Best Plants for Gravel Gardens

A gravel garden is a great option for a low maintenance garden. It also lends itself to Mediterranean-style drought-tolerant planting so plants like Lavender and Euphorbia are ideal and provide plenty of nectar and pollen for visiting insects.

Beth Chatto’s Gravel Garden

One great example is the Beth Chatto Gravel Garden. What was once an old car park is now a famous garden, due to the fact that is has never been watered! Despite being situated in one of the driest parts of the country and with poor, free-draining soil, it has become renowned for its spectacular display of drought-tolerant plants.

Here are our top plant picks for gravel gardens…

Euphorbia

Euphorbia Bonfire

A popular spring perennial. The foliage turns from green/purple to burgundy in summer, then again to a bright fiery red in late summer. In late spring it will produce large vivid yellow flowers. Excellent for edging in rock gardens or in mixed containers.

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Euphorbia polychroma

Long lived and incredibly showy, ‘Polychroma’ produces bright yellow flowers against a backdrop of contrasting dark green foliage. This award-winning shrub’s green leafy foliage turns to a red, purple or orange in the autumn providing a long, seasonal interest.

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Nepeta

Nepeta Faasenii

With slender spikes of lavender-blue summer flowers and aromatic, sage-green leaves, this dwarf catmint releases an intoxicating aroma when trodden underfoot. Ideal for attracting wildlife and creating a low growing border when planted in rows.

Agapanthus

Agapanthus Midnight Cascade

A bold, hardy herbaceous plant. Known as the African lily, this unique, drought tolerant plant produces beautiful pendulous flowers in shades of rich purple throughout summer. An excellent addition to Mediterranean beds and borders. Can also be featured in containers.

Agapanthus Melbourne

A stunning bi-colour addition with purple buds that open to reveal white flowers with a lilac purple stripe through each petal. Their vibrant, colourful flowers and shiny green leaves can really spruce up a deck by planting in borders and improve the look of fence lines or garden beds as edging.

Lavender

Lavender Hidcote

A reliable and popular English Lavender. Their natural bushy habit makes it superb for mass planting within a border or flower bed. Producing an array of sweetly-scented lilac-blue flowers in summer, coupled with evergreen silvery-grey foliage that adds interest throughout the year.

Dwarf Lavender Munstead

A beautiful compact and extremely fragrant variety. Producing rosy-purple flowers during the summer months, they can be planted en-masse to produce ground cover/low screening or in lines to create a great border effect. Excellent for rock gardens and herb gardens.

Gaura

Gaura Rosy Jane

A wonderful, free-flowering perennial that will produce bi-coloured blooms in a very pretty-pink and white throughout the summer. It makes the ideal border or pot plant, being clump forming with a neat habit. It is nectar and pollen rich and ideal for attracting bees to the garden.

Gaura Whirling Butterflies

Delicate and incredibly pretty, but tough none the less. This amazing perennial produces beautiful white star-shaped flowers (which resemble the wings of a butterfly) that stand against green foliage. Drought and heat tolerant, this Gaura is perfect for sunny borders and rock gardens.

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10 Drought Tolerant Plants to Beat the Summer Heat

With our increasingly hotter summers, climate change presents us with the challenge of gardening with less water. However, there is a considerable range of plants that can tolerate dry conditions. These drought-tolerant plants are the perfect choice for sunny spots in your garden.

1. Nepeta

Nepeta are a reliable perennial, very hardy and tolerant of all conditions and it returns reliably each year. They are very effective even in dry and drought areas, so they are useful for even the most difficult spots in the garden.

Nepeta Six Hills Giant

This vigorous perennial produces clusters of aromatic, small lavender blue flowers. This variety is a perfect addition to borders and edging beds, as well as attracting bees and butterflies to the summer garden. With a grey-green foliage and masses of flowers, this Nepeta adds a lovely, soft, gentle touch to cottage gardens.

2. Mimosa

The very hardy and heat-loving Mimosa is ideal wherever a full, dense canopy is desired during the summer months. Native to Southeastern Australia and then widely introduced to the Mediterranean , these plants are no stranger to higher, tropical temperatures.

