Spring flowers at Ryton gardens

How to grow flowers

Flowers are often referred to as ‘ornamentals’, but they don’t just look good, they can be an essential part of your organic growing, attracting beneficial insects, used in companion planting in your veg patch, and some you can even eat!
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Flowers this month

Mulch bare soil, making sure it is moist first. Mulches retain water and suppress weeds. Use a thick layer of last autumn's leaves, several layers of newspaper covered with grass clippings or even composted wood chippings.

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Your organic garden in June

Early summer in the organic garden is full of colourful new growth. This makes a busy - but lovely - month in the garden. Keep on top of weeds and remember the two organic principles: good soil management, and diverse planting to encourage plenty of beneficial wildlife.

Ladybird on a Nasturtium leaf

The Principles of Organic Gardening

Organic gardening works within natural systems and cycles. Find out how to practice the five principles.

Frequently asked questions

  • Garden Organic does not advise any painting of pruning wounds. It is best to leave the cut open to allow the tree to heal naturally with no substance impairing the callus formation.

    For specific details of magnolia pruning check out the Dorling Kindersley/RHS publication 'RHS Pruning and Training Manual' by Christopher Brickell & David Joyce. It has excellent diagrams and easy to follow instructions.

  • Poinsettia is a native of Mexico, so it is likely that because of our reduced light levels in this country your plant will get some yellowing and leaf fall. To keep the plant in good condition do not let temperatures fall below 13°C (55°F). Place in a well lit location. Water thoroughly but wait until the compost is quite dry before watering again. Overwatering is the most common cause of failure in poinsettia.

    To make the plant bloom again for next Christmas, in early spring, cut back the stems to 10cm (4in). Keep the compost almost dry, place in a cool shady position. In early May, water and re-pot the plant, shoots will then soon appear. Remove some of the new shoots to leave 4-5 stems (use the prunings as cuttings). When pruning this plant, wear gloves and long sleeves as the sap can cause irritation.

    As the plant requires careful light control to make the plant bloom again, in September cover the plant with a black polythene bag from early evening until the next morning so the plant is in total darkness for 14 hours. Continue daily for eight weeks, then treat as normal and hopefully the plant should flower for next Christmas time.

  • Clematis montana should be pruned after flowering , so May is ideal. Cut out any dead shoots, taking care with the untangling. Then cut back any shoots you feel are too tall or are straying the wrong way. It's not very scientific because clematis generally responds well to hard pruning and is hard to damage.

Fact sheets - flowers

Our member fact sheets contain in-depth information and guidance on a range of topics. Log in or join us to access them.

  • Flowers

    Edible flowers

    This Garden Organic member fact sheet gives detailed information about edible flowers.

  • Wildlife gardening

    Create a bee border

    Plant a border to attract bees into your garden. Follow the steps on our handy member fact sheet to create the perfect patch.

  • Pests and diseases

    Rose blackspot

    This Garden Organic member fact sheet gives detailed information about rose blackspot.

  • Flowers

    Flowers for the wildlife garden

    This Garden Organic fact sheet provides detailed information on flowers for the wildlife garden.