Do you find watering the summer garden time consuming? With British summers getting hotter and drier, drought tolerant plants are the answer to growing a beautiful garden that can withstand the summer heat.
Check out our favourite drought tolerant plants that will best adapt to the prolonged dry season.
Native to South Africa, these hardy perennials are perfect for tackling the summer heat. Incredibly drought tolerant and loved by bees and butterflies, Agapanthus plants are a summer garden must-have.
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:
Bursting with colourful flowers or vibrant foliage, hanging baskets are the perfect addition to any garden, big or small. With so many plant options for hanging baskets, it can be tough to know where to start, so we’ve made things simple.
From cascading fruit to hardy flowers, discover our hanging basket favourites to fill your outdoor space with life this summer.
Begonia ‘Funky Pink’
Think pink with this strikingly unique Begonia. Easy to grow and weather tolerant, these large double blooms are a great basket choice.
With Spring upon us and summer on the way, plan a spectacular garden with our list of essential summer garden plants. From colourful, pollinator-friendly blooms to gorgeous leafy foliage plants, discover our top choices for transforming any space into a nature haven in the summertime.
Essential Container Plants
Container plants are so versatile, add a flash of colour to patios, create a focal point in the garden and they’re perfect for smaller spaces; the possibilities are endless. Here are our favourite compact plants for summer pots:
With a rich assortment of flower colours, shapes and sizes, along with their amazing bloom time, are what makes Dahlias a staple of the summer garden. Our Dwarf Dahlia range are ideal for patio pots or the front of the border.
Planning a border is one of the most exciting aspects of gardening, where you can truly let your creativity flow. We’ve selected our favourites plants that are guaranteed to add colour, texture and character to the summer border.
Hanging baskets, with their colourful flowers and lush plants, add an extra dimension to houses, patios and garden walls. From bringing bees and butterflies flocking to the garden, to adding a burst of colour for small spaces, here are our top hanging basket varieties.
Blooming non-stop from early summer to autumn, Fuchsias are great for attracting pollinators and look amazing in baskets. With a colourful assortment of shades and sizes to choose from, the options are endless.
Fill your summer garden with the cascading blooms of beautiful Million Bells. With a rainbow of colours to choose from, add a dose of vibrancy to the summer garden with these prolific-flowering plants.
With the new year approaching we can look forward to warmer weather and new growth appearing in our gardens, and now is the perfect time to be thinking of your summer display. Summer-flowering bulbs add an injection of colour to any garden and make for eye-catching borders and displays. Whilst often planted out in spring, many bulbs are suited to being planted as early as February. Be one step ahead and take inspiration from our selection below of Must-Have Flowers for 2020!
Summer Flower Top-Picks:
Lilies add a touch of the exotic to the garden, and their large, brightly coloured heads are bound to attract the eye. These flowers are a striking addition to pots and borders and provide a beautiful scent. Planting time is December to April.
Begonias are extremely popular for their versatility and reliability. From hanging baskets and window boxes to borders and pots, these colourful favourites are a centerpiece in the garden. Planting time is from February onwards.
Gladioli are a classic flower which have added excitement to summer displays for generations. Available in an array of bright and bold colours, they are often referred to as the ‘sword lily’ for their blade-shaped foliage. Planting time is early March to May.
Eucomis descend from South Africa and have an unusual pineapple shape. Their long-lasting flowers and attractive foliage are an exotic feature point of borders, pots and flowerbeds. Planting time is from February, if into pots and containers.
The general rule for planting bulbs is to dig deeper than the obvious. The usual guide is two to three times the depth of the bulb itself, however you will do less harm by planting too deep than too shallow. The other general rule is that bulbs need good drainage. The best way to achieve this is to mix grit into the general area or container of planting.
Many summer bulbs are ideal for growing in patio containers, especially tender species. These can then be lifted in winter and stored.
Step by Step:
Planting in borders:
Dig a hole wide and deep enough for your bulbs. Most bulbs require planting in a hole two to three times their depth.
Place the bulbs in the hole with their shoot facing upwards. Space them at least twice the bulb’s own width apart.
Replace the soil and gently firm. Avoid treading on the soil as this can damage the bulbs.
Planting in containers:
Dig a hole three times the bub depth, and plant the bulbs one width apart.
