Climbing plants for cover

I am regularly asked for plant suggestions to break up the bulk of a fence or wall, soften the outlook and give colour without spilling out over the lawn or occupying all the space in a border.  That is quite an ask of a plant! The coloured leaves of climber Actinidia kolomikta But happily there is an answer: Climbers.  Plants that can...

Late summer perennials

First things first, what exactly is a perennial?  In the horticultural context it is any plant that lives for more than two years.  In common gardening parlance we use the term for a non-woody plant where the above ground stems die off in autumn but the roots and crown survive the winter to produce new stems, leaves and flowers...

Trees for privacy in the garden

Summer holidays mark a few weeks when we all spend more time outside and especially in the garden.  But few of us live with no near neighbours and a common challenge is to create a garden with a sense of privacy without overwhelming and darkening what might already be a small space. Clearly in most situations a fence or hedge...

The rise of Succulents

Alongside cacti, succulent plants are enjoying an increase in popularity at the moment.  They are primarily used as houseplants or summer patio display but there are a hardy few that will thrive outside in the UK all year round.  There is an attraction to their adaptation to ‘feast and famine’ especially if you are inclined to be erratic in...

Supporting Wildlife in a small Garden

Working with small spaces is always challenging whether you are furnishing a room or laying out a garden.  When you cannot fit in everything that you would love to have, it is time to prioritise and that is especially tough when your small garden has to serve both family and wildlife.  An internet search for wildlife gardening quickly yields...

Garden conifers – not just for Christmas

If asked to name a conifer tree in December most people might say “Christmas Tree” and many would know that the traditional conifer decorated indoors is a Norway Spruce.  But there are very many shapes, colours and sizes of conifer tree that are rather better suited to growing in our gardens than Christmas trees or Leyland Cypress hedges. Removing side...

The good, the bad and the Ivy

In my previous blog post I included “a controlled amount of ivy” in my suggestions for a native mixed hedge.  So this time I thought that I would talk more about this evergreen climber that appears in pretty much every garden, usually uninvited. As households try to reduce both fossil fuel consumption and energy bills, research has found that a...

Holiday Gardens

Late summer is a time when UK gardens can start to flag, particularly if the lawn is looking a bit crisp after a hot dry spell.  By the way, there is no need water an established lawn in summer to keep it alive; green shoots will soon appear when the rain returns.  But yellowing grass and fading flower power...

Choosing trees for a small garden

Trees can add instant height, structure and several seasons of interest to a garden but choosing a tree for a small garden takes careful consideration.  July is not the best month for planting if you can avoid it because the soil is dry and temperatures higher and these add to the stress of the plant when the roots are...

Climbing Combinations

Most gardens contain a smattering of climbing plants decorating house walls or reducing the impact of metres of wooden fencing. But there are plenty of imaginative ways to use climbers to provide more colour for a longer time if you use plants in combination. In this blog I explore a few different ways of getting more colour and joy...