Saturday, October 30

Any suggestions?

We have an empty bed at the front of the house. (Well it's almost empty, there are a couple of self sown plants - a California poppy and a foxglove - growing there at the moment). As you can see from the photos it is an irregular shape but measures 3m at it's longest and just less than 3m at its widest.

We want to plant up the bed so that it is colourful for as much of the year as possible with perennial plants and bulbs. Bulbs for spring colour and the perennials for summer and autumn to give a sort of cottage garden feel. No doubt I'll pop in a few annuals to fill gaps etc at least until the perennials bulk up. A bit of winter colour can be provided by a couple of tubs by the door etc. We don't want to grow shrubby plants although we would like to grow something up the fence that our neighbour erected as this doesn't look good from our front window. The fence is about a metre high. The plants sprawling along part of it at the moment are a winter jasmine and a quince.

I've been searching for ideas for plants that have a long flowering season and have come up with penstemons, hardy geraniums, salvia, verbena and maybe the shorter Michaelmas daisies.

Just wondered if any of you had any suggestion for plants that reliably flower for a long time or really good ideas for what to grow up the fence.


  1. At this time of year I'm really glad I have Rudbeckia - a fantastic dark yellow flower with a brown eye. When other things are getting drab, this is a winner.
    I also love Brunnera, also known as perennial forget-me-not. There's a variety called Jack Frost which has silver marked leaves. It flowers for months from early spring and the leaves are still beautiful now.
    For your fence, a Winter Jasmine would give colour when most things have packed up.
    I also like astrantia - masterwort - which comes in the cottage garden cream colour or the newer deep rose colours. A long flowering winner, also good for cutting.

  2. My Mum has a honeysuckle growing up the fence in her back yard and it is lovely throughout the spring and summer.

    As for the other stuff I have a lovely thistle which is green all year round and has lovely purple thistles in the summer. Several heathers which flowers throughout different times of the year. phlox, pansies or why not go for the more traditional shamrock and grannies bonnet. These are all things I have growing in my garden and work well together..thrive quickly and are very hardy!!

    Some times easier is nicer!

  3. The only flowers in my garden at the moment are penstemon and sedums. It looks a bit drab now the Dahlias have gone!

  4. That is so great, a very nice and big canvas to get full of flowers. It must be so hard to pick what to get. I would recommend you get some globe amaranth, mines are doing great, the flowers are very beautiful, they have hard petals, so they last and the blooming season is also long.

  5. Asters are still going strong at this time of year, they seem to flower for a long period, and Hellebores for some winter colour.

  6. I have some astrantia in the back garden VH but they are only young so no flowers yet. I also have some rudbeckia and that may be a good choice for the front too to give a daisy shape flower and a bit of yellow.

    My thought was heather too Tanya but Martyn wasn't keen on having anything shrubby mixed in, pansies will definitely go in a tub by the door - in the garden they would suffer too much from slugs, phlox and aquilegia (grannies bonnet) are a possibility though.

    What colour penstemon have you Damo we have a deep pinky red and white that was grown from a cutting - well in fact we have several as cuttings are really easy.

    ~fer - How tall do globe amaranth grow - are they annuals?

    We have lots of hellebores in the back garden Jo and are going to rely on tubs for winter colour. The asters are probably a good bet though - do yours get mildewy.

  7. I've only recently added Asters to my garden so they haven't suffered from mildew yet, though I know they're prone to it. I couldn't resist though, I've seen them in so many gardens and they give lots of colour when other plants are dying back.

  8. Hi Jo,
    Do you know which type your asters are? - as I understand it the Aster novi-belgii that is prone to mildew and Aster novae-angliae that is less likely to get it

  9. I'm afraid it's a case of my shoddy labelling strikes again. No idea of the variety at all. I left the label at the side of the plant and as happened in most cases this year, Archie has pulled it out.

  10. hi, sorry for the late follow up. Globe amaranth are annuals, but they last so long, and they even look attractive when dry. They grow around a meter tall. I have seen them as urban wildflowers, so my guess is that they will self sow.
    I am not sure if they can take the snow tho.


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