Spring update – How to Plant Pots for All Year Round Interest

Dianthus for garden pots - from the Weatherstaff blog

Last spring, I decided it was time to give my little courtyard a make-over, by potting up three matching containers. My challenge was to choose plants which would provide interest all year round and continue to look good the following year. It was hard work restraining myself over the cold months but, eventually, in early spring, I allowed myself to indulge in my favourite pastime at the garden centre!

Buying plants earlier in the year means that the plants are small – and I did have to take some on faith that they were going to survive and grow more than the one flimsy leaf they came home with – but they are usually cheaper, so you can get a...

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Gardening Mediterranean Style

Windowboxes of red pelargoniums for a Mediterranean style garden

In the summer, you can smell the herbs on the air as you head south towards Provence, but our visit at Easter was a tad too early for that. The morning and evening air was chilly, but by mid-morning the sun was hot enough to cast off cardigans and enjoy an alfresco café noisette.

Not too early though for the vines to be in full leaf or for red pelargoniums to be flowering brightly in window boxes at wooden-shuttered windows.

Scented Jasminum officinale – summer jasmine – was already clambering over stone walls and above blue-painted windows in St Rémy de Provence.

I’ve admired the flower displays on French roundabouts before, but here the road islands have a distinctly Provençal...

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Long, narrow gardens and other awkward shapes

Polystichum munitum, Myosotis sylvatica, the frosted foliage of Brunnera macrophylla Jack Frost and new buds opening on Centaurea monana - woodland plants from the Weatherstaff garden design software

When is a triangle not a triangle?

Our main garden is an elongated, right-angled triangle, bordered by a wild hedge edging a country lane. When we first moved in, the entire garden was laid to lawn and could be viewed in all its triangular, tapering glory! Pythagoras might have been delighted with the opportunity to experiment with the properties of our triangle. We were more perplexed by the dilemma of how to make a triangle look more like a rectangle!

In our vast expanse of grassness, we were also keen to add interest by creating pathways and hidden areas, as well as planting up flower borders to soften the boundaries.

We ended up making the lawn area smaller, with...

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5 Easy Containers for Stunning Winter Colour

Container for winter interest

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 –...

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Move On Up!

Actinidia kolomikta in landscape plan

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...

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Finding the Perfect Plant – Deep Shade

Cornus canadensis shady garden plan

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 Deep Shade

If your garden is dark and gloomy on even the brightest day, you may have resigned yourself to a colour palette ranging from forest green to...

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The Sociable Little Campanula

Eschscholzia mexicana and Geranium landscaping design software

When we first began planting up our garden, my parents dug up from their own garden and donated fast ground-covering plants, like pretty blue campanula, to help cover some of the wilder areas at the top of the garden. These did the trick nicely, romping off to cover up the bare soil and could be cut back whenever we found a choicer specimen to replace it with.

We soon found though that the cheery, bell-shaped flowers seemed to get on remarkably well with whatever we chose to partner it with. It is just the perfect purple-blue to set against yellow, orange and pink, as well as making a great partner for silver and dusky or darker shades of purple. And,...

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Low Maintenance Gardening

Ajuga and Galium Easy Care Garden Ideas Blog

Come spring, I race out into the garden and pit my weeding fork against the clock. I start off with the flower bed nearest the back door and work my way round to the top of the garden… and then start all over again.

I could make life easier for myself and pave it all over, but I want to look out of my window and see colour, not concrete. Once bitten by the gardening bug, it’s hard to resist the temptation to dig up one more flower bed or squeeze in one more plant. But when family and working life means that the time you have for gardening is limited, it’s time to look at ways to make managing...

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Making a Wildlife Garden

Wildlife Friendly Plant Echinops bannaticus 'Taplow Blue' Gardening Software

One of life’s great pleasures is taking a morning stroll to admire the day-to-day changes in our patch of Eden. Soft, downy buds appearing on the Magnolia stellata – more numerous with each passing year, the bronzy, unfurling fronds of woodland-loving ferns, the exquisite scent of summer roses, evoking memories of crushing petals to make ‘perfume’ as a child in my grandfather’s garden.

But there is something even more special in observing others sharing our garden with us. Counting the different varieties of butterfly on the dancing clusters of lavender-pink Verbena bonariensis. The low buzz as you pass the lavender border. A thrush, driven by freezing temperatures, squeezing on to the bird table to enjoy its lunch.

Many gardeners...

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Choosing a Garden Style

Different garden styles evoke different feelings and emotions. While you may appreciate or even admire many gardens you visit or see photographs of, they will not necessarily be the blueprint you want to follow for your own garden borders. But if you’re planning to spend some time changing your garden either piecemeal or in one fell swoop, it’s useful to think about the atmosphere you would like to create in your own garden. It’s a personal thing – reflecting your own taste and individuality.

What’s your style?

Read through the style guides below. One or more of these will instinctively feel right for you – summing up how you feel about your garden (or the garden you are planning to create)....

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