Water bulbs once after planting then regularly when in active growth. Reduce watering once the leaves die down through the dormant season.
If you bring pots of hardy bulbs indoors for flowering, put them in a sheltered spot outside as soon as flowering is over.
Looking for more information on planting our bulbs? Below you can find a selection of videos from our resident plant expert Jeff Turner explaining how best to plant your Summer Bulbs.
Alliums are plants of exquisite beauty that deserve a place in perennial gardens. Easy to grow and undemanding, these ornamental bulbs come in a diverse range of colour, height and bloom times, to give you beautiful blooms from spring all the way through till summer.
Throughout this Allium blog, we will guide you through our most popular varieties, planting partners, a full planting guide and even video planting tutorials to get you ready for your autumn bulb planting.
Planting time: September – December 📆
Location: Full Sun/Partial Shade ☀
Flowering Time: Late-Spring-July 🌸
Soil Type: Fertile, well-drained soil 🏡
For ground planting:
Remove any weeds before planting.
Plant at 3-4 times the depth of the bulb and approx 10cm-15cm apart. Position the bulbs with the pointed end facing upwards.
Fill in the holes and tread down lightly.
Feed regularly in poor soils.
After flowering, remove the leaves when they have withered.
For container planting:
Make sure to use a deep and fairly large pot for large Allium bulbs.
Use a good-quality potting compost.
Plant the bulbs three times deeper than the height of the bulb and as far apart as you can.
Water sufficiently after planting.
For frost protection, use bubble wrap or garden fleece.
A striking new variety. This elegant Allium will dazzle in the summer garden with their white and pink flushed flowers. Easy to grow and compact, this bloomer will dazzle at the front of the border. Also they are perfect for attracting wildlife!
A lovely addition to the border. Add interest and movement to the late-spring garden with these unique and vibrant egg-shaped flower heads. As well as being long lasting and pollinator-friendly, these Alliums make beautiful cut flowers!
An RHS Garden Merit Award-Winner. Allium Gladiator showcases dozens of small star-shaped purple blooms which are long lasting and naturalise easily for years of pleasure. Spectacular in large, sweeping drifts.
Boasting massive spherical violet heads, this award-winning Allium is a great tall addition to beds and borders. This showstopper naturalises easily and they are perfect for bringing butterflies fluttering to the garden.
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.
Petunias have been one of the most popular summer-flowering annuals for many years. Their popularity is due to their several desirable traits. They’re easy to grow, reliable bloomers and are available in a wide range of patterns and colours. With a flowering time from June all the way through to October, Petunias are guaranteed to liven up your garden all through the summer time. Their many varieties range from beautiful border varieties to stunning trailing hanging basket partners. Here are some of our favourites.
Petunias make excellent patio, bedding and border plants. Producing wonderfully bright flowers with beautiful markings and contrasting colours, these versatile flowers will make a showstopping display in any garden.
With rippling double blooms in shades of rosy-pink, coral, white and bi-coloured raspberry and white, these sweetly coloured Petunias are ideal for adding beautiful long-lasting clusters of colour to your borders and containers all summer long. UK-grown Garden Ready Plug plants supplied.
This new versatile variety of Petunia produces vibrant bi-coloured flowers that will add an impact to any summer basket, border or container display. The large blooms have sunny yellow centres that gradually fade in to a deep purple edging around the outer petals. UK-grown 3cm diameter plug plants supplied.
Our beautiful collection of bi-coloured Petunias are the ideal plants for brightening up your summer garden. The collection of 12 includes 3 each of Cosmic Purple (purple), Knight Rider (purple/cream), Maniac Lilac (white/lilac) and Cosmic Moonstruck (purple/yellow). UK-grown 3cm diameter plug plants supplied.
Bright, bold and bursting with life, these elegant trailing Petunias are the perfect partner for summer hanging baskets. These trailing varieties will reward you with masses of bright colour all summer long.
This unique trailing Petunia produces double, ruffled hot pink flowers with a thick pale pink band around the edge. These prolific flowering blooms also have a pretty deep pink veining and a beautiful fragrance, which makes this variety a delight in summer hanging baskets. UK-grown 3cm diameter jumbo plug plants supplied.
Petunia Tumbelina is a very distinctive variety. Their large, double ruffled blooms are a perfect solution for adding a dose of colour to your summer baskets. This highly fragrant trailing Petunia can even be planted in window boxes and containers for endless display possibilities. UK-grown 3cm jumbo plug plants supplied.