Mimosa Acacia

The beautiful feathered foliage of the Mimosa Acacia will delight in the spring time, with their masses of fragrant yellow flowers. Create a statement display in your garden by planting this variety in patio container, but equally they are suited at the back of a border.

 

3. Sedum

Sedums are superb drought-resistant succulents that produce domes of star-shaped flowers in the summer and autumn seasons. Sedums have evolved to live in exposed conditions, where soil is very well-drained and sun and wind dry everything out quickly, so over the centuries, they have developed some inbuilt coping mechanisms such as fleshy, water-storing leaves and stems.

Sedum Hot Stuff

This striking Sedum produces large bursts of vibrant pink flowers that are wildly-loved by butterflies and bees. This strong, compact forming plant makes a great border addition or make a bigger impact by planting in groups so they will really stand out in the late summer garden.

4. Lavender

A native to the Mediterranean and the Middle East, it’s no wonder that Lavender makes a great drought-tolerant addition to the garden. It can be used as a low hedge, specimen plant, or even a cut flower, and will add a beautiful fragrance to the garden.

Dwarf Lavender Munstead

This compact evergreen shrub blooms with spikes of small, highly fragrant, blue-purple flowers in mid to late summer. Plant en masse to produce ground cover, low screening, or in lines to create a great border effect.

5. Campsis Radicans

Also known as Trumpet Vines, these hardy plants are fast climbers that grow well even in poor soil and full sunlight, and the blossoms attract hummingbirds too. Campsis Radicans can live for decades and although they die back in the winter, they’re quick to spring back to life in the spring.

Campsis radicans

Blooming with clusters of showy, exotic warm red trumpet-shaped blooms, this self-clinging climber is ideal for a sunny wall or fence. These beautiful tropical flowers are marked with deep red insides appear above long, coarsely toothed, glossy dark green leaves with pointed tips and distinctive veining.

6. Ceanothus

Ceanothus, commonly known as California Lilac, are very drought tolerant shrubs and offer almost everything that a gardener could wish for in a shrub. They are free-flowering, drought tolerant, easy to cultivate and grow in most soils.

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus var repens

Beautiful in its simplicity, this fantastic award-winning shrub delights in the summer garden. Its rich glossy leaves nestle amongst sky blue florescence comprising of densely compact panicles that burst into bloom like tiny fireworks in spring and early summer. This evergreen variety looks beautiful in patio pots, or against a wall.

 

7. Jasmine

Jasmine provide more than delicate tendrils and sweet perfume, they create substance, structure and colourful blooms to the garden. This genus of shrubs and vines contains around 200 species, native to tropical and warm temperate regions and a number of species have become naturalised in Mediterranean Europe.

Trachelospermum jasminoides (Jasmine)

This highly fragrant, vigorous climber produces clusters of beautiful star-shaped white flowers, which bloom from June throughout the summer months. This is a perfect climber for growing against a warm, sunny wall. Jasmine flowers are ideal for perfuming the air with their sweet fragrance in the summer garden.

8. Verbena

Native to the American Tropics, Verbena plants are beautiful examples of drought-tolerant plants. These popular perennials produce rich nectar, so butterflies and bees also love them.

Verbena bonariensis

Elegant and long lasting. This bestselling Verbena variety produces masses of small purple flowers in clusters. With a good pest resistance, this fantastic border plant will delight in the summer garden, flowering from June to October. They also will make a great addition to cut flower displays.

9. Russian Sage

One of the toughest plants that needs little care. Russian Sage loves direct sun, tolerates almost any soil and is extremely drought tolerant. Its fine texture makes Russian Sage a good choice if you’re seeking contrast with plants exhibiting a coarser texture.

Perovskia atriplicifolia Blue Spire

Native to central Asia, Russian Sage’s natural habitat is on dry plains. This variety produces highly scented silver leaves that are topped with spikes of gorgeous, tiny violet purple bell-shaped flowers in late summer. The impressive flowers and foliage look amazing planted in a border or patio pot in the summer garden.

10. Agapanthus

Agapanthus are some of the most beautiful and reliable summer plants you can grow. Once established, Agapanthus are tough enough to withstand dry spells without stressing. Originating from the cliffs of South Africa, they naturally enjoy lots of sunshine and are naturally resistant to wind.

