OK I know it's
asking for trouble saying this. If you can't grow these
though (assuming you're not too beastly to them), then all that
is left is cress on blotting paper or mould in the fridge. I've
seen all of them thriving in all sorts of places on awful soils,
the only thing to look out for is water-logged soils, where most
plants struggle. If the plant is described as "drought tolerant",
then don't bother trying it in these conditions.
Plants for waterlogged soils.
Alchemilla mollis - Ladies mantle*.
clump forming perennial with softly hairy pale green leaves
that hold drops of water beautifully after rain. Unusual
tiny greenish yellow flowers borne in great quantity from
early summer to early autumn. Excellent ground cover and
good for cut flowers. Drought-tolerant. Very easily raised
to do with firming of the bosom apparently, though what
you do to achieve the supposed effect I don't know.
Buddleia davidii - Butterfly
if you want to be pretentious, sorry RHS) Medium to large
shrub, fast growing (stand well back) covered in fragrant
purple cone-shaped inflorescences 4"-12" long
in summer that are in turn frequently covered in butterflies.
Flowers of different varieties come in shades from white
through lilac to quite dark purple with pinks too. There's
orange flowered variety B. globosa with
golf-ball sized and shaped inflorescences. The star of the
group for my money is Buddleia alternifolia, though
not as tough or quick as davidii. Given three trowels for
maintenance as it needs pruning every year or it ends up
showing its flowers to the birds while you admire
them from below, otherwise easy.
Buy Buddleia |
Butterfly Bush seeds
blue bell-shaped (hence Campanula) flowers. Good ground
cover in sun or partial shade, to 12".
Buy Campanula carpatica
Not as tough
as carpatica maybe or as easy to find. Better grown in partial
shade, remarkably drought tolerant and I like the name (practice
saying it). A creeper, low growing to about 4", will "flow"
up and around obstacles in a most satisfactory way. Flowers
largish group of shrubs of various habit from prostrate
ground cover to tall arching tree-like species. Some deciduous
and some evergreen. Pretty tough as a group and withstand
dry conditions (once-established). Most have white or pinkish-white
flowers in spring followed by autumn / winter berries the
colours of which vary in different species.
- I tend to regard this one
as a bit dull but worthy, but maybe I just don't know
better. OK as a odd one in a mixed display, but rather over-planted
by housing developers on new estates. Low-growing, deciduous,
millions of red autumn berries, herringbone pattern to the
branches, to 3ft tall. Can be successfully grown upwards
as a wall shrub.
- vigorous evergreen to 12ft,
dense foliage so good as a hedge, red berries.
- vigorous evergreen to 15ft,
a good inclusion to a mixed hedge. Slightly unusual but
very attractive golden yellow berries.
of species (plural).
upright fuchsia covered with small pink and purple flowers,
to 6ft + if you let it, can be used for hedging.
Buy Fuchsia riccartonii
Geraniums - hardy species - Crane's bill*
not the red and pink half-hardy summer flowering plants
that have metallic smelling foliage frequently referred
to as geraniums, those are called Pelargoniums.
differ in that they are first of all, hardy, and generally
have flowers in shades of pink and blue that are borne in
small groups. They are also some of the prettiest and most
useful additions to the garden.
dozens of varieties, and are one of the types of plant that
some people go barmy over and fill their garden with hundreds
of different types of the one plant. They're good as
ground cover with several species rooting as they go.
- very pretty mid-blue flowers
to about 12"
phaeum - Mourning
widow. - Lilac to purple, not the most spectacular flowers
in the world but the bees certainly appreciate them. Tolerate
deep shade like little else will. To about 24".
flowers in a variety of named forms, all good.
petals fall off the flowers, the remaining seed pod resembles
a crane's bill (and head).
Buy hardy geraniums
more on hardy Geraniums
Hemerocallis - Day Lilies
flowers last about a day, but they come thick and fast.
