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.
Echinacea are incredibly vibrant coloured cone flowers with giant heads on tall stems. Their bright colours will attract wildlife to your garden, as bees and butterflies love this plant as much as we do. The purpurea varieties are the only Echinacea grown from root stock, producing those thick stems that make them perfect for use as cut flowers. Echinacea are a tough plant, their eye catching colourful blooms that draw so much attention actually love to be ignored, a great hassle free choice for you garden.
The delightful shades of Echinacea purpurea are ideal for a summer border. The cheerful flowers look great mixed in with other plants and bulbs, or can be planted en-masse for a bold splash of colour. They will even do well in pots – plant in a deep container and position where they will get plenty of sunlight.
Echinacea are spectacular in a mixed border – as illustrated above. They partner really well with Rudbeckia varieties, as you can see above, the bright purples look particularly striking against the bright yellow of the Rudbeckia Goldsturm. We’ve highlighted a few more great companion plants in the gallery below.
Echinacea need to be grown in full sun, they won’t thrive at all in shade but will cope with a little. They are tolerant of a wide range of soils as long as it is well drained and they are drought tolerant once established. Deadhead to prolong flowering. You can propagate by division in spring and autumn but they prefer not to be disturbed and can become more bushy in habit but less floriferous.
Jeff demonstrates how to plant border perennials together in this easy to follow video. Rudbeckia and Echinacea complement each other exceptionally and both make excellent summer border plants.
Pinch off spent flowers on a regular basis — or use them as cuttings in flower arrangements — to extend the blooming period. Apply a quality flower fertilizer several times during the gardening season to promote big, beautiful blossoms. Mulch to prevent weeds, conserve moisture and improve aesthetics.
Cut plants to the ground in late winter after flowers have gone to seed.
For a large, showy display you can’t go wrong with a beautiful Lily and this month we’re focusing on the OrientalandOriental Trumpet (OT) Lilies. Native to Japan, these highly fragrant beauties are often called stargazers as their flowers tend to be outward and upward facing, as if they are looking up.
With their unusual and unique colour and markings Oriental Lilies are truly exquisite specimens, producing an abundance of flowers per bulb. Hardy and easy to grow, they will reach heights of two to six feet tall, excellent additions to a beds or borders and they can even be grown in pots. Oriental lilies will bloom late in the summer season, July – September.
OT lilies are a cross between Oriental and Trumpet varieties producing very tall plants, up to 2.5m mature height, perfect for the back of you borders. These beautiful Lilies can be incorporated into the back of your garden borders where they can tower over other bulbs and plants and act as a wonderful backdrop for your display. They will reach their full height by their third year and will naturalise if left undisturbed.
Plant at least 15cm/6in deep. Liliums prefer fertile, well drained soils, they’re not keen on lime in the soil. Surround each bulb with a little sharp sand under and above to keep off slugs and excessive wet. They give a much better display when planted in clumps of 3, 6 or 12 bulbs, 45cm apart. They appreciate the shelter of low growing shrubs or other plants near their roots. Planting time is from October to April/May. You can also plant lilies in pots. As they can get quite tall use a large pot that will fully accommodate the roots and you may also need to stake the plants for a bit of extra support. Stake at the time of planting to avoid damaging the bulbs.
How-to Video Tutorials
Giant Goliath Lilies
Worse pest: The Red Lily Beatle. The adult bugs will eat away the foliage and flowers. Look out for orange-red eggs or black larvae under the leaves or late for full size (8mm) bright red adult Beatles. You can protect your lilies by spraying them or by hand you can remove and crush them but a large infestation could be very time consuming as you need to check daily!