Dahlias are an impressive flower to showcase in the garden. Their large blooms and exciting variety of colours and shapes creates an incredible display throughout the summer.
Full of life and vibrancy, it’s easy to see why they’re a seasonal favourite among gardener’s. Although Dahlias offer plenty to the garden on their own, discovering new and exciting Dahlia companions can take your displays to new heights. With that in mind, we have chosen our favourite Dahlia companion plants to consider for your summer gardens.
Echinacea’s produce beautiful blooms, each one boasting with colour. Flowers from July to September and will add dimension to your Dahlia displays.
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Geraniums are often considered a British summer garden staple. Their wide range and variety provides you with plenty of option for your seasonal display.
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Originating from South Africa, Crocosmia boasts with beautiful blooms in vibrant shades throughout the summer. They’re also incredibly hardy, making them a perfect Dahlia companion plant.
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Last but by no means the least is the beautiful Verbena. Blooming all season long, this versatile flower is an essential summer garden addition whether planting with Dahlias or on their own.
Pelargoniums, commonly known as geraniums, are a large, diverse group of beautiful, ornamental bedding plants. They come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and wonderful colours making them one of the staples of many gardeners. They are used to provide colourful displays in beds and borders, hanging baskets and all manner of containers, plus indoors and in conservatories and greenhouses. From upright, climbing or cascading, to single and double flowering, our complete range is sure to have something that’s perfect for you. All of our Pelargoniums are UK-grown plants that are specially grown in dedicated UK nurseries.
Gardeners love to grow Pelargonium species for their long lasting blooms and beautiful vibrant flowers for . So let’s take a tour of the different varieties of Geraniums and their own unique characteristics.
Trailing Geraniums are perfect for producing a stunning tumbling mass of colour and create a marvelous sight when gently cascading over the side of summer baskets and planters. Also named ivy Geraniums due to the resemblance of this geranium’s leaves with ivy, ivy Geraniums boast glossy leaves rather the fleshy, slightly curled at the edges leaves seen in zonals.
The biggest feature of these geraniums is that they are of the trailing type and can be found tumbling out of hanging baskets with their cascades of pretty flowers. Their blooms can be either single or semi double for beautiful displays of colour.
The beautiful Trailing Geranium Mixed produces an avalanche of colour often seen in Germany and Alpine Europe. This prolific flowering mixture will produce a colourful and vibrant swathe of blooms that trail 60-70cm. They require little attention and are drought resistant, perfect for hanging baskets and window boxes.
Like the well-loved traditional single Geranium, this superb double trailing variety is incredibly hardy and flowers continuously throughout the summer, producing distinctive, scalloped foliage and dense clusters of ruffled, double flower heads for twice the amount of beauty.
These double trailing Geraniums have a fantastic cascading habit making them perfect for hanging baskets. The rosebud like flowers are bursting with a vibrant bright red colour that will create an eye catching display whether planted on their own or mixed with other trailing plants.
These upright varieties look great in pots and containers and can be used in your garden borders and rockeries to great effect during spring and summer. Here is a guide to the different species of patio Geraniums.
Zonal and Grandeur
In addition to the name Zonal Geraniums, they are often called garden or common geraniums. Zonal geraniums are a type of Pelargonium that get their name from the “zone” of red, blue, or purple colour striping through the middle of their leaves, so this physical attribute is a helpful way to distinguish a zonal Geranium. Also bushy plants and mainly used for containers and bedding, these Geraniums have been hybridized for size and an abundance and colors of flowers.
Geranium Grandeur Power Rose Splash will produce stunning flowers in summer. Producing strong, vibrant flowers with luxurious bushy foliage at the base, this variety is great for growing on the patio or in containers where they can be fully appreciated. Also, with their fine foliage, they are a great addition to a bed or border.
These climbing Antik geraniums are extremely vigorous growers, able to reach around 150cm tall in a single season. These giant Geraniums come in a great range of colours and will create a beautiful display when planted in large containers.
Geranium Antik Pink is a gorgeous pink blush which deep green foliage. Perfect for a large container display as illustrated to enhance your patio space. With supports these vigorous geraniums will climb up to 2m and create a true showstopping piece in the summer time.