Agapanthus Melbourne

This stunning bi-colour variety blooms in the summer with purple buds that open to reveal white flowers with a lilac purple stripe through each petal. Also known as the African Lily, these plants are drought tolerant and enjoy plenty of sunlight.

 

 

 

Summer Plant Care Tips

 

Plants for Different Soil Types

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knowing your soil type can be crucial to planning out the planting in your garden. The soil provides your plants with nutrients, water and air that they need for healthy growth and development, but depending on the plot of ground, that can determine what plants, shrubs or trees can grow their successfully.

3 Step System to Test Your Soil

  1. Dig a hole 6 to 10 inches deep in the soil.
  2. Separate an intact section about the size of a soup can and break it apart with your fingers.
  3. Determine whether the soil is cloddy, powdery or granular (ideally your soil should be made up of different sized crumbs that hold their shape under slight pressure).

 

  • Known as heavy soil (sticky when wet, rock hard when dry).
  • Feels smooth (not gritty) between the fingers.
  • Drains slowly after rain.
  • Takes a long time to warm up in spring.
  • Heavy to dig and cultivate.
  • Usually rich in plant nutrients.The following plants are well-adapted to clay soils:
Viburnum
Viburnum burkwoodii Mohawk

This shrub is an underrated evergreen shrub for clay soil. The opening of its flowers announce the end of winter and its white flowers (pink in bud) provide a pretty backdrop for a border in early spring. Dense, compact growth make this a useful plant for screening off a view and creating a feeling of enclosure in the garden.

Honeysuckle
Honeysuckle Serotina

A sweetly scented honeysuckle is a true summer treat and this species of honeysuckle will grow well on clay soil. A scented climber is always a memorable plant, the perfume easy to access, especially if you grow it by your front door. The variety Serontina’ has flowers that display a vivid deep red colouring.

 

Bergenia
Bergenia cordifolia Purpurea

This evergreen perennial produces spires of pink or red flowers in spring. The leaves (the ‘elephant’s ears’) are tinged with red in winter. A good plant for ground cover, it looks at its best planted in a block because the flowers have more impact in big numbers. A very tough plant for clay soil and tolerant of partial shade too.

 

 

Tips 

  1.  Add Organic Matter (compost, aged manure) – this helps improve drainage, lighten heavy soil and adds nutrients. Before planting in spring add the organic matter to the soil with a 2-3 inch layer.
  2. Build Raised Beds – As clay soil holds water, raised beds can improve drainage by encouraging water to run off.
  3. Mulch Beds over Winter – Mulch with organic matter during the growing season and winter to help protect the soil from compaction and minimize weed growth.

Sandy soil is the largest particle in soil and does not hold nutrients well.

  • High proportion of sand and little clay.
  • Drains quickly after rain or watering.
  • Easy to work and cultivate.
  • Warm up quicker in spring than clay soils.
  • Low in nutrients – very acidic.

The following plants are well-adapted to sandy soils:

Sedum
Sedum Hot Stuff

There are an incredible diversity of Sedums available. They are succulents, so by nature they are adapted to dry, sandy soil. Most are ground covers that make great rock garden plants. There is also a taller variety called Autumn Joy that is a good choice for its extremely late bloom.

Allium
Allium Powder Puff

Giant Alliums will perform well year after year in sandy soil with little care, making them a great choice for a semi-naturalized meadow planting. Alliums are an easy to grow, very distinctive late spring and early summer flowering bulb, being very showy when planted in beds, borders or rock gardens.

Buddleia
Buddleia Empire Blue

One of Britain’s most beautiful and popular summer flowering shrubs. Buddleia (Butterfly Bush) is an excellent choice for sandy soils, since they can adapt to most soil types. These upright deciduous shrubs are a wildlife haven. Their tubular, fragrant flowers are a superb way of attracting butterflies and bees into the garden.

 

Tips 

  1. Prepare planting sites with moisture-retentive, well-rotted organic matter (farm manure, compost or leaf mould).
  2. When planting in spring, incorporate a slow-release fertilizer.
  3. Water thoroughly and regularly during dry periods.
  • Ideal soil for gardening.
  • Mainly organic matter.
  • Feels spongy.
  • Very fertile and hold moisture well.
  • Easily compacts.

