- An absolute summer favourite and must-have. What's the point of having
a garden, or even just a window box, if you don't take the opportunity to
grow pure white wonderfully scented blooms that are often up to 6 inches
or more across? What's that? Lily beetle? yes I know, but I'd rather struggle
with them and risk it than not bother at all. Plant them somewhere near
the house so you can easily see and smell them whenever you walk past.
Lilies to buy
- Mullein - Verbascum olympicum - a large biennial plant
that grows to about 3-4 feet to the top of the leaves and then another 3-4
feet of flower spike above this, so not easy to ignore in the border. The
flowers come out in order along the spike so the whole inflorescence is
long-lasting. Easy to grow and unfussy about soil, sow seed one year and
they will flower the next, will self-seed if it's happy where you put it.
Verbascum to buy
Morning Glory - Heavenly Blue.
One of my favourite flowers and a must-have annual every year. Sow the
seed in March and by late May to June, they're ready to go outside. They
do great in large containers, make sure you give them plenty of space and
you'll have a endless succession of perfect flowers every day as long as
you dead-head them in the evening.
Ipomoea to buy
Rosa felipes Kiftsgate
- the rose that wants to be a tree. This bunch of flowers is about a
foot across and is part of a display some 20 feet wide and 10 feet high. A very vigorous rambling rose, only flowers
the once in a year - but it does so magnificently, filling the garden with
perfume in the process.
Kiftsgate to buy
Variegated plant reverting
to plain green.
plants with variegated leaves, especially shrubs and trees will produce
all green leaves in the spring and summer, if left, these plain shoots will
overtake the plant entirely. Cut them back as far as possible to the trunk,
main stem or roots leaving only the variegated parts.
Eunoymus to buy
at Hinchingbrooke House, Huntingdon. This is one of my favourite plants
and settings, growing up a spectacular old manor house, this plant goes
almost un-noticed as it's off the beaten track. This small open courtyard
garden is paved with millstones and the scent on a warm spring day from
the Wisteria is amazing. Something to aspire to for gardener and homeowner
Wisteria to buy
or Devil-in-a-bush. Delicate flowers in shades
of blue, the flower is surrounded by a "ruff" of finely divided foliage
which when there are many flowers together give the impression of them all
being in the "mist". After flowering a large (similar diameter to the petals)
seed pod forms which is decorative in its own right. The best thing though
is that you can let them self-seed and you have them every year for no effort.
Nigella to buy
Foxglove - Digitalis
I love foxgloves, they are one of my favourite
flowers. They are woodland edge plants and so are good for the right "difficult"
position, though can seem difficult themselves as they do need the woodland
edge position. Life is not complete unless you have spent some time time
watching bees visit foxgloves and have taken 5 flowers off to place on each
Foxglove to buy
Summer - Pheasant's Tail Grass,
surrounded by a wonderful mass planting of Pheasants Tail Grass - Stipa
arundinacea. This is at Anglesey Abbey Gardens near Cambridge, a few years
ago now so I guess the planting has been changed by now.
Summer - Hollyhocks, Alcea
rosea - these are a classic cottage garden
plant for the back of the border. This is an example of the original plant
type, a large plant, 6 to 8 feet tall with simple single flowers in a pastel
shade. There are a large number of modern cultivars available that may be
shorter, have double flowers and with a wider range of flower colours.
Hollyhocks to buy