Our F1 Geraniums do not disappoint, producing an abundance of rounded, papery flowers in rich scarlet red above palmately lobed foliage. We only use finest quality F1 seeds to produce compact yet robust plug plants with well-established root systems.
Producing an abundance of rounded, papery flowers, our Geranium Century F1 Red will add a touch of elegance to the summer garden with their rich scarlet red blooms and palmately lobed foliage. These Geraniums are the perfect choice for providing masses of colour to your summer flower beds and patio containers.
Flowering from June to September this prolofic flowering and colourful mixture of Geraniums produces an abundance of bright colours to liven up the summer garden. These versatile plants look fantastic when planted on the patio in containers or as a stunning flower bed display. Also worth a try on window boxes.
Plant out Pelargoniums in May through to June (after the danger of frost has passed).
Pelargoniums can be grown in borders or containers. In borders or beds, plant in fertile, neutral to alkaline soil. Most prefer full sun. Regal cultivars prefer partial shade and zonal cultivars will tolerate some shade.
Dig a good sized hole, big enough to easily accommodate the rootball. Add a layer of organic matter – such as compost or planting compost – to the base of the hole and fork it in.
Place the rootball in the planting hole and adjust the planting depth so that it is planted at the same depth as it was originally growing and the top of the rootball is level with the soil surface.
Mix in more organic matter with the excavated soil and fill in the planting hole.
Water in well, apply a granular general feed over the soil and add a 5-7.5cm (2-3in) deep mulch of well-rotted garden compost or bark chippings around the root area to conserve soil moisture and help keep down weeds.
Wildflowers have been referenced in British literature, poetry and music for centuries, from Shakespeare to D.H. Lawrence. Wildflower meadows and grasslands are our most diverse habitats, rich in wildlife, beauty, history and folklore. So, since the first week of May is #NationalWildflowerWeek, it seems like there’s no better time than now to bring a touch of the wild to your garden.
Here are our top 10 wildflower varieties to plant this spring…
Native to the mountains ravines and woodlands in Asia and North America, these plant’s are quite simply a gardener’s dream. Astilbe are carefree, summer blooming perennials and this variety produces a dense carpet of dark fern-like foliage with feathery white blooms.
Native to Europe and North America, this flowering wild thyme will dazzle in a wildlife garden with their highly fragrant pinky-mauve flowers amongst their dark green foliage. This is the perfect wildflower for attracting bees and butterflies.
Native to Australia where they grow on hot rocky outcrops they are equally good at coping with hostile growing conditions. The lovely fan shaped blooms and shiny glossy green leaves make this a lovely feature plant, great in tubs and containers or planted up fences as illustrated.
Also known as the Starflower, Triplet Lily or Wild Hyacinth, the Triteleia Queen Fabiola is native to California where it grows wild. Bright green, grass-like leaves appear first, followed by clusters of violet purple star shaped blossoms with blue anthers in late spring.
Originating from exotic Turkey and Bulgaria, Rose of Sharon is one of the best varieties for ground covers. Not only that, but it is very popular with bees. The large bright yellow star-shaped flowers with red-tipped anthers make a sunny display from June to September.
Bring the wildness of the woods to your garden with this exciting mix of Digital Purpurea, commonly known as Foxgloves. Flowering from June to August, the foxglove plant bears an instantly recognizable shape consisting of tall, statuesque spikes of tubular, bell-like flowers each with a distinctively speckled throat.
Native to the United States where it grows in the wild, it’s a great ornamental border plant and is an excellent cut flower for an indoor display. This fabulous upright perennial with tall brush like spikes of blue/lilac flowers will bloom from June to September with whorls of lance-shaped, toothed leaves form at the base.
In the wild Geranium Sangiuneum Alba is found in sand dunes and on rocky slopes. This lovely sprawling perennial with small dark green leaves and pure white clusters of perfectly formed flowers in the summer is also known as the ‘bloody crane’s-bill’ for the crane like appearance of the fruit capsules in the spring.