The following plants are well-adapted to peaty soils:

Heather
Heather Summer Mixed

A fragrant and effective and colourful mixture of summer flowering Heathers offer an increasing superb display every year. This beautiful and colourful ground cover not only adds beauty to the garden but can help cut down on the weeding too.

Azaleas
Azalea Tunis

Nothing is more beautiful than an Azalea shrub in spring bloom and can be grown in nearly any garden. Azalea Tunis is a highly fragrant deciduous variety which has gigantic red flowers boasting long, decorative stamens. The blazing red, showy flowers are truly a sight to behold on a sunny spring day.

Witch Hazel
Hamamelis Witch Hazel Collection

Shrubs such as Witch Hazel do particularly well when planted in peaty soils. Our exotic collection of three Chinese Witch Hazel is the perfect way to breathe some life and colour back into the winter garden. These deciduous, winter flowering shrubs produce clusters of sweetly scented, crinkled flowers in a range of fiery shades.

 

Tips 

  1. Blend peat soil with rich organic matter, compost and lime to reduce the acidity.

  • Even mix of sand, silt and clay.
  • Feels fine-textured and slightly damp.
  • Adequate drainage, great structure and moisture retaining.
  • Easily cultivated and full of nutrients.
  • Ideal soil all year round.

The following plants are well-adapted to loamy soils:

Wisteria
Wisteria Multijuga

A vigorous climbing plant. Wisteria looks particularly effective when trained over a bare wall or pergola, making it a superb feature plant, and its exquisite aroma make it particularly attractive to bees and butterflies. Our ‘Multijuga’ variety produces delicate trailing clusters of highly fragrant lilac flowers from May through to September.

Rhododendrons
Rhododendron Praecox

One of the earliest flowering varieties, this lovely shrub will produce an abundance of rose-purple blooms as early as February and throughout March. For a truly stunning effect plant above a carpet of dainty white Snowdrops, which will flower around the same time.

Anemone
Anemone blanda White Splendour

These daisy-like flowers are one of the most familiar and renowned of all the Anemones White Splendour is excellent for naturalising in areas with full sun or partial shade. They bear large, pure white flowers with a pink flushed reverse in spring and will produce a superb carpet of white if left to multiply over the years to come.

 

 

Tips 

  1.  Maintain its fertility with regular dressings of manure or compost.

  • Feels soft and soapy.
  • Fertile and drain fairly well.
  • Rich in nutrients.
  • Hold more moisture than sandy soils.
  • Easily compacted.

The following plants are well-adapted to silty soils:

Snowdrops
Galanthus Woronowii

These spring-flowering bulbs are well-suited for silty soil. There is nothing to match the breath-taking sight of a sweeping carpet of snowdrops, a marvellous herald of spring.  Galanthus Woronowii is a giant white snowdrop with green markings. It’s beautiful nodding honey scented flower heads appear as early as January.

Hellebore
Helleborus Orientalis Mixed

Hellebore is a group of flowering perennials that are well-suited to the moist, well-draining conditions of silty soil. These fine Hellebore Orientalis Mixed produce pretty bowl shaped flowers in February to March in an array of hues, some will be spotted within. When left undisturbed, they can produce expanding clumps of evergreen foliage.

Dogwood
Cornus Midwinter Fire

Moisture-loving trees such as Dogwood perform well in silty soils. Cornus Midwinter Fire stays true to its namesake, slowly revealing brilliant flame-coloured stems as the leaves fall away. Shoots begin a yellow-orange, with the tips turning a brilliant red as the season goes on, giving the shrub a flaming look.

 

 

Tips 

  1. Add an inch of organic matter (compost, decaying sawdust, or wood shavings) yearly, then add organic fertilizers and then cover with a further 2-3 inches of mulch.
  2. Avoid compaction – minimize walking on garden beds or consider planting on raised beds.
  3. Silty soil has a tendency to become waterlogged – avoid overwatering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Lumps of white chalk or flint stones are visible in the soil.
  • Either ‘heavy’ or ‘light’ depending if the soil mixed with the chalk is clay or sand.
  • Very alkaline.
  • Largely made up of calcium carbonate.

