effort, you can create an artificial environment that will fit the needs of virtually any plant you might want to grow – camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons won’t mind if you have very alkaline garden soil, if they are planted in containers in an acidic potting mix that suits them perfectly.

However, container-grown plants are much more dependent than plants in the open garden, whose roots can stretch out and search for nutrients and moisture in the soil. We have to take care of most - if not all – of their needs.

Jeremy, Riverhill Garden Supplies Ltd 

Welcome to my first blog!

A blog - well apparently I must have one so let it begin!

Cup of tea, no sugar sitting in the office listening to BBC Radio 5 Live on the internet. Libya, price of oil, diesel costs - worrying - on both an ethical and personal level  - it bloody affects my business (and probably yours, sorry) - well the company VW Transporter that I drive now costs £110 to fill up and it's absolutely killing me. I hope you are all managing.

Right, rant over. Good news, March is upon us and spring is almost here although the weather today in west Kent has been more like that of a cold and wet January. It's quite depressing and its chilly nights like tonight when I feel privileged, even more so given the current news headlines. The heating is on, there is a roof over my families head and no doubt a lovely dinner being cooked downstairs by Heidi. I wonder what it is?

Okay, as the owner of an online garden supplies company I better start talking, sorry blogging about gardening! March is a long month, well longer than February so how about ten things for you to do in the next four weeks. I've managed to finish 5 and start 8, 9 does not apply to us – we have no pond!

Top 10 jobs this month

   1.      Plant shallots, onion sets and early potatoes

   2.      Protect new spring shoots from slugs

   3.      Plant summer-flowering bulbs

   4.      Lift and divide overgrown clumps of perennials

   5.      Top dress containers with fresh compost

   6.      Mow the lawn on dry days (if needed)

   7.      Cut back Corns (dogwood) and Salix (willow) grown for colourful winter stems

   8.      Weeds come back in to growth - deal with them before they get out of hand

   9.      Start feeding fish and using the pond fountain; remove pond heaters

  10.     Open the greenhouse or conservatory doors and vents on warm day

It appears that many of you are already planning ahead, month on month sales figures are up and I am beginning to wonder if I have under ordered this season from my suppliers. Cue an incoming sales call!

On the subject of pots and planters this really is something I am passionate about. Container gardening is a hobby of mine and that's probably why it accounts for over 75% of our online sales. This season I have decided to stock nine ranges and would appreciate your feedback once you have ordered or even better, once you have planted up (would love to see a picture).

Well thanks for reading, "dinner is ready." It smells like spaghetti bolognese! Bellissimo.

Jeremy, Riverhill Garden Supplies Ltd

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