about our plants, seedlings, bulbs and seeds
bulbs, tubers corms and pips
Bulbs, tubers, corms and pips are dormant plants that are all planted in a similar way – they will arrive ready to be potted up or planted directly into the ground.
We only sell top size, best quality bulbs, tubers and corms from our long-standing, trusted suppliers. They will last longer and produce more flowers than the smaller sizes that are often more cheaply available.
Our bulbs may be described by size, expressed as the circumference at its widest point. For example, a 10/12 bulb is between 10 and 12 centimetres round at its widest point; a 12/+ bulb is 12cm or larger.
Bulbs are usually egg-shaped, with a pointy end that goes up. The roots emerge from the basal plate (rough part) at the rounder end, so plant them pointy end up.
Corms look similar to bulbs, but flatter.
Tubers look like a bunch of salamis gathered together on a stem. You may find some parts get detached but don’t worry, the main stalk and the tubers directly below are the important parts.
Rhizomes are underground stems that grow horizontally.
annuals, perennials and biennials
Annuals are plants that go through their entire lifecycle in one growing season: growing from seed, flowering, setting seed and dying.
Biennials are plants whose lifecycle spans two years, so they flower and produce seeds in their second year.
Perennials are plants that can live for more than two years.
Please see below for a key to our symbols.
For more detailed descriptions on these and other symbols we use on our website, please see our article on Understanding types of plants.
bulbs in the green
Certain bulbs – bluebells, aconites and snowdrops – do better planted in active growth, with their leaves on, rather than in a dormant state. They’ll settle in quite quickly, as it’s like lifting a clump from your own garden.
The bulbs are lifted in late winter/early spring, while the bulb is in flower or after flowering when they are beginning to die back.
You’ll need to plant your bulbs as soon as possible to the same depth as they were before – you can see this from where the leaves turn white.
In the autumn or early spring, some of our plants will be despatched whilst entering or in a dormant state and there may be little or no sign of growth above the soil level. The plants are healthy and at their prime for planting. Once in the ground they will establish a strong root system before new growth appears in spring. Having a stronger root system should mean you will need to water less, come the summer months.
plant, seedlings and rooted cuttings
Our plants, seedlings and rooted cuttings come in a range of sizes – see which ones are available for your chosen plants on each product page. For an idea of what to expect when your plants arrive, please see the examples below:
kitchen garden plants
Fruit and veg plants come in a variety of different formats. For more information on plants and seedlings, please see above. For formats specific to our kitchen garden plants, please see below.
We sell three potato cropping types (please see individual product pages for specific growing information):
Early varieties are best for small, new potatoes and are ideal for growing in bags or containers. First earlies are usually planted February-April for harvest 10 weeks later. Second earlies are usually planted March-May for harvest 10 weeks later.
Maincrop varieties produce larger potatoes for baking and roasting, and are best planted in the ground or spacious container. They are usually planted May-June for harvesting 10-16 weeks later.
Potatoes are sold bagged by weight (usually 1kg or 1.5kg), so the count may vary slightly.
Most of our garlic is sold as bulbs, except our elephant garlic, which is sold as a given number of individual cloves. Each clove of garlic will grow into a mature bulb.
onion and shallot sets
The term ‘sets’ is used to distinguish these from mature bulbs; these items are young bulbs, from which mature bulbs are grown. Onion and shallot sets are sold bagged by weight (usually 250g), so the count may vary slightly.
asparagus and rhubarb crowns
Crowns are the dormant roots of mature plants, ready to be planted out.
We sell our asparagus in sets of 10, and our rhubarb in sets of three.
strawberry bare roots and raspberry canes
These will arrive as a dried bundle, and should be soaked overnight before planting out.