If you’ve ever been overwhelmed by the choice when looking for a specific plant to fill an equally specific location in the garden then you are certainly not alone. Recent research has indicated that a large proportion of garden owners look for instant solutions when making garden purchases and I can see why, the plant choice is vast and buying a recommended plant is a safer bet then taking a chance on an unknown specimen.
Bright and cheerful plants always stand out and instant colour is a sure seller in the plant world. For instance bright colourful summer bedding plants are probably the best instant garden plants known. Just buy the plants, put them in the garden and they do exactly what they should with little difficulty and be almost fool-proof. I’m convinced though that bedding plants are hitting the garden centre shelves earlier each year (mid February this year for young plants which can catch out the unwary) and that marketing them in a variety of different pots, trays and enticingly named varieties increases their saleability and catch more buyers. But what about other garden plants that can give almost instant results?
There’s a huge range of perennials and shrubs that can give as much colour and range of interest as bedding plants.
Over the years we have had a lot of success with Potentillas both the perennial type and the shrubs too. Although the shrubby Potentillas may seem rather ordinary they do give excellent continuous colour through the year brightening any border from late spring to mid autumn. Try Potentilla fruticosa ‘Princess’ with pink flowers or the white ‘Abbotswood’ for a bright splash of brightness. They also do really well in pots.
Also try the perennial Potentilla ‘Gibson’s Scarlet’ with bright scarlet flowers on long stems above the plant through from early to late summer which can add colour to gaps in a summer border.
Although now more widely available Agapanthus ‘Blue Giant’ and ‘Bressingham White’ are two excellent varieties of Agapathus to try. Both will flower for a long time with tall flowers that stand out in the border. Although they can be susceptible to the wet and frost they have survived for many years in the dales garden and flower better each year as they grow larger.
Alstromeria is a florists favourite with many hybrids available. They are easy to grow in the garden border and flower for a long period of time. Although an old established favourite they still add something a little exotic to the border and several near each other make a good statement.
Dahlias do seem to be making a comeback and there are many pre-packed tubers available in garden centres this year. They do take several weeks to get established and then start to flower but are worth it flowering well into autumn. The flowers can be cut and taken indoors too which adds greatly to their appeal.
There is a large range of garden plants that give a lot of colour through the year and not just the bedding plants, instant results are never guaranteed but by having a good range of shrubs perennials and bedding plants then there should be a colourful garden whatever the summer weather brings.
This article was requested and written for printed publication.