Favourite Plants for containers and borders this June
I love containers they are like the curtains and carpets in a new home completing the picture. I am wary too many colours and busy patterns can look a little cluttered. I have found simple containers work best in my garden enhancing the already defined canvas of plants in the borders. I often plant all one variety in a single pot. You cannot go wrong planting multiple pots with all red or subtle white geraniums. They will always look spectacular. Whilst there are classic plants that eternally look great I am always on the lookout for new ideas.
I choose plants that compliment my existing borders. Against the backdrop of my front herbaceous border which is largely purple, mauve rose pink and burgundy, I have planted 3 pots. My first is a classic large terracotta bowl planted with Argyranthemums.( White Marguerite Daisies.) Bowl planters are a great shape to plant. I feel they display the plants well and white single daisies are my choice because they are the epitome of summer. White plants catch your attention so don’t be tempted to put a pot of white on top of a man hole cover you are trying to conceal or in front of an ugly wall. In this instance I would choose dark plants. My burgundy Argyranthemums (Crested Merlot) are an ideal.
In a tall fluted pot I have planted three of my delightful Salvia ‘Icing Sugar’. These stand prominently about 1 1/2ft tall and are gracefully clump forming. They form pink spires tipped with white (hence the icing sugar in the name) that flower well into November. Salvia ‘Hot Lips’ is similar but red with white tips and equally amazing. What has surprised me about both these Salvias is how remarkably well they have survived the last two winters despite being classed as half hardy perennials. I seriously neglect these pots barely remembering to water them often only emptying my cold coffee pot over them and they continue to be prolific.
I have a lovely glazed rose pink pot and I have planted this with three cosmos. One is rose pink, one soft pink and one white. The fine feathery foliage softly fills the pot and the blend of three colours is an absolute picture. I have also no hesitation popping Cosmos in a few gaps in my front border. I feel assured they will delight me with lovely open pretty pink tones all summer and their fine foliage blends with all the subtle cottage garden plants whilst merging harmoniously with my container.
I have to mention Heliotrope. The dark purple heads are outstanding. They always look distinguished and bright but never brash, perhaps because the purple blue tones are neutral. I look through a terracotta pot of warm purple to my yellow and purply blue border and it blends with the garden really well. It is quiet striking. This is an annual worth slipping in amongst your perennials for some depth of colour.
My permanent containers include purple sage in bell shaped pots, either side of my steps down to the lawn, pots of thyme another useful and evergreen herb, both thyme and sage are handy to have close to the Kitchen. I also have an Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Garnet’ (Dark red leaved Dwarf Japanese Maple.) Although this is not evergreen it is a pre-madonna of the plants world and as long as it is not stood in wind it will look fabulous until late autumn.
Heucheras are prominent in all my winter hanging baskets and containers but they are equally great in summer planting schemes. The foliage colours are so outstanding it is wasteful not to mix them with summer bedding. The many dark red varieties look great with deep ‘Velvet’ sophina (trailing petunias), purple tailing verbenas and ‘Magenta’ or ‘Berrys and Cream’ Nemesia. I think Heucheras are possibly the most addictive collectable plant. I am forever spotting new varieties I just have to include in my different borders from the rusty tones of Marmalade I have in my rust , yellow and orange border, where my Achilla Paprika has just created the most wonderful wave of peppery red to my newly acquired ‘ Black Berry Jam’ added to my mauve to purple and burgundy border. They mainly make neat foliage good at ground cover level and slip almost anywhere even in partial shade. The skill is to co ordinate them with other plants. My ‘Black Berry Jam’ is next to my favourite summer cranesbill geranium , sanguineum ‘Max Frei’. A fine leaved but sturdy low growing and relatively drought tolerant geranium with a brilliant cerise flower which is very prolific.
There is a new cranesbill geranium to watch out for this season. It is a hybrid of ‘Rosanne’ (perennial plant of the year 2008) which has proved an excellent plant flowering from May until the first frosts. ‘Azure Rush’.These three geraniums are perfect to slip into any little gap and enjoy all summer and next year too!
Finally I have enjoyed a little piece of theatre this week as my new David Austin Roses came into bloom. 1,000 of plants are wasted in the breading of a new variety so I was anticipating something good. My new ‘Munstead Wood Rose’ opened the most beautiful multi petalled rich crimson red bold blooms. It is scented like an old fashioned rose, officially described as ‘warm and fruity with blackberry, blueberry and damson’,which I think sounds rather lovely. It really is something special and I see why it features on the front cover of the David Austin Handbook and I think it is worthy of celebrated garden it is named after. Every garden needs a few pre-Madonna’s or star performers from time to time and I am very glad I chose to have this rose.
Join us here at the Nurseries this Sunday Father’s Day, 11am until 5pm for our Charity cream teas in the Garden or Marquee depending on the weather! Where we will be raising money for the Multiple Sclerosis Trust.