Does a mass of magenta purple flowers sound like something for you? Petunia Purple Flash will add a splash of vibrancy to your summer displays with their distinctive star-shaped white marking at the centre of their purple petals. These hardy blooms are guaranteed for months of enjoyment. UK-grown 3cm jumbo plug plants supplied.
Here is our guide for planting these popular annual flowers.
Preferably plant in full sun, but partial shade will keep them refreshed in the heat of summer.
Use a light, fertile soil that provides good drainage.
Plant in a good-sized hole that can easily accommodate the plant.
Add a layer of organic matter (compost) to the base of the hole and fork it in.
Give the plants a weekly deep watering.
Use a liquid fertilizer every two to three weeks.
Preferably plant in full sun, but partial shade will keep them refreshed in the heat of summer.
Use a sturdy container with at least one drainage hole.
Fill the container with a lightweight potting mix to promote healthy drainage.
Mix a slow-release fertilizer into the potting soil.
Water daily and deeply, then let the pot drain. (Water the soil and not the foliage.
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.
Flowering from late summer to early autumn.
Thrive in all soil types.
Suitable for growing in full or partial shade.
Wide range of colours.
To beautify your landscape and since there is a broad array of colours and textures to choose from, here are some of our most delightful varieties.
Geranium Ballerina is a fantastic herbaceous perennial that stuns with their masses of dark green foliage, which contrasts beautifully against their lovely vein patterned pink flowers. These flowers are ideal for ground cover, low borders or patio containers.
This luxury Geranium variety produces wonderful double flowers in a mix of rose pink and violet purple shades. These low-maintenance beauties will tolerate most conditions, making them a great versatile flower for all around the garden. Whether planted as ground cover, around rockeries or in pots, these flowers will brighten up any summer garden.
These great clump-forming perennials showcase large, deeply lobed leaves and deep lavender blue flowers on long stalks. This hardy ground cover plant is perfect for under-planting at the front of the border and will perform well in any well-drained, moderately fertile soil.
This delicate and delightful hardy Geranium produces pale pink veined flowers which have beautiful crimson and green centres. Their compact spreading nature make these plants an ideal candidate for borders, rockeries or patio containers and will flower all through summer into early autumn.
Looking for a lighter option? You can’t go wrong with this lovely RHS Garden Merit award winner. This lovely, sprawling perennial produces small dark green leaves with pure white clusters of perfectly formed flowers and has been awarded for its reliable performance, colour stability and pest resistance.
Geranium Springtime is guaranteed to add some drama to the garden with their dark maroon flowers and unusual, marbled foliage. These fabulous hardy perennials are certain to create a fantastic display when planted either in your garden borders or patio containers.
This superb mound-forming ground cover Geranium produces an abundance of unusual white flowers with vivid pink veining that makes them a true sight to behold in the summer time. Their hardy, compact nature makes them ideal for borders, patio pots or containers.
This stunning dwarf perennial produces a dense carpet of vibrant violet coloured blooms that spring to life during the summer months. These versatile flowers are ideal for planting as ground cover, in borders and rockeries, as well as in patio containers.
Enjoy a low-growing profusion of our most popular varieties of hardy Geraniums. This beautiful collection includes three each of Cinereum Giuseppe (purple), Sanguineum Alba (white) and Johnsons Blue. These varieties are perfect for adding reliable and low maintenance colour and beauty to the front of the border.
This attractive mix of hardy Geraniums blooms with bright and cheerful flowers will bring beauty to the garden all throughout the summer months. This popular British garden favourite is sure to add a vibrant touch to your summer garden borders.
General rule: Plant in location with early morning and afternoon sun. ☀
Planting time: From Autumn to late Winter (to ensure they establish well).
Dig a hole big enough to easily accommodate the rootball.
Add a layer of organic matter such as compost to the base of the hole and fork it in.
Place the rootball in the planting hole and position the top of the rootball so that it is level with the soil surface.
Mix in organic matter with the excavated soil and fill in the planting hole.
Water thoroughly. 💧
TIP ✨ Apply bark chippings around the root area to conserve soil moisture and help keep down weeds.
