All posts tagged: garden talk

Hydrangeas for high summer impact

Hydrangeas are gorgeous shrubs – their large blousy heads create abundance and colour into late summer, often taking on pinky hues in autumn, with dried seed heads adding winter structure too. They can be broadly categorised into two species, including Asian (paniculataand macrophylla) that prefer acid soil, some shade and moisture. For sunnier spots, opt for an American species such as the popular North American H. arborescens‘Annabelle’, which can handle full sun and less water. Hydrangeas come in a vast range of colours, sizes and forms – from the globular mopheads to lacecaps with flatter heads of flowers. Here are a few to consider: Hydrangea Macrophylla If the standard pink and blue mopheads (pink in alkaline and blue in acidic soil), conjure up an old fashioned image, opt for classic white varieties such as the flamboyant H. macrophylla ‘Madame Emile Mouillere’ or H. macrophylla ‘Zebra’ which has striking black stems. Otherwise, go for dramatic colours such as H. macrophylla ‘Westfalen’ with its large rich purple mophead blooms.Lovely lacecaps include subtle grey blue and white H. …

The Fragrant Garden

From the delicate perfume of roses to the heady exoticism of jasmine, having a few sweet smelling flowers in your garden can really lift the spirits. It’s a good idea to put fragrant plants near seating areas or paths so you can appreciate them as you walk by or over a morning coffee or evening drink. Here are a few of my favourite scented plants from spring to summer: Shrubs For spring flowers, Osmanthus x burkwoodii is a fab rounded shrub with small dark evergreen leaves and a mass of tiny white sweet smelling flowers in April and May. Another gorgeous shrub I’d love in my garden is Viburnum x burkwoodii, which has clusters of white vanilla-scented flowers opening from pink buds, in April and May. A little later comes Lilac (Syringa) – beautiful right now, with its heavenly blousy blossom in a range of purples and white. Syringa vulgaris are the most perfumed varieties – I like S. ‘Mme Lemoine ‘ which has highly fragranced white flowers. For smaller gardens or containers, dwaf varieties such …

Garden Talk: Get ahead with spring bulbs

It may seem a way off, but autumn is the time to plant your spring bulbs – you’ll really appreciate those splashes of colour after the grey winter months. Bulbs look great in drifts under deciduous trees and bushes or at the front of borders, but work well in containers too. Here are a few to try. Crocuses One of the first flowers to emerge in February, they create a pretty wash of purple or yellow naturalised in the lawn and are lovely clustered under magnolia trees or crammed into pots. Soft purple C. tommasinianus ‘Barr’s Purple’ with its golden orange stamens is a winner while C. vernus ‘Pickwick’ is more robust and bigger (12-15cm), so good for impact on a dull winter’s day. Sarah Raven’s favourite C.minimus ‘Spring Beauty’ is a stunner and great in pots on the windowsill where you can admire the striking dark purple stripe on the outer petal. Most need well drained soil and sun. Narcissi Daffodils are a must for cheerful spring colour and lovely scent, and there’s a …