The following plants are well-adapted to chalky soils:

Mock ORANGE
Philadelphus ‘Belle Etiole’

Trees and shrubs such as Mock Orange perform beautifully in chalky soils. The heady fragrance of the beautiful ‘Belle Etoile’ is a fantastic addition to the summer border. This Mock Orange, prized for its citrusy scent presents an abundance of single, pure white flowers through late spring and early summer.

Lilac
Syringa meyeri Palibin

Lilacs are perfect shrubs that will thrive even in chalky soils. The delicious fragrant flowers of lilac are not to be missed in the garden in spring and they are one of the season’s best cut flowers. Lilacs can become very big plants so the best place to plant them is at the back of a border or at the perimeter of the garden.

Lavender
Lavender Hidcote

Lavender thrives in soils that are sandy, chalky or alkaline. A beautiful option for the summer garden is a traditional evergreen fragrant Lavender, Lavender Hidcote. Producing an abundance of purple-lilac coloured flowers in July through to September, they enjoy the free-draining soil provided by chalky soils. Grow them in full sun to get the best from them.

 

Tips 

  1.  Break up the chalk to a depth of 30 inches so that plant roots can spread out and establish.
  2. Add plenty of well-rotted organic matter (compost, composted green waste or manure) to improve the soil.
  3.  Attention to watering will be required for a longer period than other soil types.

 

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Top 10: Evergreens for April

Evergreens add constant interest to the garden and can act often as a central focus point to build a garden around. Evergreen shrubs and plants hold their foliage all year around, which is why they are the perfect choice for low maintenance gardening. Since April is the best time of year to plant evergreens and there are many to choose from, we’ve picked out a selection of varieties so you are guaranteed to find one that suits you.

 Benefits

There are many benefits to having evergreens in the garden other than their beauty. Here are some of the overlooked benefits:

  • Energy Saving 💡

Shrubs planted on the north side of your home can serve as a protective windbreaker during the harsh winter winds.

  •  Wildlife-friendly 🐤🐦

Shrubs provide much-needed shelter for birds and their many pretty blooms are great for attracting butterflies too.

  • Reliability ⌛

Since they keep their leaves all year-round, they can provide privacy to your garden and work as a natural fence.

So, without further ado, here are our top 10 picks for beautiful evergreen shrubs to plant this spring! 🏡

Nothing is more beautiful than an Azalea shrub in spring bloom. These easy-care shrubs flower in spring each year and are an excellent way of introducing colour to the garden and with a rainbow of shades to choose from, you are certain to find the right Azalea to suit your needs.

Azalea Diamond Japonica Mixed

This mixture of premium Japanese Diamond Azaleas are ideal for creating a colourful and effective spring display. These dwarf growing varieties make a real impact and are very easy to grow. These versatile plants are perfect for the patio pot, container or border. Supplied as 9cm pot plants.

 

Azalea Red Half Standard

These beautiful Japanese Azaleas are a real treat in the garden. These shrubs form a large bushy yet compact shape. The attractive evergreen leaves bring all round interest with the added attraction of the flowers which burst into a riot of bright red funnel shaped blooms in spring. Supplied as 2 litre pot plants.

Rhododendron Midnight Mystique

Rhododendron Midnight Mystique is a striking shrub which produces one of the showiest flowers of any Rhododendron. Wavy edged, white flowers boast huge, raspberry red-purple margins, with matching speckles in the throat, accompanied by a flash of gold speckles too. Each truss rests on shiny oval shaped foliage. Supplied in 13cm pot.

 

Rhododendron Percy Wiseman

The semi-dwarf Rhododendron gives the benefit of having traditional giant flowers but only growing to a height of 1 meter. Rhododendron Percy Wiseman produces clustered blooms that showcase an array of beautiful pink, red and yellow shades. Supplied in a 13cm pot.

Clematis ARMANDII

Originally found in China, Clematis armandii is one of the most vigorous evergreen climbers around. It produces plenty of long, lance-shaped waxy leaves which will provide a year round protective screen against stark walls or fences. The real highlight of this plant is the abundance of strong scented, star shaped white flowers in early spring. Supplied as 9cm pot plants.

