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BBC Gardeners' World Live Newsletter



Welcome to our special show newsletter from BBC Gardeners’ World Live

If you’ve already been to the BBC Gardeners’ World Live show at the NEC we’re sure you’ll have come away with lots of inspiration; and if you’re planning to go this weekend do make time to come and see us on stand G180 and meet the Unwins team.
But if you don’t want to leave your chair, that’s fine too; because we plan to bring the essence of the show to you with this newsletter, plus plenty of tips and gardening inspiration along the way.

However you spend the weekend enjoy your gardening!

PS. With so many special offers and our summer sale just days away check your emails and keep up to date with our sale news for all the latest offers.
We don’t want you to miss a bargain.


Scrumptious strawberries
As well as being ‘show’ time and prime gardening season June is also ‘tennis time’!
Wimbledon and strawberries go hand in hand and there is nothing as delicious as a ripe English strawberry, they’ve got a really distinct and intense flavour.
We have some scrumptious strawberry varieties on offer online.
But if you’ve visited us at the show you’ll know we’ve also got some new 60 day ‘Vibrant’ strawberries on the Unwins stand.
Bred by the fruit experts at East Malling Research.  They are called 60 day strawberries because you’ll be eating these fabulously sweet strawberries just 60 days after planting. Vibrant has massive crops of rich red, perfectly shaped strawberries with an unbeatable strawberry taste. 
The flowers and fruit are held well above the foliage, which helps pollination and keeps the fruit clean and easy to pick. It has roused massive interest for both home and commercial growers Early-cropping and high-yielding with rich-red, glossy, perfectly shaped berries; Vibrant tastes delicious and frequently produces a second crop later in the season. They’re new now but we’re convinced they’ll be customer favourites for years to come.
Supplies at the show are limited so if you do come along visit the stand (G180) and don’t miss out on a bargain


Add Value
While we’re on the subject of fruit there is a lot of emphasis at the BBC Gardeners World Live show on mixing ornamentals with edible plants for that fabulous cottage garden look.
As we look for great ways to add value and more ways to enjoy our gardens it’s a logical step to embody some old-fashioned cottage garden principles.
Mixing crops with ornamentals makes perfect sense and it’s a trend that has been growing more and more popular as food prices soar!
Fruit bushes don’t have to be relegated to the allotment or bottom of the garden they can be just as pretty as ornamental shrubs.
Blueberries, gooseberries and currants all make attractive leafy shrubs and taller fruit such as raspberries are excellent grown as ornamental screens. Buy fruit as established plants in 2 litre pots and they will be quicker to settle in and bear fruit.
Even a few strawberries in a pot will make the smallest garden productive and beautiful.


VegAdd some permanent plants.
In the excitement of planting bedding displays and filling containers don’t forget the stalwarts of any lovely garden: the permanent plants such as shrubs and herbaceous perennials.
Favourite plants such as Penstemon and bee-friendly monarda (bee balm) will keep flowering as long as weather stays warm. And if you keep deadheading the flowers they’ll flower for ages.
While shrubs; once established, add structure, colour and a real sense of maturity to an outside space.
Even if you garden on a tiny plot or have to grow your plants in containers, shrubs such as the new compact ‘Lavatera ‘Barnsley Baby’ are just as happy in a pot as in open ground.
We spotted some gorgeous shrubs at the show but not many had flowers as spectacular as our own show special: Polygala myrtifolia.
 This shrub has fringed sweet pea like flowers that close by night, but in the day they are magnets for pollinating insects.  It has first flush of flowers in spring and then repeat flowers throughout the year. .Once established they’ll be in bloom from April-October and make a vigorous, bushy shrub. They are ideal plants for a container but it’s sensible to give them some winter protection in colder areas- the plants are hardy to -10C. 


Mix it up! If you don’t have a very large garden but still want to pack crops in among ornamental plants and flowers it’s not too late to get sweetcorn planted. I like to team it with a few morning glory plants. Of all the ipomoea ‘Heavenly Blue’ is my absolute favourite. It’s just the most intense sky blue - a colour we haven’t seen too much of so far this summer!!
Ipomoea twine their way up the sweetcorn stems and they also guarantee a bright display while the sweetcorn gets into its stride. No one gives the sweetcorn a second thought once those huge blue trumpets start blaring, well not until the cobs ripen of course!
Give them both a warm sunny site. Not too sheltered though because sweetcorn is wind pollinated, so it will need a bit of breeze for the best crop.


At The Show...

At The show: Make notes and grab a bargain
If you’re coming to the show be sure to bring a notebook (as well as your chequebook!) and make some notes on what you saw, what inspired you and what you’d like to copy.
It’s easy to get enthusiastic while you’re there but once you get home it all becomes a blur. What was that plant...? Who sold it...? What was it called...? And how much was it...? These are all questions you should try and get answers for while you’re at the show, not weeks later.
Luckily so many nurseries and suppliers are online it’s not impossible to track plants down.
And armed with a few notes you’ll find it a lot easier to get exactly what you wanted.
Show bargains are another matter they need instant decisions and immediate action. Most exhibitors will be offering something special at the show to encourage customers to seize the moment!

We are no exception with free postage and packing and lots of special offers- PLUS a chance to win over £300 of gardening products.



At The show: Get inspired
Pretty plants and spectacular flowers will never go out of fashion and they certainly featured on many of the displays at the show. Brilliant bedding and patio plants such as diascias and nemesias were packed into containers and hanging baskets, some were just there to add pizzazz to the stands but they proved how valuable these plants are for lifting even the most mundane space. Sundiascias are relative new comers to the bedding scene but like diascias and nemesias they’ll just flower and flower until the frosts.

We spent ages looking for the perfect mix of container plants and we’re sure we’ve got pretty close to perfection with our colour-themed basket and container mixes

The outdoor gardens have already been judged –see if you agree with the judges decisions!
They outdoor gardens were varied and proved just how diverse and exciting gardening could be. From tiny plots to good sized gardens they were imaginative and packed full of good ideas. It was easy to see which were the favourites with the public – the romantic cottage style gardens were crowded with admiring visitors. But that didn’t mean there weren’t some exciting modern gardens too. Brilliant orange painted walls featured in a couple of the show gardens and clever planting was everywhere. What came through very strongly was just how enthusiastic us British gardeners are.


A great showcase, despite the weather
It’s been an extremely odd year horticulturally speaking. In many parts of the UK the growing season is at least a month behind, even the normally sunny Channel Islands, where lots of our early bedding and vegetable plants are grown had snow this winter!
All over Britain there should be roses blooming and summer perennials in full bloom -but so far the tulips are still visible and in many gardens the vestiges of daffodils and other early spring flowers have only just faded.
Our growers and the other exhibitors at the show have all had the same problems; they told us: “Not enough warmth, not enough sun and a slow start!”
But despite the weather growers and exhibitors have put on a great display! The halls at the NEC are packed with colourful plants and great products, it’s a gardeners’ paradise.
Come and see us there if you can


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