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Thursday, 12 May 2011

Gardening Notes May 2011

Summer Pots Baskets and Borders Made Easy

Here are some of my recommended favourite summer plants.

Marguerite


Summer wouldn’t be summer without Daisies. A white Marguerite always brings a smile. I can also recommend the Madera series of Argyranthemums. They range from compact doubles flowers to some lovely rich warm wine shades.

Argyanthanthemum  Madera 
 Why not fill a large terracotta pot or urn with three or five depending on the size of the pot. Often simple unfussy planting can be extremely effective.

Salvia Hot Lips
Salvia Icing Sugar
 I love the effect of planting 3 Icing Sugar (pink) or Hot Lips (red) Salvias in one container. They stand about a foot and a half tall and form a well balanced pot. There is something quinticentially English about them, perfect for the front of an old cottage. They also work well mixed in borders, standing tall enough to be seen but mixing well with other plants like a wave of Gypsophilia in a bright colour.

Gaura is another great plant for summer pots and borders. Feathery red foliage and butterfly like flowers on long stems make it not only colourful but interesting. I’ve seen them planted as ground cover in Japanese style gardens at Chelsea but they are also suited well to simple summer pots.

Let’s not forget the traditional Dahlias. The Happy series takes a lot of beating for reliability. The dark red leaves and the mass of single flowers in pinks, reds and whites are a great addition to any summer border or equally fitting planted in pots. Dead head these and they will keep on flowering until we have frost in November.

If you haven’t got excited about scented Geraniums yet it’s time you did - ginger, pine, citrus and ever coca cola. The natural oils in the scented leaves are very uplifting. I plant them near my front door with lavender and all the other fragrant plants that give me a lift as I rush in and out. Geranium Quercifolia has pest control properties and help deter mosquitoes. I think they would be ideal near any areas you like to sit out and eat in the summer.

If you just want something very traditional you can’t beat pots of red geraniums.  The new Trend varieties are ideal as they are a little larger and robust, making a very bold pot or statement in a border.

Mixed baskets, troughs and pots flower all summer making them well worth making. I would recommend planting blues, whites and yellows in your shady areas and Caribbean colours or hot colours in your sunny spots. The pale colours tend to be lost in full sun. In very shady areas Fuchsia and Busy Lizzie thrive well. In bright hot spots it’s often worth choosing plants that will not wilt at the first drought.  Geraniums and Begonias, Scaevola and Bidens cope very well. The Salvias I mentioned earlier handle hot spots exceptionally well.
Nemesia Berries and Cream


As always there are one or two plants that are so delicious I have to plant them. This year I wouldn’t be without Berries and Cream Nemesia. It’s come back stronger then ever with two tone purple and white flowers. Nemesia sweet lady is beautiful pale with the most divine scent of vanilla. Calibrachoa the trailing petunia with miniature cascading flowers is now available in so many colours and plants anywhere. It’s a real alternative to Surfina. I would also mention the double trailing Petunia or Tumbelina in lots of lovely shades. They are a real talking point.

I am taking hanging basket workshops now so if you want to have a go at making your own basket with a little bit of help now is your opportunity. The next two are here at Preston  Bissett Nurseries on Thursday 19th May at 2pm or 7pm. Please call 01280 848038 to book.

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