 

Clematis aRMANDII aPPLE bLOSSOM

Clematis armandii Apple Blossom is one of the most popular evergreen climbers. It produces an abundance of baby pink buds with deeper pink flushes, which open out to four or five petalled baby pink flowers in spring. You can enjoy the gorgeous almond scent when planted by a doorway or seating area. Supplied as 9cm pot plants.

Daphne Tangutica

This superb RHS Garden Merit Award Winner, Daphne Tangutica is guaranteed to brighten up any garden. A medium-sized evergreen shrub, Daphne Tangutica produces beautifully fragrant white/pink flowers from late spring into early summer. Supplied as a 9cm pot plant.

 

 

Daphne Eternal Fragrance

Daphne transatlantica Eternal Fragrance is a semi-evergreen variety, producing sweet scented, tubular star-shaped flowers in creamy white with pink flushes at the base of each flower. This non-stop flowering shrub offers an astounding three seasons of bloom to delight the senses: spring (April), summer (June-July) and early autumn (late August/September). 10.5cm pot grown plants supplied.

Euonymus fortunei ‘Goldy’

Euonymus ‘Goldy is a fantastic dwarf evergreen shrub that will really brighten up any border or patio display. They have a compact growing habit and produce dense foliage that starts off as green but quickly changes to a bright golden yellow in summer. Supplied as a 9cm pot grown plant.

 

 

Euonymus fortunei Blonde Beauty

The evergreen foliage of this Euonymus variety produces leaves in lovely creamy white tones with irregular markings, often on the edges of leaves of dark green. Their pleasing colour is a true showstopper, especially in winter. They also make perfect ground cover for livening up a border, rockery or container. 15cm plant in 9cm pot supplied.

Gardenia Jasminoides Kleims Hardy

Gardenia jasminoides ‘Kleim’s Hardy’ is the original frost hardy evergreen Gardenia. Their highly fragrant single white flowers are produced throughout the summer. Growing to just 80cm, this compact shrub is ideally suited to a patio pot or a sheltered border. 13cm pot grown plants supplied.

 

Gardenia Jasminoides Crown Jewel

This sensation dwarf shrub has enjoyed immense popularity in recent years and it’s easy to see why. The glossy forest green leaves provide a dramatic backdrop to the fragrant, pearly white star shaped double flowers that bloom in abundance from early summer right through to the autumn. 9cm pot plants supplied.

 

Lavender Kew Red

Lavender Kew Red (French Lavender) is an elegant and exquisite plant with pretty deep crimson pink flowers topped with a delicate pale pink. Along with their highly aromatic foliage, they flower from late spring onwards and are a great way to attract bees and butterflies to the garden. UK-grown 3cm diameter jumbo plug plants supplied.

 

Lavender Stoechas Papillon

Also known as French Lavender, this pretty evergreen plant produces dark purple and lilac coloured blooms with highly aromatic, evergreen foliage. These beautiful flower spikes are great for creating a wildlife haven in the garden as they attract butterflies and bees from late spring. UK-grown 3cm diameter jumbo plug plants supplied.

Hebe Silver Dollar

This low-growing, compact, evergreen shrub boasts gorgeous variegated, grey-green foliage with cream margins. The margins transform from magenta pink in winter to a delicate mauve in summer, which then fade to white. This low maintenance shrub with constantly transforming beauty is perfect for borders. 9cm pot grown plants supplied.

Hebe Wild Romance

Hebe Wild Romance is a bushy, compact evergreen shrub . Dense purple flowers appear in summer that turn in to a deep pink/maroon in winter and lightens in the spring. The vibrant foliage of this Hebe is perfect for adding interest to the garden in borders and patio displays all year-round. 9cm pot grown plants supplied.

Euphorbia Blackbird

This beautiful and unusual Euphorbia is guaranteed to be a unique showstopper in the spring. This dwarf evergreen perennial has striking lime green flowers contrast against the dark maroon foliage, which is ideal for adding colour to the garden border or patio container. 9cm pot grown plants supplied.

