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Saturday, 7 March 2020

What To Plant Now

The time to get things in the ground is now. Get your plants established so you can enjoy many of them this year, particularly the perennials.


Late Summer Perennials
Plant your late summer perennials now so you can enjoy beds of aster, rubeckia and helleniums and so forth, many daisy plants is the asteracae family in late July into autumn. I can not list them all but Clumps of 3 , 5 ,7 ,9 or more, will fill out to make eye catching displays. Plant enough be bold. These can be bought as small 9cm plants but one on its own is lost you need a display.


If you want your garden to look fantastic give it some continuity. Depending on the space repeat your clumps of perennials around the garden.


I feel it looks far more dramatic to have a really bold clump like my asters here than to plant individual perennials that get a bit lost. It also pays to plant colours and tones that go together on one area.
Plant more of these perennials that look largely like green cabbages now and you will not get that late summer gap when the garden looks like its finished too early and your ready to enjoy sitting out on the warmer September evenings.

Ground Cover
As well as planting lots of late summer perennials that will establish and I can enjoy this year I will be planting ground cover.
Its a perpetual problem. Gaps and areas of bare ground often difficult to establish.
I love my wooded quarter of ferns and hellebores particularly the hybrid hellebores and my current favourite is Anna's red but as ground cover particularly in those dry awkward shady place good old geranium macrorrhizum is amazing. It is described as mat forming and it does spread out and suppresses the weeds with a pretty pink flush of flowers taboot.
So I recomend cranesbil geraniums but in particular for those difficult places my macrohizum. I also have to recommend the much over looked epimedium. This plant is so versatile but it will grow in shade. Its leave are like apricot hearts and it flowers are simply pretty. This is the plan to tuck underneath your shrubs. Under cornus, rose bushes and I have it under a cotinus (smoke bush.)


Shrubs
Many silver leaf or warmer climate or Mediterranean shrubs establish better when planted in the spring.Convolvulus, cistus, seneceo, rosemay, lavender and also many of the Mediteranium herbs.


They enjoy warm feet while getting into the ground. Hydrangeas also like to be planted now. I would always plant some ceanothus (California Lilac) for the really deep evergreen foliage and vivid blue flowers.There is never enough blue in the garden. If I had space I would plant hydrangea Annable because I simply love it and there is something very special about the limey fresh enormous white flowers in late summer. 
Another premadonna plant that has a season but make a big statement is Magnolia. These are about to stun us with their amazing flowers. Their architectural form looks great even in the winter. We all need a lilac or Syringa somewhere but my choice is the dwarf varieties. I have Palibin. Which is everything in miniature! I have two that have  stood the test of time. Always fragrant and out just as my glorious sweet scented Daphne odora is finishing.



Premadonna Perennials
In this category goes the lupin, delphinium and the purple clouds of Verbena bonariensis.

Everybody is planting lupins by Easter and that is because they look so impressive.
The earlier you plant them the better because they like to get their roots down deep. All that show up top needs something to sustain it. We will have the new huge West country lupins, the Gallery series as well as the original tried and tested Russell varieties which will be in every Chelsea show garden. The Governor (classic blue), Noble Maiden(white),Chandelier (yellow), The Castle (red) and Chatelaine (soft tones.) 

Perhaps the up and coming perennial is salvia. There are now so many readily available. I've always loved Salvia caradonna blue.  Like the lupin and delphinium it punches through the border with tall candles of vivid blue. If you plant it now you will enjoy it this season. Other candle perennials include verbascum and good old foxgloves digitalis of which there are far more than purpurea. Incidentally before anyone else asked as soon as we can get hold of the new Chelsea success, the copy-write orange Firebird foxglove we will have it. 

Top Climbers
Favourite all time climber has to be the wistera. There is something very special about this quintessential plant.


It can make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. Prune it after flowering. Taking it back to a few (3 approx) buds this will encourage a second flush and prune again in early spring to about 2 buds. The reason for this is  to encourage quality flowers not quantity and poor flowers. Do not plant them so close to a wall their roots are always dry. 
Wistera is being rivalled in popularity by the Trachelospermum jasminoides because its evergreen and natural we love the jasmine fragrance. I'd not put this in my most exposed part of the garden but it is a fantastic wall shrub.


I can not cover the world amazing clematis. The blowsy fair weathered summer varieties with the big heads will grow across a warm wall trellis needing only a prune to tidy. Spring and late summer brings us some tough scramblers alpina, macro-petulata in spring and viticella in late summer. These can be allowed to cruse through shrubs and up trees to give you seasons of interest.

I would not hesitate to recommend any but have particular soft spot for viticella in my garden. These get chopped right back in the early spring as the flower on the growth they make this year. 

One thing we are always asked for is evergreen climbers. We have lots of evergreen Lonicera henryi (honeysuckle) such as great varieties like Copper Beauty with auburn flowers as the name suggests. Honeysuckle cope well in shady places they are woodland plants.I have mentioned the popular evergreen trachelospermum (left) but I must point you toward the Clematis armandii.
Describe it as a thug or a strong evergreen with scented white spring flowers that is excellent at covering trellis or fence.It doesn't want to be in a windy position where the leafy stems may get so blown about they crack causing die back along the branch.

 If you want something covered in green that is not ivy it is quiet good! 
Take your pick. Every plant has its place.








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