A lesson in planting
With the bright spring days just weeks away and the drab winter weather fast fading into the past, now’s the time when gardeners begin to get excited about the green-fingered year ahead. Garden centres and nurseries are full of temptation but sometimes it’s difficult to know which plants will thrive in which spaces. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a handy overview of the plants that will bloom most successfully in different corners of your garden.
A place in the sun
Certain plants may whither and fry in the heat, while others are sun-worshippers. If you’ve got a hotspot in your garden, most varieties of rose, pretty climbing clematis and old-fashioned lupins will all thrive in this area. Border plants that like to feel the heat include lavender, verbena, lamb’s ear and daisy-like aster. Some annuals also do well in full sunlight. Try marigolds and sunflowers for a striking pop of yellow, or geraniums with their cheerful coral hue and distinctive scent.
If you’ve got a tree that casts a shadow, or a corner that is rarely penetrated by the sun’s happy gaze, don’t worry – for some plants these areas are a paradise. Ferns, with their delicate fingers and whispering foliage, like to rest in shady areas, while bergenia, with its large leaves and bright pink flowers, will also do well out of the sun. Acers (sometimes known as Japanese maples because of their burgundy red-coloured leaves), lily-of-the-valley and woody bamboo will all thank you for partial shade.
Hydrangeas, as their very name suggests, are an excellent choice if you’ve got a particularly wet garden. Known for their enormous and cheerful blue, violet, purple and pink flower-heads, they drink up water at every opportunity. Dogwood, with its tiny delicate flowers and attractive autumn colours, is a woody plant that does well in wet soil. In springtime, many varieties of iris will be seen popping their heads up from a damp base, although you’ll need to plant this flower’s bulbs in the preceding autumn to enjoy that particular pleasure.
Perhaps the best-known greenhouse dweller is the tomato. Like its greenhouse buddies, the reason the tomato does well behind glass is that the frost is an enemy and the intensified stare of the sun is a friend. Other foodie plants that will thrive in a greenhouse include leafy greens, cucumbers, peppers, herbs and lots of soft fruits. Pansies, petunias and chrysanthemums will all reward you for a spot in the greenhouse. Cacti and tropical plants are other favourites for greenhouse gardeners.
When you’re preparing to plant, taking a look around your garden and identifying the various sunny, dry, shaded and moist areas available will help you make the right choices. Taking a little time to simply match the space you have with the environmental needs of various plants will give you a healthier, more beautiful and more pleasurable garden.