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.
Do you have a shaded area in your garden where it seems like nothing will grow there? Full shade areas can look dreary but don’t worry, there are plants to suit every garden, and all you need is a little creativity. Check out our favourite picks, from ground cover to perennial flowers and grasses, to add to any shaded spot in the garden.
Is my garden full shade or partial shade?
To grow healthy plants in shady areas, it is important to match the degree of shade that a plant needs or will tolerate with available light.
Partial Shade: A garden with half sun and half shade. There is some direct sun but for less than half the hours of daylight.
Full Shade: Under trees, shrubs, and buildings. Less than 2 hours of direct sun a day.
Here’s an easy checklist to decide whether the plants you are considering for a shady area are really a suitable candidate. They will need to be either:
Looking for a beautiful perennial to brighten up a shaded spot? Our Acanthus mollis Whitewater produces tall spikes of white flowers against their backdrop of dark green variegated foliage; a perfect addition to borders or large patio containers. Tip – These pretty flowers can be cut for vase displays or dried floral arrangements.
This fascinating clump-forming perennial produces mint scented flowers in a deep purple shade. Monarda Blaustrumpfmakes the perfect addition for flower beds and borders and thrive in semi or full shade where other perennials may struggle.
This hardy plant does well in all types of shade. GeraniumVersicolor is ideal for borders or patio pots to add striking and unusual blooms to your garden with their vivid pink veined white flowers. This variety makes for great ground-cover in full or partial shade.
Not all Euphorbias do well in shade but Euphorbia amygdaloides ‘Purpurea’ is an exception. This rapid growing ground cover plant produces amazing dark purple foliage with lime-green flowers in Spring. Ideal for borders, patio pots or containers.
This reliable evergreen shrub is perfect for bringing some colour to shady areas. Vinca major Variegata produces pretty violet-blue flowers from late spring in to summer; a perfect plant for growing anywhere in the garden, even underneath trees.
Bored of plain foliage? This stunning silver touched deep green foliage that becomes dotted with spikes of pretty white blossoms in spring and early summer. This evergreen shrub is perfect for adding interest to any shaded spot in the garden.
Asplenium scolopendrium is an evergreen fern with luscious upright green foliage. This hardy evergreen needs little attention in the garden, provides colour all year round and can even be grown in woodland/under trees or shady borders.
This small and easy-to-grow fern is perfect for full or partial shade. With a mass of golden yellow leaves and striking red stems, this exotic Athyrium Vidalii is guaranteed to provide a dash of unique colouring to even the shadiest parts of the garden.
This stunning evergreen perennial grass is perfect for containers or a shady border. With Carex testacea ‘Prairie Fire’s’ extraordinarily eye-catching green leaves with bright orange tips, this variety also changes into a dark orange colour with brown flowers in the summer time.
This versatile grass is ideal for containers, in gravel, in the border or alongside other grasses. With stunning needle-like leaves, Festuca Golden Toupee produces grey-green leaves that turn a bright yellow in the spring. Great for adding stunning vibrant hues to shaded spots.
This hardy perennial excels in partial or full shade. With pointed green leaves and slender, soft yellow bells that drop from its branched stems, Uvularia grandiflora makes a great addition to pots, containers and this variety even makes excellent cut flowers.
A smooth cocktail of colours, purple buds opening to apricot, with rose shadings. Geum Mai Tai have fuzzy, dark green pinnate leaves and erect purple stems holding the semi double flowers. These hardy perennial plants will flower all summer from June right through to September and are suitable for partial shaded borders in the garden.
With giant showy milk-white lace cap type flowers blooming over vigorous glossy green foliage. This fantastic, self-clinging Hydrangea petiolaris is the best climber for a shaded north wall. Very low maintenance needing only an occasional trim, left undisturbed it can grow up to a height and spread of 5m+ but will withstand gentle pruning to any manageable height to suit your garden.