Growing a sensory garden is simple way to create a space that’s not only amazing to look at, but great for mental well being. In our blog post, we’ll share what a sensory garden is and which plants we recommend to start off your very own sensory garden.
What is a sensory garden?
Sensory gardens should be filled with plants that activate all our senses; touch, smell, sound, sight and taste. To create a sensory space, focus on:
Verbena Bonariensis were dotted around almost every show garden on display this year. Whether as a background plant for a wild border or used as a centerpiece plant with their long stems, these beautiful purple flowers were definitely in the spotlight this year. A fantastic summer border plant with good pest resistance.
One of our favourite summer flowering perennials were heavily featured this year, the Echinacea. Also known as Coneflowers, they will flower from summer through late autumn, often still in flower as late as October. They make a bright and bold addition to the modern garden, look larger than life at the back of the border, and are a great way to attract butterflies and bees to the UK garden.
The beautiful giant blooms of Alliums took a center stage this year. Large varieties were spread all around the show, whilst smaller flowering varieties such as Allium Drumsticksand the half-spherical blooms of Allium Miami were featured in this year’s show gardens. An easy to grow and versatile range of plants that can work in any garden.
1. Pollinator Pals (Alliums,Achillea, Agapanthus)
Alliums, Achillea and Agapanthus were strongly featured in the show gardens at this year’s show. The show had a strong theme of pollinator-friendly planting and when it comes to looking after wildlife in the garden, these varieties are well-loved by bees and other pollinators.
Agapanthus are great showy plants with exotic looking flowers, Alliums are easy to grow, stylish plants with tall stems and large pom pom heads of flowers and Achillea are a stunning flowering herbaceous perennial with each flower head containing of hundreds of long lasting, tiny flowers. So, it’s easy to see how these beautiful summer contenders have been a popular choice this year.
Another big trend seen around the show gardens is creating layers of a variety of border plants. Ass seen with the brightly colours florals in the ‘Let’s Go Fly a Kite Garden’, the subtle contrasting tones in ‘The Perfumer’s Garden’ and the wild themed grassy border in the ‘Baroque Garden’.
Creating a layered garden soothes the eye while enhancing other aspects of the garden. Planting a garden in layers considers both vertical and horizontal eye appeal but also the aspect in which we view the area and seasonal interest. Planting a garden in layers will ensure that the highest plants are at the farthest eye point of the garden with medium sized in the middle and the lowest growing at the front.
Repeated patterns, colours, forms and textures throughout a border can create unique patterns in the landscape.
3. Harmonising Hostas
A key trend that was prominent in almost every show garden at this year event was Hostas.
Originating from China and Japan, Hostas are one of the best perennials for shade in the garden, grown in either pots, containers or borders. Renowned for the amazing foliage they produce and have become a common addition for the modern garden designer. Hosta plants are a great perennial plant which is often chosen for their attractive shaped leaves and summer flowers.
Hostas are ideal to add texture and colour to a garden planting scheme. They can be used to complement other plants by adding a contrasting look and style that enhances the overall interest and aesthetic of the scheme. There is a huge choice of varieties available to buy, covering all shapes, colours, and sizes for all tastes.
Ornamental grasses made their presence known in many show gardens this year. A range of herbaceous perennials and grasses were featured in ‘The Mindful Garden’, such as Festuca. The silvery needles of Festuca glauca were featured in the monochrome palette of the ‘Every Cloud has a Silver Lining Garden’, and long and varied grasses were displayed in the ‘Trail of Thoughts Garden’ to represent the fading of memory with colourful flowers giving way to a grassier and more muted landscape.
Grasses have long since proved their value in the landscape, moving from what was once considered a craze to one that is a solid cultural shift. As gardens have shifted toward lower maintenance and nature friendly, ornamental grasses have fit every bill that today’s gardener demands — while providing the contrast, texture and form that designers crave.
Who can forget the ever-changing blooms of hydrangeas. The use of beautiful fragrant shrubs were used for structure in a variety of the show gardens this year. The once overlooked hydrangeas of the past are now the trend setting plants of today.
With immense flower heads, Hydrangeas flaunt an old-fashioned charm that is hard to resist. Unrivaled in the shrub world for beautiful flowers, they are easy to cultivate, tolerate almost any soil, and produce abundant blooms. Hydrangeas are excellent for a range of garden sites from group plantings to shrub borders to containers.
