I use a wide palette of plants and illustrate them in my planting plans where possible. This is a selection of some of those I love to use for their scent, vivid colour, interesting shape, attraction to insects and birds, early or long period of flowering.
In February and March, there’s nothing better than winter Aconites, Hellebores and snowdrops, with Pulmonaria, Crocus and miniature Narcissi to lift the spirits.
Winter flowering shrubs are often highly scented, such as Hamamelis and shrubby honeysuckle, Sarcococca and Viburnums. If it is mild, perennial wallflowers start flowering early and carry on until the autumn.
Spring sunshine and warmer soil means Aquilegias, Tulips, Iris, Peonies and Alliums and plenty of flowering shrubs. Exochorda, Magnolias, Amelanchiers and fruit tree blossom are all in full swing.
By mid summer the borders should be full of colour and scent. I adore roses and use them a lot with climbers and herbaceous perennials. Nepeta, Alchemilla, Geraniums and Delphiniums add to the colour, height, scent and drama of a herbaceous border.
Late summer into autumn sees plenty of rich russet colours, yellows, reds and dark purples with Aconitum, Rudbeckia, Echinacea, Sedum and bulbs such as Nerines which along with shrubs like Buddleia will attract bees and butterflies in their hordes. Tender plants such as Dahlias, Cosmos and Pelargoniums extend the season with a variety of colour and flower shapes right up to the first frost.
Trees and shrubs are selected for their blossom, berries, autumn leaf and bark colour.
Whether you have abundant sunshine, constant shade, dry sand or wet clay, there are plenty of plants to suit your garden.