Numerous varieties usually in hot colours from yellow through
reds and orange with some pinks. Arching strap-like leaves,
flowers 10" to 36" tall depending on variety,
spread to about 3ft, an excellent addition to mixed borders.
Tall orange ones are meant to be the most reliable. A recent
has longer lasting flowers and needs less space.
Photinia x fraseri "Red Robin"
upright foliage shrub, evergreen, with bright red new foliage
at ends of shoots in spring. Leaves remain red for a considerable
time turning green as they age. Best colour obtained in
full sun. Can be used for hedging, though pattern of coloured
foliage is lost rather when the hedge is clipped. Not for
the most exposed conditions.
Buy Photinia red robin |
pack of 3 |
hedging pack of 10 |
or try here
Prunus laurocerasus - Cherry laurel
dense, bushy evergreen shrub. Long glossy leaves to about
6" long, dark green above, lighter below. Fragrant
white flowers produced in spring. With the (quite deserved)
decline of x Cupressocyparis lleylandii as a hedging
plant, laurels should be the ideal replacement. They
are dense and fast growing, but respond better to trimming
and don't just proceed skywards indefinitely.
conifers rarely if ever grow from brown wood, even old established
laurels will respond to a severe pruning by producing fresh
green growth from mature brown wood that hasn't seen
direct sunlight for years. Within a year or so, you will
be rewarded with a new curtain of attractive foliage. Don't
trim with shears though, the large leaves don't look
good when they start to turn brown at the edges after being
chopped through. A smaller variety "Otto Luyken"
grows to about 3ft tall and wide and is suitable for inclusion
in a border.
hardy, a single plant may be grown as an informal wind-break
or at the back of a large border where the dark green leaves
set off other foliage and flowers admirably.
Buy Prunus cherry laurel
Saxifraga x urbium - London Pride
vigorous evergreen ground cover plant about 3" high.
White flower panicles flushed with pink to about 10"
in summer. Spreads reliably even in poor soils, needs some
Pyracantha - Firethorn
evergreen shrub with white spring flowers and autumn / winter
berries of various shades, (depending on variety) of red,
through yellow and golden yellow to orange. Viciously thorny
and makes a good burglar-proof hedge or spot planting against
vulnerable downstairs windows, fences etc. Can be grown
as a free-standing shrub or trained against a wall or fence.
Can be easily trained and takes hard pruning well, effective
as an informal hedge. One of my favourites is in the village
of Madingley, a golden yellow berried variety growing against
an old house that is painted a sympathetic shade of yellow-earth
- an inspired planting. Withstands some shade and reasonably
tolerant of soggy soils.
Buy Pyracantha / firethorn |
berries pack of 5 |
berries pack of 5
berries pack of 5
Sedum spectabile - Ice plant*
forming deciduous perennial. Fleshy pale green leaves. Large
flat pink-red compound flowers in late summer - early autumn,
much loved by bees and butterflies. Tolerates drought once
established, every garden should have at least one. The
leaves make a good contrast against grasses / gravel / rocks
/ wood etc. To 18". Easy to propagate by stem cuttings
in spring or autumn.
Buy Sedum spectabile / ice plant |
Sedum brilliant |
why it's called the "ice plant.", In the Voctorian "language
of flowers", giving someone this plants means "your
looks freeze me" but I'm not sure whether this
led to, or arose from the name.
Vinca major - Periwinkle
ground cover plant with blue spring / summer flowers. To
about 20" tall, spread indefinite, roots as it goes.
Very tough once established, and tolerates sun or shade.
Vinca minor is equally unfazed by novice gardeners
or shade, will confine itself to about 8" and a much
Buy Vinca major / periwinkle
dense evergreen shrub eventually to about 10ft tall and
wide. Fragrant white flowers borne over a long period through
winter and spring, followed by blue/black berries. Tolerates
a fair amount of shade and can be hard pruned.
Buy Viburnum tinus |
Viburnum tinus 3 pack