Meet The Team – Dan

Posted: 11 February 2024

Author: Luke

We’re celebrating another work anniversary here at Smith’s, and this month it’s Dan.

Dan is our plant area manager and has been with us for six years now. Unsurprisingly, you’ll often find Dan in our plant area caring for the plants or moving plant benches around to achieve the best look.

Dan is always about and happy to offer plant advice. You may have already recognised him from starring as Monty Dan on our socials, sharing his tips and tricks.

Favourite Spring Bulb:

Dan is one of our plant buyers here too and one of his areas includes the potted bulbs. Although it can be hard to choose, his favourite has got to be Snowdrops, as they bring the promise of Spring.

He always buys and plants “in the green” as this is the best way to guarantee that the bulbs will take. This means that they have been lifted from the ground once they have flowered, but still in a state of active growth –  ready to be replanted into a new area of your garden. 

He has lots of Snowdrops growing in his garden at home: Galanthus Nivalis (single flowering), Galanthus Flore Pleno (double flowering) and Galanthus Elwessi (giant flowering). 

Favourite Spring Flowering Climber:

Dan’s favourite spring flowering climber is Clematis Armandii. He has two in his garden at home, they have beautiful white star shaped flowers and offer a lovely scent. This particular variety is also evergreen, so offers screening in the garden all year round. He is currently in anticipation of the flowers.

Regular pruning of this clematis will encourage stronger growth and an even spread of flowers. But be sure to wait until around mid spring to start this in order to avoid any frosts damaging the plant.

Allotment Tips for February & March:

At this time of year, Dan is able to reap the rewards of his edible harvest. This includes brussels sprouts and parsnips. He finds that the parsnips are sweeter after having a good frost on them.

This year, in his non edible section of the allotment, he is growing a whopping 21 varieties of Tulips and 10 varieties of daffodils. He selects a range of varieties from very early daffs to late tulips to ensure a wave of colour throughout the spring season. 

A few of his favourites:

Tulip ‘Queen of the Night’, this is a beautiful deep purple colour alongside the Tulip ‘Dordogne’ which is deep orange in colour. Both of these varieties flower in late April. 

Daffodil ‘Tamara’, a yellow trumpet variety that will flower from mid February, and the Narcissus ‘Flower Record’ for its wonderful white outer petals with a yellow cup that’s edged in orange. These need to be planted as a bulb in the Autumn season, but can be ready bought potted during February.

Dan usually plants pumpkins and squash or sweetcorn on rotation to cover the growth of the daffodils when they have finished to maximise efficiency in space. He also grows Tulips in bulb baskets and lifts them once the flowering has finished. The baskets allow for ease in changeover of seasons.

Dan’s Top Tip for going into Spring:

Sowing seeds can be exciting as it brings new beginnings in the garden, but try not to sow too early. Early sowing can unfortunately lead to issues down the road like damping off, leggy growth and late germination. They even usually get overtaken by later sowings.

It is best to start sowing in Mid March as light levels begin to rapidly increase and the temperatures during the day, and even night are much milder.

If you have any enquiries drop us a message!

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