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General planting advice please!!

United Kingdom Gb

My garden is very green - hedges, trees, shrubs etc; there are only 2 flower beds for planting and am looking to make these really pretty for early May when I am having a garden party. What should I be planting to have lots of colour and fullness?
I have quite a lot of half oak barrels and hanging baskets too that I haven't touched since I filled them 3 years ago so all need to be re-done, again what could I plant to have minimum effort and big impact?
Finally, we have a long archway that was covered with russian ivy which we had removed as it was uncontrollable, we planted 2 winter flowering jasmine 2 summers ago after being told this was fast growing and would give good covereage, but they have only covered about 3m of the trellis, any other suggestions - preferably something that gives coverage all year round and is fast growing?
Any other tips suggestions for making a garden look lovely in a hurry??
Thank you!



Grow some annuals for speed - Nigella, Calendula, Godetia, Clarkia etc. They can either go stright into the soil or into pots first.

The best bet for perennials to be sure of colour in May is to visit your Garden Centre just before the event and buy plants just in flower. This is a bit cheat-y, I know, but at least you'd be sure of colour at the right time!

Clematis montana would be good for your archway, plus other Clematis from group 1 pruning like the alpina and macrocephala ones. C. montana 'Broughton Star' is gorgeous with bronze leaves and double pink flowers! Add an evergreen one for all-year greenery - the cirrhosa ones are evergreen and flower in the winter. They are not invasive at all.

You MUST choose them all from group 1, if you do go for Clematis - they are the ones that don't need pruning hard back in spring. If you had a mixture, you wouldn't know which stems to cut!

I hope this helps.

18 Mar, 2009


thank you SO much! that is very helpful, will now go hunting online for clematis's! plus very good idea to buy just before (I don't mind cheating!), thank you

18 Mar, 2009


how about lupins, they might be in flower if not their foliage and flower spike 'buds' look good. and they can take up a good amount of space.Late flowering tulips can be bought in pots and placed too. colourful foliage like the heucheras for shape and flowers but may might be too soon. i have an early flowering blue aconitum that does its thing May onwards.
but spritz's suggestion of spending is a good one and we all like buying plants. and you have the perfect excuse....

18 Mar, 2009

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