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If your garden is a little more open to the elements, then you need to choose the plants that not only cope well in the conditions but will also give you an incredible flowering and foliage display. Here are ten plants that are ideal for exposed sites and gardens.

Look to grow spring flowering bulbs and summer flowering perennials, then compliment with deciduous trees and shrubs for an autumn colour scheme that is second to none. Remember that evergreens will help lift your garden in colder times of winter too.

1. Alchemilla mollis (lady’s mantle)

A clump forming perennial, in summer it will add displays of small yellow-green flowers to your garden. Ideal as ground cover and underplanting, it will grow to around 50cm in height. Trim back any untidy leaves to ensure a great display.

  • Flowers in summer
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows up to 50cm tall
  • Moist but well-drained soil
  • Full shade, partial shade, or full sun
  • Exposed or sheltered
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2. Aquilegia vulgaris (granny’s bonnet)

This medium sized perennial grows to around 80cm tall. From late spring to early summer its nodding, pendent flowers, which can be single or doubles, and comes in various colours like purple and white. Once it has flowered, make sure to deadhead to keep it looking impressive.

  • Flowers in summer
  • Hardy
  • Grows up to 1m tall
  • Well-drained
  • Full sun
  • Exposed or sheltered
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3. Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora (montbretia)

Suitable for coastal garden areas, this upright perennial has clusters of yellow-apricot flowers that appear from summer to early autumn. The colouring makes it a fiery addition to a Mediterranean garden or a retro-style space. Growing to around 70cm high, this will a great addition to your garden.

  • Flowers in summer
  • Hardy through most of the UK
  • Grows up to 60cm tall
  • Moist but well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
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4. Digitalis ferruginea (rusty foxglove)

Next is a striking, large, upright perennial which will be in flower during midsummer. The funnel shaped flowers are orange-brown in colour, so will provide a point of interest in the garden. They grow to around 1.5m in height, so place towards the back of your border display for impact.

  • Semi-evergreen with flowers in summer
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows up to 1.5m tall
  • Moist but well-drained soil
  • Full shade, full sun, or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
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5. Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)

The large, dense, evergreen shrub can grow up to 2.5m in height, and will add a lovely array of pink flowers from late spring to early summer. As well as you enjoying the flowers, pollinators will appreciate them too. Prune lightly after it’s finished flowering to keep everything neat and tidy.

  • Evergreen foliage with flowers in spring
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows up to 2.5m tall
  • Moist but well-drained soil
  • Partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
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6. Narcissus bulbocodium (hoop petticoat daffodil)

A twist on the traditional narcissus, the hoop petticoat daffodil will provide you with dash of yellow in spring. The funnel yellow flowers resemble a bright petticoat, growing to 15cm in height, making them a bright addition to the front of the border.

  • Flowers in spring
  • Hardy through most of the UK
  • Grows up to 50cm tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
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7. Persicaria amplexicaulis (red bistort)

A large clump-forming perennial, the fluffy-textured crimson flowers are sure to catch your eye. The flowers rise from the lance-shaped green foliage that are semi-evergreen. Growing to 1.2 metres tall, they are a good fit for exposed sites that need some height.

  • Flowers in summer
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows up to 1.2m tall
  • Moist but well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
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8. Panicum virgatum (switch grass) ‘Squaw’

Alternatively, fill some space in your exposed site with this ornamental grass that grows up to 90cm tall. Not only will is provide texture and colour through the year as it takes on violet, purple, and red tones, but sound and movement too. With a well-drained soil, these plants are low-maintenance and trouble free, simply remove the dead foliage as necessary

  • Deciduous foliage
  • Hardy
  • Grows up to 90cm tall
  • Well-drained soil
  • Full sun
  • Exposed or sheltered
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9. Scilla siberica (Siberian squill)

These blue bell-shaped flowers will add some colour to your spring borders. Plant the bulbs in autumn near the front of the borders, and when they flower in spring, they will grow to around 20cm tall. Their height makes them perfect for underplanting, garden edging and gravel gardens.

  • Flowers in spring
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows up to 20cm tall
  • Well-drained
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
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10. Viola cornuta (horned pansy)

Last is a small perennial that likes a windy garden. It’ll grow to around 8 inches in height, bringing purple-blue flowers to your garden from spring to late summer and is perfect as a ground cover plant. Deadhead any spent flowers to encourage new blooms and prolong the flowering season.

  • Flowers in spring
  • Hardy
  • Grows up to 50cm tall
  • Moist but well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
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Even if you have an exposed garden, you can still have plenty of colour from flowers and foliage that will thrive. With these top ten plants for exposed sites your garden can be bursting with life all year round.

Spring is here, see my post on spring pollinators:

Or check out my Pinterest board for more ideas:

spring pollinators
Spring pollinators
Pinterest
Pinterest Board


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