Made for Mum
Make Mother's Day personal this year by giving your favourite gardener a personalised present. Hannah Stephenson leafs through some of the best gardening gifts to make your mum feel like she's one in a million.
There are many gifts for gardeners on Mother's Day, but personalising them can make all the difference. Whether you want a gift monogrammed or inscribed, or even want to find a plant named after your mum, there are plenty of gifts to choose from.
Name of the Rose
Try giftaplant.com, which has a wealth of feminine-named roses including Penelope, Sarah, Nicola, Lisa, Jill and Carol, as well as a host of other plants including wild geraniums, camellia, agapanthus and hibiscus named after women. Perhaps the perfect choice is the hybrid tea rose 'Mum in a Million' (left), a pink variety with perfumed blooms from summer through to autumn, available from specialist rose grower Style Roses (bare root £11.95; bush rose potted, £13.95, styleroses.co.uk; 01406 424089).
'Loving Mum', a vibrant, lightly-scented orange tea rose, and 'My Mum', a floribunda with red blooms and silver reverse, are also ideal gifts from Style Roses.
Have a name or message embroidered on to this handy gardening apron, ideal for holding secateurs, string, plant markers and other ephemera and available in green, pink or black (£14.99, gettingpersonal.co.uk).
The apron has a handy double pocket on the front for gardening tools, and the front is beautifully embroidered with a stylish flower design in a thick, white stitch. Add any name, up to 12 characters, and any message, up to 18 characters.
Thanks a Bunch
Feed her need to plant with a 'Thanks A Bunch, Mum' plant set, featuring a gift box personalised with your own custom message. Inside is a terracotta pot, instructions, seed paper confetti, coir compost disc and pewter 'Thanks a bunch, Mum' plant marker. Choose from seed paper confetti in white forget-me-nots, green (basil and parsley) or yellow (mixed flowers). Available for £15, notonthehighstreet.com.
All Gloved Up
Treat her to a pair of gorgeous monogrammed leather gardening gloves which will keep thorns at bay and look stylish at the same time. They're handmade in the UK in soft leather with a suede cuff, and can be personalised with her name or initials (£39.99, buyagift.co.uk).
There are many gimmicky, pretty fork and trowel sets on the market, but this tough-quality carbon steel set from Big Little Things provides style as well as sturdiness and can be personalised with a name or message as well.
The handles are made from ash timber with leather wrist straps included. The personalised message will be the same on both the fork and trowel handle, while the set comes in a presentation box (£24.95, biglittlethings.co.uk).
Transform a boring garden fence or patio wall with a sturdy half crate, based on the traditional apple crate concept, which can be used to show off your plants and garden ornaments. Made of sustainable treated pine, it can be personalised with 24 characters on one line.
If your loved one would prefer to use it for growing plants, it includes a plant liner and can easily be planted up with seedlings or smaller plants in pots. If one is not enough, you could always start a collection (£26.95, plantabox.co.uk).
Sign of the Times
Lovingly handmade from reclaimed or upcycled wood, this personalised vintage sign has a distressed appearance and is finished with a rustic wire for hanging and a waterproof seal, making it ideal for indoor or outdoor use. Available in seven vintage colours, you can have any message painted on to it in classic black lettering (£42.99 from ijustloveit.co.uk). Personalise the wooden sign with any message up to two lines of 15 characters.
Best of the Bunch
For me, the narcissus evokes the bright, cheery optimism of spring, in shades ranging from zingy yellow to cream with deep orange cups, in a variety of shapes and sizes from hoop-petticoats to trumpets, double-flowered and fragrant. Even just a small tub of narcissi near your patio door can brighten your mood in spring.
Most large types naturalise well in grass and look more effective when planted en masse as single varieties. Smaller ones are ideal for pots, as varieties with heavy double blooms often flop and break when grown in containers. In pots, go for types such as 'Bell Song', which has 20cm stems carrying two or three delicate blooms with ivory-white petals and short, soft salmon trumpets, or the sweetly scented 'Minnow', a multi-headed type with lemon-yellow flowers, which goes well planted with forget-me-nots. Daffodils should be planted in autumn in soil with good drainage at three times the depth of the bulb. If you have heavy soil, add horticultural grit to the planting hole. They will last longer in light shade, but they will also thrive in full sun.
Good Enough to Eat
It's now time to prune autumn-fruiting raspberries. Canes need cutting down to a few centimetres above ground level in late winter and early spring. The plants produce their fruits from August or September onwards on canes that grew in the summer. Once you've cut the canes to ground level, watch for new shoots appearing in late spring and tie them in to the supporting wires without thinning.
Burn the prunings to stop the onslaught of fungal disease such as cane spot. New plants should be cut down to 25cm after planting. While it may not be technically correct, autumn raspberries could be grown back like a hedge in a bed 30cm wide instead of keeping them correctly spaced. That way you should get large crops from a very limited space if you feed and mulch generously, although you will need to thin them out after a few years.
- Good autumn-fruiting varieties include 'All Gold', a yellow type, and 'Joan J', a spine-free variety which freezes well.
- Sow seeds of summer bedding indoors, including pelargoniums, nicotiana, petunia, salvia and verbena.
- Prune large-flowered clematis in Group 2 by shortening long shoots down to a pair of swelling leaf buds.
- Remove badly placed, damaged or diseased branches of apple and pear trees.
- Continue to order summer-flowering bulbs, tubers and corms.
- Prune any remaining winter-flowering shrubs which have finished blooming.
- Ensure that tree ties are secure but not too tight.
- Continue winter digging if weather permits.
- Sow tomato seeds for growing in a cool greenhouse.
- Bring strawberries in containers into the greenhouse for early fruit.
- Prune the old flowering heads of hydrangeas, left on through the winter to give some protection against frost.