Most hardy geraniums are easy-going plants that don’t require a ton of extra attention, however here are just a few tips to get the best possible performance out of your Geraniums year-round.
Dahlias are an essential choice for the summer garden. The easy-to-grow tubers will produce a phenomenal display of colour in a range of styles with beautiful dense foliage. Dahlia work perfectly with almost all types of plants, and complement any garden wonderfully regardless of size.
Whether you’re looking to add some vibrancy to your summer, decorate your patio with impressive pot/container displays or grow a ready supply of cut flowers – Dahlias can do it all.
Why Choose Dahlias?
They are easy to grow, and suitable for gardeners of all skill levels. They are fast growing by their nature and will flower in the first year and for many years to come (just keep them stored and frost free over the winter).
They are versatile and will tolerate most types of well drained, fertile soil or compost. They can be grown successfully in pots, tubs, window boxes and in borders.
They are one of our favourite summer bulbs because of the many different types/sizes/colours available, which all look slightly different in shape, but are all equal in beauty.
Year after year sees many new exciting new varieties introduced which means once hooked on Dahlias, you will continually be able to find and try something new.
They flower continuously through the summer, right up until the first frost of the autumn.
They look fantastic as cut flowers and are great for lovers of something a little different.
The main types of Dahlias available can be classified into a number of different categories, representing the main characteristics of the flower blooms themselves.
Anemone Flowering – Also known as Powder Puff Dahlias, these beauties produce unique flowers with double feathered central petals resembling a Powder Puff.
Cactus– A favourite for many years, Cactus Dahlias produce fully double pointed petals which turn backwards to create a tubular petal effect. Sometimes referred to as Spiky Dahlias, they are perfect for the border.
Dark Leaf – These Dahlias are a little different in that their foliage is not the usual green colours of most varieties. They create an abundance of flowers through the summer as expected, however the blooms appear on darker (usually purple/black) foliage.
Decorative– The largest range of large, fully double flowers with rounded petals through the summer right up until the first frosts. They produce masses of flowers for cutting purposes.
Dwarf Gallery – A range of smaller, more petite Dahlias which are perfect for the front of the border. They are prolific flowering varieties, look also great planted mixed together in pots on the patio.
Dinner Plate – As the name suggests these are the largest flowers within the range, often up to as much as 25cm in diameter (see illustration below). Try these as cut flowers and be certain to draw attention.
Pompom– Love the unusual, then these are certainly for you. Almost spherical flowers (like balls) appear through the summer. The petals have rounded tips and are curved upwards at the edges. The flower heads are also slightly flattened towards the centre.
All our Dahlias are supplied as top quality dormant tubers which can be planted straight into the place where they are bloom (their final location). Success rate from these dahlia tubers is extremely high and they are a relatively inexpensive way to create a large number of flowers from one tuber.
Dahlia tubers can be planted 10cm deep in fertile well drained soil, outdoors in spring when the frost has disappeared. They prefer to be in a sunny location and spaced at approximately 45cm apart. In areas where there is extreme cold, dig up dahlias and store in a cool peat over the winter. Apply a high potash fertiliser every few weeks in the summer to help growth and they can be dead headed when necessary.
How to grow Dahlia plants in pots or containers
A fantastic way to brighten up your patio is to introduce some Dahlias in pots/containers. The colour range is fantastic, with many unusual bi-colour varieties which will brighten up any space. Simply beautiful to sit back and look at during a warm summer afternoon.
Once your tubers arrive safely in the post, they can be soaked overnight in a bucket of water to soak up as much moisture as possible.
When all signs of frost have passed they are ready to pot up, giving plenty of time to get well established before the summer.
It is recommended to place some pebbles at the bottom of the pots before adding the compost to help with drainage, by ensuring the compost doesn’t block the drainage holes.
Fill in some compost and then add the tuber with the growing tip facing upwards.
Continue to fill in the rest of the compost to firmly hold the tuber, making sure the growing tip at the top is peeping out and is not completely covered. This is now ready to be moved to the patio or garden area, with access to as much sun as possible.
Water well after potting and then keep compost moist but not waterlogged as tubers will rot. You can add a liquid feed weekly during the growing season and provide some protection from slugs as they really love Dahlias.
If growing tall varieties, insert a cane to help with growth and to keep secure.
Little pruning is needed on Dahlias, however you can deadhead as flowers begin to fade.