UP THE GARDEN PATH – March

 UP THE GARDEN PATH – March

Louise Tomlin takes a look at garden related topics.This time she’s picked four of her favourite plants for you to try growing this year.

Happy New Year and welcome to 2020
We’re not only in a new year but a brand new decade, which hopefully will mean we are all full of positive energy and that we’ve left the dreariness of the general election and the endless uncertainty over the ‘B’ word behind us. Well I can hope, can’t I?

Moving swiftly on, I’m going to focus on the impending spring and keep up my positive theme, and see if I can interest you in four of my favourite plants for you to think of growing this year, if you haven’t tried them before.

This serves a double purpose, it may inspire you to try a new plant or two in your garden and it gives us another welcome blast of garden eye candy to cheer us up this winter. So here goes.

Cosmos (also known as the Mexican aster)

These cheerful annuals belonging to the Asteracea family are related to the marigold and daisy. They come in a wide range of vibrant colours including chocolate, purples, pink, orange and white.

They are easy to grow from seed, but I must admit to cheating and buying them as little plants. Some of the larger varieties grow up to 2-4 foot and they are pretty low maintenance, don’t mind what kind of soil they are in and have a long flowering season, which I’ve found can be extended if you keep dead- heading them. Definitely plant themin large clumps, this way they help support each other when they get taller and you get nice blocks of vibrant colour.

Golden Jasmine (Jasmine officinalis Aurenum)
Most people would think of growing jasmines for their amazing scent, and their climbing ability, which makes them great for covering grotty walls or fences. I can’t argue with that, I love their exotic perfume on balmy summer evenings. But even if this plant wasn’t blessed with a truly wonderful smell I would still grow it simply for its colour, it has golden leaves, stems and tendrils. The brightness of its foliage can seem to illuminate your garden, even on a dull winter day. They are semi-hardy climbers so can come in handy for fast growing screening, and after all that they produce delicate white flowers that smell divine.

Dicentra spectabilis (bleeding hearts)
You will see from the photo why these perennials are commonly called bleeding hearts, as they have unusual heart shaped flowers that dangle from arching stems and delicate fern-like leaves, with the largest plants reaching about 2 foot. They do well in shady spots protected from strong sun and prefer soil with lots of organic matter to retain moisture. They will reward you with flowers from late spring to early autumn. They mainly have white or pink flowers, I actually prefer the white flowers, but have chosen to show you the pink here, which is still very lovely.

Last but definitely not least, Gaura (aka Beeblossom or wand flower) These gorgeous plants are a genus from the family Onagraceae, which doesn’t mean that much to me, but my research tells me that there are many varieties that can be annuals, perennials or sub-shrubs, which is more the level of plant-facts I find useful. My favourite is a white one called Whirling Butterflies, which I favour over the pink one (Gaura Rosy Jane) at the top of the page. What I love about Gauras are the star shaped flowers that grow on their long wand like stems, these have a habit of waving in the wind and catching the sunlight. I’ve grown these successfully over several years, so I can testify that they are hardy. They have a long flowering period from late spring through to early autumn. Mine are in largish pots and don’t seem too fussy about the soil they grow in, so long as you give them a bit of food and make sure they don’t dry out too much, they will reward you again and again with a special touch of elegance in your garden.

Catch up with me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or
email: louise@louisetomlin.co.uk

Damien

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