Questions And Answers On Garden Plants

Chris asks…

Garden Plants?

My son lives in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire. His birthday is next month and he has asked me to take him to a local garden centre and buy him some plants to stock his ragged garden. The garden is east facing (so sunny, but also not that warm), he doesn’t know what soil he has (acid, alkaline, chalky, etc) and i need to find some easy, low-maintenance plants for him, but also something with a bit of colour. I am compiling a list from the huge RHS book, but can anyone help me make that list a bit longer? Also, if i can’t get them from a garden centre, what is a good website to order from?
Thank you all SO much for responding to this question. I have extended it for 4 days. Have made a long list, and also tried to email all respondents. Am very grateful. Bless you all. Barry.

Home Gardener answers:

My gardening tips are to create an easy to maintain garden with seasonal interest, rather than just a summer splash.

The plants that I use are:

Phormiums – come in range of leaf colours, variegated, green, reds to purple. Grows from 2′ to 5′ with large flower spikes, when established and in a good sunny spot. Spear shaped leaves.

Buddleia – the butterfly bush – showy flowers, attracted butterflies, from around June. Only need pruning hard, around Feb, then just let them riot. There’s also a variegated form, with purple flowers, otherwise flower colours from white, pinks to purple.

Lavenders:there are alot of different types:
Hidcote is around 18” tall, lovely dark blue flowers.
Old English: ‘lavender’ blue flowers, around 2-3′ tall.
French: these have coloured ‘wings’ ontop of their flowers.
All are best with a fairly harsh spring pruning, stops them getting leggy.

Heuchera’s: good for semi shaded areas, fantastic choice of leaf colours and textures, plus flowers too.

Sedum Spectabile is 1 of the easiest plants to grow: roots easily too, if he takes cuttings next year onwards. Attracts butterflies.

I’d add some grasses, for leaf texture variation. Festuca Glauca is a short very blue grass. Otherwise, there are tons of colours from red, to variegated green/white or golden.

A Peony will flourish in the same spot for 50years +, so is really easy and showy. Some come with scented flowers.

Daylilies are lovely summer flowering herbaceous plants, yellow, reds etc. (Hemerocalis is the botanical name)

Phlox paniculata are herbaceous summer flowering plants, whites to pink. Very easy.

Foxgloves are easy, but the typically grown types grow from seed one year, flower and die the next. Good in partial shade, especially for back of borders, as they can reach 6′ tall. Maybe you could start some from seed yourself, and post or take them to him?

Roses could be ok, either climbers or freestanding. Require an annual prune. Good long season colour.

Hardy Geraniums are easy showy plants, with long flowering periods – don’t confuse with the summer bedding geraniums, which aren’t hardy and thus not perennial in UK gardens.

I love Oriental Poppies, Papaver Orientalis – mine are just about to flower now. From white to pink, red, orange. Many with contrasting colours in the centre of the flower. Herbaceous.

Gaillardia have a broad colour range, for long summer periods of flowers.

Add some Hellebores for late winter, early spring colour:
Heeleborus Niger (Christmas ‘Rose’), white flowers or Helleborus Orientalis – late spring, whtie,pinks, reds. Herbaceous, but usually carry leaves through the year.

Lupins are also showy flowering herbaceous plants, in a wide colour range. Easy.

I’d add some bulbs, for flowering next spring:usually purchased/planted from around August. Daffodills/Narcissus, Bluebells, Scilla Siberica, Crocus, large flowered and species types, for easly spring flowers.

Tulips are lovely, but can be prone to rot, as you’re not sure of his soil type, might want to avoid. Best planted late autumn, even upto December.

Ref. Ordering: I’d shop around, as you’ll find variations in pricing. It’s also a really good idea to select the plants yourself, as you can pick the healthiest – I know he’s some way from you, but perhaps you could find some garden centres that are on your way, or local to him.

Hope these ideas help. I’ve chosen from what I grow and know are reasonably easy but showy plants.

Good luck! Rob

Shelley asks…

What are some garden plants that I can easily grow in Japan?

I have a small garden in Japan. I have already turned over the soil and the soil is rich. Now I need some plants. Preferably, I want some plants that you can eat like tomatoes and can grow fast.


Home Gardener answers:

Try planting corns! I’m not sure but here in Hokkaido, Summer-sunflowers, morning glory are easy to plant. If the season is cold, try strawberries, except winter. But before winter (autumn) here in Hokkaido, people plant cabbage, when winter comes, cabbages under the thick snow are amazingly sweet! Hope I helped!

Rachel asks…

What vegetable garden plants do aphids not like?

I am starting a garden want to find out what plants are not susceptible to aphid infestation. Many of my outdoor potted plants have had problems with aphids. Rather than trying to fight them, I would like to grow plants that are just not susceptible to aphid attack. Any suggestions?

Home Gardener answers:

They don’t like garlic, so I plant the flowering kinds (alium) next to my roses. And no aphids! I have 3 types, the large purple globes, pink lily-like flowers and smaller white flowering types. Maybe try sticking a few of the small variety bulbs in your planter and see if it works. The plants aren’t noticeably garlicy smelling, and they bloom in spring.

Mike asks…

are there garden plants that i can plant in the autumn or winter?

we are moving to a house with a huge backyard. But the front and back yards are depressingly devoid of shrubs and plants ans such. I want to liven the place up with garden plants. But I know its coming on winter – do I HAVE to wait for spring to get greeneries in pots or in the ground? Appreciate any help from you gardeners.

Home Gardener answers:

I love to plant winter Kale in the fall here in the Midwest USA. It has a dark green-to-purple foliage and is striking against the planters and in the early frosts/snows. I think it can be used in salads, too, but I find it too beautiful to cut!

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