This Wood Anemone originated in the European woodlands and it still retains its natural carefree beauty. Un-surprisingly, given its origin, this little beauty is an excellent naturalising plant and will produce an ever increasing displays each year. Ideal for your patio pots and rockeries.
Also known as the Californian white-flowered quamash these will produce creamy-white blooms, densely set on very long stems. These are great naturalisers and will be happy in full sun or partial shade. A great addition to beds/borders, and will look fabulous planted en-masse in a wild garden.
Are you looking for a beautiful, low-maintenance plant for your summer garden? As one of the most popular garden perennials on the market, hardy Geraniums will sail through the challenges of the seasons. Bursting with flowers, hardy Geraniums also enjoy a lush foliage which adds valuable texture in the garden. Incredibly tough, pest and disease resistant, perennial Geraniums give a lot and require very little.
Nothing creates a carpet of colour like an Aubrieta in early spring! These fantastic, very low growing plants range from deepest vibrant shades to the palest almost white hues in a range of violets, purple and pinks.
The traditional single Aubrieta produce dainty four-petalled flowers over mounds of hairy foliage.
They used to be a common sight on rockeries, although rockeries are a less common sight themselves these days. They are very eye-catching trailing over walls and can even be grown in containers and will last right into May.
Named after Claude Aubriet, a French botanical painter they are commonly known as Aubretia. They grow in the wild in Europe and Central Asia.
Aubrieta are quite happy in most soils and can handle a little shade, but for the best results they like alkaline soils and a position in full sun.
Trim right down after flowering to around half its size and you’ll get a fresh growth of foliage for the summer followed by masses of new flowers in the spring. Apart from that they will happily look after themselves for the rest of the year.
For more tips on planting watch our video tutorial with plant expert Jeff Turner on growing Aubrieta HERE.
Clusters of dainty red-pink single flowers form a strong mat of colour throughout April and May. A fully hardy variety this is such useful and versatile plant in the garden. Fabulous at the front of the border or in rockeries it’s also great for containers. Loves full sun but will tolerate some shading and is an ideal plant for dry, chalky areas. An ideal plant for growing on slopes or up walls. The Royal Horticultural Society has given Red Cascade their Award of Garden Merit. Height 10cm, spread 60cm.
Sweeping clusters of dainty blue-violet single flowers form a strong mat of colour throughout April and May. A fully hardy variety this is such useful and versatile plant in the garden. Fabulous at the front of the border or in rockeries it’s also great for containers. Loves full sun but will tolerate some shading and is an ideal plant for dry, chalky areas. An ideal plant for growing on slopes or up walls. Height 10cm, spread 60cm.
Looking for something a little bit different….?
Double Flowered Aubrieta. If you’re already a dab hand with Aubrieta why not try these lovely new double varieties?
Lovely lilac-pink double flowers with a dainty yellow centre. A great low maintenance creeping perennial plant that will quickly produce a thick mound of extravagant ground cover. Ideal for rockeries and borders, will also grow well in containers. Although it will tolerate partial shade, Aubrieta is happiest in full sun light in well-drained soils. 3cm diameter jumbo plugs supplied.
A beautiful vibrant double flowering Aubrieta. This royal blue Aubrieta will spread rapidly, producing a mound of dense ground cover. Ideal for the border, overhanging walls or in rockeries, loved by bees. . Aubrieta is naturally suited to cool climates so is at its best in the spring, it will thrive if you plant it in well-drained sweet (or alkaline) soils in full sun. Try planting with Helianthemum (Sun Rose), another brilliant creeping ground cover plant that will flower in summer when the Aubrieta starts to decline. 3cm plug plants supplied.
Two double-flowering Aubretia varieties that produce beautiful shades of pink and purple toned ruffled blooms, which includes our Double Pink and Blue Beauty varieties to create a dense carpet of colour.
Aubrieta prefer cooler conditions so will start to look bedraggled as the summer draws in so choose a ground cover plant that will cheerfully follow it and enjoy the warmer weather!
Here’s a selection of some great ground cover plants that like similar conditions to Aubrieta and flower from May.