All posts tagged: garden

Give your garden the autumn wow factor

The warmth of summer may be a distant memory, but autumn can be a spectacular month – especially on those bright clear days when everything glows. It’s a joy to see autumn trees in the park or countryside but there are plenty of smaller trees and shrubs that’ll light up your own garden with fiery shades of red and gold. There are shiny hips and berries a plenty in October too. Here’s my pick. Trees My new favourite tree for autumn colour is Parrotia Persica (Persian ironwood) whose large leaves turn from yellow to brilliant orange and pink– followed by clusters of bright red flowers. It also has striking grey peeling bark when mature and looks particularly stylish as a multi-stem. It’s spreading and can eventually get quite big (up to 6m) so it does need space. Amelanchier lamarckii is a smaller and more easily sourced tree that is also grown as a multi- stem. As well as stunning golden orange autumn leaves, it has white spring blossom and summer berries. Similarly acers (Japanese maple) …

Garden Talk: September’s star performers

Keep the colour glowing in your garden into autumn with these late flowering beauties… Anemone x hybrid ‘September Charm’ These elegant flowers, which rise up on long stems from a mass of large leaves, will brighten up the garden from late summer until early autumn. A. ‘September Charm’ is a pretty rosy pink and A. ‘Honorine Jolbert’ is a crisp white – both have gorgeous sunny golden centres. Happy in sun and shade – they’re a must. Aster x frikartii ‘Mönch’  With a mass of pale blue daisy-like flowers, this is another perennial to lighten up the early autumn months. A. ‘Little Carlow’ is another reliable variety with lavender blue flowers. Best in full sun. Geranium ‘Rozanne’ Of all the geraniums G. ‘Rozanne’ is one of the latest flowering. If you keep deadheading this useful geranium with large pale purple flowers, it’ll bloom into autumn. Happiest in an open sunny spot where it’ll form a large spreading mound. Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ i Large golden daisies with black eyes they shine out against purples …

12 ways to leave your garden

Going away? Here’s your pre-holiday to do list. Give your perennials a good cut back. Tired hardy geraniums can be sheared right back – they’ll produce new growth and may flower again for you on your return. The same goes for plants like nepeta and Alchemilla mollis. Deadhead roses before you go away so they’ll put energy into new growth and more flowers, rather than seeds. Don’t be afraid to cut back hard to thick stems and strong buds – it’ll encourage stronger new shoots. Cut off the spent flowering spikes of salvia or penstemon – these may come again. Lightly trim lavender removing old flower spikes with a pair of hand shears. Take a few cm off the tips of leafy growth to encourage side shoots and keep the plants bushy. Trim back taller perennials that have flopped onto the grass or are smothering other plants – or stake them securely so they’ll cope with any windy days while you’re away. Water. This is particularly important given the hot weather we’ve had. Drench your …

Fab Foliage

Plants with variegated foliage have grown on me. Some are nicer than others – I generally prefer the ones with white/creamy coloured markings to the more yellow pigments. But just a few dotted around create bright golden or silvery accents, adding drama and contrast and lightening up shady corners. Here’s my pick: Shrubs Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Silver Queen’ Good for: Evergreen structure This stylish shrub has small greyish green and cream leaves with contrasting black stems. It gets big but is easy to clip to shape – and the foliage is great for flower arranging. Likes sun or part shade. Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’ Good for: Winter interest Cornus (dogwoods) are grown for their red stems revealed in winter when the leaves fall, but this variety also has elegant pale green and white leaves that shimmer in the sun. It works best in full sun, planted somewhere visible during the winter. Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ Good for: Scented winter flowers This classy rounded shrub has glossy green leaves with fine golden margins and clusters of deliciously scented pink …

Great plants that don’t need watering

It may be tempting fate, but on the whole summers are getting hotter. So whether for environmental or practical reasons it makes sense to use plants in the garden that once established need little watering. Drought-tolerant plants tend to originate from hot, dry environments and adapt in different ways to cope: Silver leaves to reflect sun; succulent leaves to store moisture; tiny leaves to reduce evaporation and aromatic leaves that release essential oils to keep cool. These plants often thrive in well-drained poor soil. So in clay soil, add grit or sand to help with drainage. Here’s my pick of sun lovers: 1. Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s ears). This is a useful spreading ground cover plant with silvery woolly leaves. (S.b. ‘Silver Carpet’ has smaller neater leaves than S.b. ‘Big Ears.’ 2. Lavender. This is a classic for a sunny spot. Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’ is a popular compact variety with dark purple flowers. Or for a change, try Santolina chamaecyparrisus another compact silver leaved shrub with yellow flowers in late summer. 3. Cistus (Rock Rose). Sun …