Gardens undergo a stunning transformation in autumn. The leaves are falling, the days are getting shorter, and morning are slowly getting chillier as the summer weather fades away. Autumn gardens are a beautiful place to unwind, or for activities such as playing with children and pets. We’ve compiled a selection of autumn based activities, plant favourites and gardening tasks to occupy you this autumn season.
Top Nature activities
Autumn is a glorious season for visiting local botanical gardens, such as Tatton Park and Fletcher Moss. During autumn, gardens transform in to a rich tapestry of reds, golds and rich browns from the maples, rowans, beech spindle trees. The ground is blanketed in fallen leaves along with autumn crocuses, spectacular fungi and fruits galore; prickly beech nut husks, fir cones, maple keys and shiny conkers.
There’s not much to beat watching wildlife outside your own back door and with habitat loss and changes in the countryside meaning that an increasing number of native British animals are visiting domestic gardens, creating a wildlife area is a great start to encourage visitors with ready-made homes to tempt them to stay. By using a little wood, some nails and a few hand tools, you can soon be producing ideal homes for birds, bees and butterflies.
Autumn is a hot spot for festivities, as Halloween grows nearer and bonfire night follows soon after, a world of activities opens up during the fall season. From pumpkin picking at your local pumpkin patch, hosting campfires and adventures on camping trips, to attending local open air events such as firework displays, there is a variety of entertaining activities to celebrate autumn.
Top 5 Autumn Flowering Favourites
Even as the cold takes hold, there are a few tough little winter flowering bulbs that are happy to brave the cold and bring a welcome splash of colour to brighten the darkest days of the year.
Here are a selection of our autumn flowering ranges to add some beautiful colour for the colder seasons. For the best displays, a little forward planning is required. Begin to plant autumn and winter flowering bulbs, corms and tubers in borders and containers in spring.
The fragrant Autumn flowering crocus Sativus, have been grown for the expensive spice in Britain since the tudor times. When in flower look for the red ribbons and remove with tweezers. They can be dried and stored in an airtight container for up to two years. You need a lot of Sativus to harvest a significant crop of Saffron. It is fun to have a little home grown Saffron and the flower is delightful.
The sight (and fragrance) of the Cyclamen Hederifolium brings a much-needed boost to the garden, at a time when most other flowers are looking more than sorry for themselves. Cyclamen Hederifolium has a long flowering period before disappearing over the summer – but not without leaving behind a pretty carpet of heart-shaped marbled leaves. The Cyclamen Hederifolium originates from the Mediterranean, therefore it comes as a surprise that they are equally happy to grow in shade as they are in sun. Supplied in 13/15cm and 25+cm bulbs.
Crocus like flowers of clear, golden yellow, and they are perfect for planting in pots on the patio, for a delightful autumn floral displays. Alternatively, you could plant Sternbergia Lutea in a dull corner of the garden to brighten things up with their vibrant colour.
The cheerful ornamental flowers are daisy-shaped with bright yellow centers surrounded by petals in a variety shades of pinks, blues, violets and creamy whites. The leaves are narrow and dark green. The heavy cluster of flowers will produce an ever increasing mass of bold colour every year from August to well into the autumn. These little beauties only grow to 30-40cm, and are ideal for rockeries, dry stone walls or general ground cover where it will help to suppress weeds.
Cirrhosa Freckles is an evergreen variety that flowers a beautiful red bloom, with unique frosty white speckles. The Clematis Cirrhosa Freckles has a lot more colour than other varieties as the majority are white or creams, and when there is not a lot in flower in the garden at this time of year it’s very eye-catching!
Autumn Gardening Jobs
Autumn has arrived and although summer is coming to an end, there are still plenty of plants in your garden that can give colour and interest right through autumn and up to the beginning of winter.
Rake Up the Leaves
A few piles of leaves in out-of-the-way places – under hedges, for example – can provide shelter for overwintering wildlife. But remove leaves from your lawn, paths (which can be slippery) and borders. Use them to make leaf mound, works great as a soil improver.
Plant Spring Flowering Bulbs
If you want to fill your garden with colour next spring, plant bulbs from October to December, before the first frost hits. There are many choices for filling up your spring displays and borders next spring from daffodils, tulips, crocus, grape hyacinths and fritillarias.
To ensure vibrant displays for next spring, Make sure to tidy up your borders by removing dying leaves and collapsed stems from herbaceous perennials, either pulling by hand or cutting at the base with secateurs. Leave any stems that have attractive seed heads for birds to enjoy, and don’t forget to tidy up deciduous shrubs and trees that are getting a little out of hand with some careful pruning.