Hazy lavender, silvery foliage, aromatic herbs – these are the first plants to spring to mind when I think about a Mediterranean garden. But it’s not just the right selection of plants that will conjure up that holiday feeling. It’s the whole caboodle – the laid-back, make the most of the outdoor space, relaxed ambience of a week in Provence – I want to recreate!
For gardeners dealing with the real thing, Mediterranean climates can be problematic – trying to keep a collection of plants alive when every drop of water is precious. Fortunately, many typical Mediterranean plants are drought-tolerant and are often able to cope with nutrient-poor soil. With our increasingly unpredictable weather patterns, growing more drought-tolerant plants in...
There’s something deeply satisfying about getting a bargain. Grabbing that floaty cardi you’d been eyeing up, now with a hefty discount tag attached to it. Booking a stay at a hotel that would have been out of your price range if it hadn’t had its rates reduced. Fortunately, being a plant-lover and a bargain-hunter is not mutually exclusive!
Garden centres are devilish places. They beguile and bewitch and tempt you with plants at the peak of their flowering season. If you pick up one small pot, it sits there forlornly, bereft of its friends and neighbours, in danger of tipping over, without another pot or two to offer support.
So you pop another plant in – and the combination of...
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,...
Top marks to those easy-going plants which perform spectacularly and never ask for much in return. Here are some more of my favourite low maintenance plants.
1. Tiarella ‘Iron Butterfly’
A stunning, clump-forming perennial, with attractive foliage and sprays of delicate flowers. Tiny, starry, white flowers, opening from pink buds, are produced in late spring, sometimes followed by a second flush in summer. The gorgeous, deeply-lobed leaves are mid-green with maroon markings and provide useful ground cover in woodland conditions.
2. Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’
A mass of golden, daisy-like flowerheads are carried on upright stems from late summer to mid-autumn. A superb, late-flowering perennial, the cheerful yellow rays surround prominent black-brown, cone-shaped discs.
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...