Add beautiful blooms without a lot of maintenance to your garden this summer with easy-growing, colorful shrubs. Here is Country Gardener’s choice of some of the best. We’ve trawled through the market to find our favourites all of which will be available at your local nursery or garden centre.
Ross Barbour, head gardener at Ragley Hall, tells how he created an alpine garden in the grounds – and puts in a plea for a revival of these plants that have dropped out of fashion
For a vast group of plants that has some of the easiest to grow, or if you choose, some of the hardest and everything in-between, I find it incredible that alpines are so underrated and out of fashion.
Andrew Midgley has some suggestions on what to choose if you want to add some of these reliable and maintenance free plants to your garden
Hardy geraniums, not to be confused with pelargoniums, are, I think, an essential group of plants to have in the garden for a multitude of reasons.
The majority are able to tolerate the cold winters, are easy to grow, are practically disease free and are tolerant of a diverse range of soil conditions and different aspects (sunny/shade). Geraniums are generally very reliable and fairly maintenance free.
Leeks are one of the most worthwhile things you can grow in your vegetable patch. A look at the prices of leeks in supermarkets and greengrocers will prove that point immediately.
There’s two other advantages of growing leeks.
Firstly they will keep the vegetable plot or allotment busy throughout the winter and finally there’s no doubt that home grown leeks taste much better than shop bought varieties.
Upton Wold, Moreton-in-Marsh
This is an ever-developing and changing garden, four miles from Moreton-in-Marsh, and owned by Mr and Mrs I R S Bond, that has been architecturally and imaginatively laid out around the 17th century house (not open). The garden has commanding views, yew hedges, a herbaceous walk, some unusual plants and trees, vegetables, a pond and woodland gardens, and National Collections of Juglans and Pterocarya. Upton Wolds’s garden was started from a bare piece of land in 1973. Created with the help of the landscape architect Hal Moggridge, the garden has matured into one of Gloucestershire’s finest gardens, and has been featured in newspapers and magazines. There is an abundance of interesting plants and shrubs, including cornus, drimys, roses and magnolias.
• Use windowsills as mini-greenhouses to sow seeds in pots in preparation for spring. With luck by May when the seedlings get too big for the windowsill they can be found a sheltered spot outdoors to grow until big enough to plant out
• Be prepared for an onslaught of slugs, they will be on the move and ready to munch their way through your plants at the slightest hint of mild weather
• The cold has held back budding roses so there is still time to finish your pruning – invest in a good pair of gardening gloves to keep out the cold and the prickles
Neil Lucas, owner of the acclaimed Knoll Gardens and nursery in Dorset talks to Alan Lewis about his long term aims of helping others create sustainable, wildlife friendly, beautiful gardens
Neil Lucas raises his hand about three feet from the ground and admits: ”I wanted to be a gardener since I was this high.”
“It was the only thing for me and I never changed my mind."
The childhood ambition has turned into a remarkable horticultural success story.
It seems if there’s one thing most gardeners want it’s a wooden garden shed. It’s top of the wanted purchases list for 2013.
It’s a new season so is it time for something ‘extra’ in the garden?
Top of the list of gardeners’ wishes for 2013 it seems are either a garden shed or some new garden furniture.
Peter and Sylvia Goodenough’s garden in Langport is already being transformed into a garden fit to be open to the public
Work is under way on Peter and Sylvia Goodenough’s garden which won the Country Gardener competition prize of a £10,000 Fat Leaf garden makeover. They were chosen as the winners because of their passion for their garden, their skill in horticulture and their ambition for their garden.
The Japanese Iris was very popular but fell out of favour. In recent years they have returned to the limelight with many modern cultivars being bred in the United States.
There must surely be an iris for every taste, with between 260-300 species and thousands of cultivars and varieties to choose from.