 

Euphorbia Martinii

This fantastic evergreen shrub produces wonderful evergreen foliage through winter with flowers blooming from spring in to summer. Their hardy bracts are a vivid lime green with a bright red eye and two white ‘tear drop’ shapes in the centre. This stunning shrub is perfect for brightening up the garden. Supplied in 9cm pots

 

Skimmia Japonica Red dwarf

The Skimmia Japonica is a dwarf evergreen shrub. Our ‘Red Dwarf’ flowers from spring into summer and produces an abundance of red buds against a vibrant green foliage. They are hardy shrubs which perform exceptionally well when planted in the border or in a patio container. Supplied in 9.5cm pots.

 

Skimmia Japonica White Dwarf

Skimmia japonica White Dwarf is a fairly compact evergreen shrub that produces a flurry of bright green buds on top of a darker green foliage. Their hardiness allow them to perform well in a variety of places in the garden, from garden borders to patio pots. Supplied in 9.5cm pots.

Pretty Pastels for the Garden

To make a garden– a beautiful garden! You must choose garden colour schemes smartly. On a deeper level, colours can evoke certain emotions in us. Bright colours can make us feel more energetic and vibrant. Cool colours can make us feel calm, content, tired or melancholy and pastel colours can make us feel relaxed, refreshed and peaceful. In a garden space intended for peace, quiet and relaxation, pastels are the perfect garden colour scheme this summer.

Using pastels in the garden can create a space where we can unwind after a hard day and feel refreshed. A pastel garden can be placed almost anywhere in the yard. Pastel colored flowers look beautiful in bright sunlight, but also stand out in shade gardens and can brighten up especially dark areas.

Blues

Hibiscus Blue Chiffon

This award winning Hibiscus Syriacus has cool pale blue flowers, arranged like layers of ruffled chiffon. The centres are subtly marked with flashes of star-like burgundy-purple veins. A fabulous deciduous shrub which holds the RHS Award of Garden Merit, its quality’s guaranteed. A fine stand- alone specimen, or reliable addition to the shrub border, it will also make a great informal hedge or screen. It is a great choice for attracting butterflies to your garden.

Polemonium viscosum Blue Whirl

This beautiful clump forming Jacob’s ladder that produces clusters of small lavender blue flowers on shorter stems with fern like foliage. This compact perennial is perfect for patio pots or rockeries for creating a burst of cool colour.

Iris Sibirica Dear Delight

The Siberian Iris is a hardy perennial Iris which produces graceful flowers from May to July in an unusual tone of powder blue with white shading.

Pinks

Lily Elodie

This pale, baby pink Asiatic Lily is an excellent choice for bedding with very sturdy stems and upright flowers that will add plenty of elegant, pastel colour to your garden in the summer. For a lovely soft pastel display plant alongside creamy pink roses such as Joie de Vivre or our pink and white Dahlia Mix. These can be cut for a delicate and romantic bouquet.

Gladioli Adrenaline

Gladioli Adrenaline are a stunning blend of pale pink and white, they are sure to add glamour to your summer garden. We recommend planting Gladioli in groups at monthly intervals, starting early spring, to extend the flowering season for a showcase that lasts all summer long.

Lavender Rosea

A twist on the traditional lilac evergreen Lavender varieties, Rosea produces beautiful pale pink flower heads as well as the instantly recognizable Lavender fragrance.  They are ideal for planting in rows as illustrated or in pots around the patio and garden.

Yellows

Double Hollyhocks Yellow

Hollyhocks, otherwise known as Alcea, are a stable of many gardeners and synonymous with cottage garden displays. This beautiful Double Yellow variety produces stunning flowers in a sunny yellow shade. The flowers are perfect for attracting bees, butterflies and other nectar loving insects into your garden.

Dahlia Boom Boom Yellow

Unique pale yellow blooms that look amazing in the summer border. These Pompom Dahlias produce fabulous double spherical blooms which are sure to add a new dimension of shape and texture to any garden. Each flower head is made up of layers of silky, inwardly curved petals creating a perfectly formed sphere. Tall sturdy stems not only provide excellent support; but also provide the Dahlia with its iconic bobbing habit in the breeze – an uplifting and calming sight, especially in a hot sunny garden.

