Summer is here and that means getting out in the garden and enjoying that brief period when the sun is in the sky for us here in the UK. You might’ve got the family round, be planning a tasty BBQ, wanting to appease the nosy neighbours, or simply relaxing in the sun. Whatever the circumstances you’ll be wanting to make sure your garden is looking its best! For this reason, I thought it would be a good idea to write about summer flowering plants inspired by what we have here at Lamorran, and how to get the best out of your bedding. So before you head down to the local garden nursery, give this a read for some helpful tips that just might save you a little bit of time and money, so you can spend it having fun!
First things first before you splash the cash – think about your microclimate. There are a lot of temptations when walking through the nursery (trust me I know) but the key to success is to follow the golden rule of ‘right plant, right place’. Being aware of the temperatures, the soil type, and sheltered spots in your garden can really go a long way in making the most bang out of your buck. Does it want full sun, a bit of shade, somewhere nice and sheltered and warm? Once its planted that’s ideally its home for life, so show your plant some tender loving care at this stage and it will repay you by looking its best throughout the seasons.
I would always recommend having a few herbaceous perennials which will keep coming back year after year. Some great ideas which we have here at Lamorran include: Libertia grandiflora (which has the bonus of evergreen foliage) Anemone x hybrida, Agapanthus, and Erigeron karvinskianus which is great at self seeding in all sorts of nooks and crannies.
Furthermore, bulbs are a great investment and can make a big difference in any garden even if you’re on a budget. Crocosmia, Bomarea hirtella, and Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ are great additions to any Cornish garden. Supplement your planting by filling in the gaps with more tender or short lived plants like Digitalis, Arctotis, Osteospernum or Petunia. (If you’re going for a wild & natural look, try planting aspects of your display in drifts or groups of odd numbers.)
To make things a little bit more interesting, why not add in some foliage interest? Walking around Lamorran gardens you might come across urns featuring Aloe ferox, Maidenhair fern, or Ivy which will guarantee long lasting interest with minimal effort. (Now that’s what I call smart gardening.) If you want to try a purely evergreen container display and are blessed with a mild climate, maybe try out a combination of succulents like Echeveria, Lampranthus & Aeonium in a free draining mix. Alternatively, you could experiment by trying out topiary balls of Buxux sempervirens or even Yucca as a centrepiece – be creative and have fun with it!
Ever heard of the phrase, ‘A gardener’s work is never done’? Even after you’ve finished all the digging, planting, and everything is looking lovely – you still have to maintain it! Our head gardener recommends regular deadheading to maintain summer displays. Doing this can encourage repeat flowering, and keeps everything looking trimmed and tidy.
Another key point is to keep an eye of your plants watering needs especially in long periods without much rain. Applying an even layer of mulch after planting helps retain moisture, is great for the soil, and leaves a nice finishing touch to the display.
Whether you’re a keen gardener or someone who can’t bare to see their tenders gone for good, if you’re up for a challenge you can always try to overwinter your summer bedding plants instead. Another handy option is to collect seeds or take cuttings to propagate from for next year, which saves you money and you can feel proud of all your hard work!
Unfortunately, not all plants can cope with temperatures in the average English garden. Luckily, Lamorran, as well as some other Cornish gardens, have a mild enough climate to grow these wonders! One slightly unusual sight here is Salvia sclarea var. turkestaniana a towering biennial which features in one of our beds just below the Roman waterfall. Another interesting plant that thrives all over Lamorran is Geranium canariense which features architectural foliage with dainty pink flowers. However, the most notable to me is our Nicotiana mutabalis that has somehow managed to survive the winters here for 3 years and counting! If you love plants be sure to come and visit so you can see these specialties for yourself!
Follow these key steps and your garden with all its beds, pots and containers are sure to impress! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about some of the fascinating plants that colour Lamorran in the summer months. If you’re ever in need of more garden inspiration, follow us on Instagram @lamorranhousegardens to see photos of what’s of interest here throughout the year.
Keep planting and keep posted,
Blog by Hannah Berry