Some plants are particularly versatile and unfussy, making themselves at home and seeming to thrive wherever they come to rest. Most plants however have a preference for a particular set of growing conditions or cannot cope if the temperature gets too high or the water supply too low. Keen gardeners may relish the challenge of coaxing a particular favourite plant to prosper, but if you don’t have the time to lovingly cosset your choice specimens, getting the plants in the right place to start with is the way to go.
Plants for Dry Conditions
If you garden in hot, dry conditions, it’s worth seeking out plants which will thrive in this situation. With climate change giving us unpredictable weather patterns,...
With leaden skies and the days getting shorter and colder, it was time to inject a splash of colour on our front door step!
1. Skimmia, heuchera and winter pansies
A trip to the local garden centre is a great pick-me-up at any time of year, but on a chilly November day it was a heart-warming experience! Fairy lights twinkled and deliciously cute, fluffy rabbits waved from their glittery warrens as I passed through the Christmas grotto and out into the plant sales area. Of course, there wasn’t the huge array of colourful flowers you’d find at other times of the year. Still, there was plenty of choice for garden lovers hoping to cheer up their winter flower beds –...
The trees are looking spectacular at the moment and it’s hard to resist taking yet another photograph of the glowing colours at canopy level. But down on the ground, there are some hardy perennials which are still flowering their socks off!
Here’s my choice for the best 5 perennials for autumn colour.
These are stunning perennials with daisy-like flowers on an upright, clump-forming plant. They flower profusely from mid-summer into the autumn.
Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’ has glorious autumnal colours – fiery orange-red rays surrounding a velvety brown central disc. The rays reflex strongly as the flowers age. It has been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
‘Pipsqueak’ has yellow rays surrounding a velvety yellow and...
Cottage gardens are all about abundance of planting and random drifts of colour. Ground covering plants weave through the planting, spilling over border edges and stitching everything together. In the same way, scattering the seeds of annuals amongst the permanent planting will plug any gaps and contribute to the random charm of the design.
Annuals are plants which germinate, flower and set seed all in one year. They die after flowering, but many will helpfully self-seed leaving a...
By their very nature, cottage gardens are charmingly informal and unstructured. A sea of colourful flowers all swaying at the same height could end up lacking interest and a focal point, but, fortunately, several of the classic cottage garden plants naturally provide striking architectural structure, in the form of tall spires of flowers.
Hollyhocks, delphiniums and foxgloves all create vertical accents amongst low-growing flowers.
Delphiniums are stately perennials in ravishing shades of blues, pinks and mauves, as well as white. They are...
If you’re just a new green shoot in the world of gardening, you’ll find there’s a whole new language to learn!
Seasoned gardeners will casually mention their tender perennials, talk of lifting their corms and dividing their tubers, or bemoan the chlorosis of their blueberries. If you’re nodding sagely, thinking yes, that reminds me – must go and do a bit of rhizome splitting and add sequestered iron to the shopping list, then this blog post is clearly not for you.
On the other hand, if you’re not sure whether they are discussing their ailments or brass bands, then you may find this post helpful!
When I potted up my first large container, I chose some flowers from the garden...
Traditional cottage garden favourites are daisy-style flowers, such as asters, fleabane daisies, coreopsis and echinacea.
Coreopsis verticillata ‘Grandiflora’ has cheery yellow, starry flowerheads, carried in abundance on wiry stems in summer.
Asters come in shades of white, pink, purple and blue. I love Aster pyrenaeus ‘Lutetia’, for its starry flowerheads in palest lilac, with yellow centres. It has a long flowering season from mid-summer to mid-autumn and is completely resistant to powdery mildew – a disease which plagues many asters.
If you love charm over elegance, profusion over minimalism, natural haphazardness over control and order, the chances are that you love the cottage garden style.
Planting will be exuberant, with self-seeding annuals and low-maintenance perennials packed in together and spilling over border edges. Climbers scramble over fences, garden gates and trees.
Historically, gardens for pleasure were the preserve of the wealthy. Cottage gardens were for the poorer levels of society and were purely functional. The first cottage gardens met the needs of early tenant farmers, by providing the vegetables, herbs and fruit which formed the mainstay of their diet.
Vegetables included garlic, onions, cabbages and beans. A fruit tree here and there offered shade, as well as its crops of...
Sultry, seductive, with a slight hint of chocolate – my first climbing plant was Akebia quinata. I fell in love with its photograph and set off to track one down for my very own!We had just invested in a beautiful pergola. It was delivered – a collection of posts and panels and a hefty stash of 3in nails – and assembled by a local builder. It was all looking rather good. Until the moment when we realised that we still had a rather large collection of nails and, on closer inspection, discovered that the builder had gone home before securing the rafters. And, right on cue, came the first gust of wind and rumble of thunder. The pergola’s first night...