Rose Peace

In 1976, Rose Peace was voted the first ever ‘world’s favourite rose’ by the Rose Hall of Fame, and it isn’t difficult to see why. This exquisite variety of Hybrid Tea Rose produces elaborate, slightly frilled double blooms of creamy yellow, flushed at the edges with delicate pale pink. The Peace Tea Rose also emits a mild but delightfully sweet fragrance, as with other Hybrid Tea varieties.

Purples

Syringa meyeri Palibin

An upright deciduous shrub which produces dense clusters of sweetly fragrant, light pink and white panicles over attractive heart shaped foliage from late spring into early summer. When in bloom, the gorgeous flowers will bring butterflies to your garden.

Agapanthus Melbourne

A stunning new bi-colour addition to the Agapanthus range, with purple buds that open to reveal white flowers with a lilac purple stripe through each petal. Known as the African lily, these are drought tolerant and like well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight. They flower throughout August and September, boast masses of strappy foliage and tall 1m stems making these the ideal addition to the back of the border.

Petunia Tumbelina Priscilla

Tumbelina Petunia produce large unique double blooms in abundance during the summer months. The numerous flowers and its long trailing habit (up to 60-80cm) make it perfect for hanging baskets. Flowering from June through to October the fragrant flowers can create a wonderful display whether planted on their own or with other trailing varieties or colours. Priscilla is a lilac- purple variety with heavily veined petals.

ENJOY GARDENING THIS SPRING!

June Plant of the Month: Alliums

Easy to grow and versatile enough to be able to be grown in borders, flower beds, patio pots and containers, Alliums they really will pack a punch and are a must have impact plant for spring and summer.

Also known as Ornamental Onions, Alliums are from the onion family and are a fantastic addition to any garden. They are great for deterring Aphids, protecting other plants in your garden as well as themselves making them excellent companion plants.

Why we love them

The striking, showy flower heads of the humble Allium have long been a favourite of the modern cottage gardener. Blending beautifully into a summer perennial border, tall statuesque Alliums will cheerfully tower above lower growing plants just a seamlessly as smaller Alliums, which will add a zing to the front of a low border or edge.

Beyond the garden, Allium flowers and seed pods are excellent additions to cut flower displays. If you’re feeling creative, they can also be dried and sprayed to use as festive decorations.

Bee Friendly

Over the last few years we’ve been running a Spring flowering Bulb Competition (see details for this year’s competition here) and as these past entries show, (above) Alliums are highly attractive to bees! Great for the wildlife friendly gardener.

Where and when to Plant

For the best results position in full sun, and in well drained soils. For poorer soils treat with potash feed in the spring, which will help all your spring flowering bulbs and encourage them to return the following year.

Plant from early autumn at three or four times their own depth. The gaps you leave between Alliums will depend on their mature size, as well as your overall design ideas! For smaller alliums plant 10cm apart, the larger varieties will need at least 25cm in between. We indicate planting depths/distance for individual varieties on their own product pages.

Most Alliums will do well in containers as long as you give them enough space. They need a good 4cm of compost beneath each bulb, so choose deep pots, and for soil use any multipurpose compost, such as John Innes No 3. Some prefer to mix equal parts soil to horticultural grit. Re-pot each autumn.

Flowers and Foliage

One of the most striking features of Alliums is the long, sturdy stems that keep those amazing pom-pom like balls of flowers suspended on high. From the base of the Alliums grows lush, lance like swords of green foliage. As the flowers fade the basal foliage will wilt and turn brown. Unsightly as it is, don’t try to remove the leaves until they have all completely died off or you will stop the bulb taking enough food for winter to ensure it comes back the following year. If you are including Alliums in your flower bed and border design it’s a good idea to ensure to surround them with low growing plants that flourish in late summer to screen the foliage as it browns. Lavender likes similar conditions to Alliums or Hardy Geraniums will come in after the Alliums and continue to the end of summer, or you could plant alongside Ornithogalum for a contrasting display as illustrated below.

Thanks to their increasing popularity, Allium varieties such as Purple Sensation, the huge Globemaster variety, and Sphaerocephalon – more commonly known as The Drumstick Allium – have become staples for many gardeners.

Click here to browse our full range of Alliums, delivered from mid-August onwards.