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Urban or city gardens allow gardeners to bring some greenery to the landscape and create some incredible displays.

From tall buildings that create more shade, to year-round plots that benefit from a warmer climate, there is an exciting difference between urban and rural gardens.

With large plots, roof gardens and tiny spots, here are a list of my top plants that are suited to the environment that will help you create something special, no matter what the size of the garden you are working with.

1. Alcanthus mollis (bear’s breech)

This upright, hardy perennial, has an eye-catching mix of green, white and purple foliage. It will add some height and interest to your garden from mid to late summer.

• Sun – Full shade, full sun or partial shade
• Position – South, North, West or East-facing
• Exposure – Sheltered
• Moisture – Well-drained
• Soil – Loam, sand or chalk

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2. Alstroemeria aurea (Peruvian lily)

The Peruvian lily is a great example of a plant that benefits from the milder weather that a city garden can typically bring. They like a sheltered spot in order to flourish. Plant the bulbs and as the plant grows you’ll be wowed by an array of green leaves and funnel shaped flowers. It’ll grow to around 60cm or 24 inches in height.

• Sun – Partial shade or full sun
• Position – North, West, East or South-facing
• Exposure – Sheltered
• Moisture – Well-drained or moist but well-drained
• Soil – Sand, chalk or loam

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3. Buddleja globosa (orange ball tree)

If you have the space then this large shrub will grow up to 5m or 15ft to give you privacy, so place at the back of your border, near a fence. It’ll also provide a sweet scent of oranges when in flower, and the pollinators will also be a fan of these blooms and pay you a visit.

• Sun – Full sun or partial shade
• Position – South, West or East-facing
• Exposure – Sheltered
• Moisture – Well-drained or moist but well-drained
• Soil – Clay, sand, chalk or loam

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4. Callistemon cintrinus (crimson bottlebrush)

A large evergreen shrub, they can grow up to 3m tall but will need some help and protection against frosts in the colder months. When in flower during the summer you’ll get to enjoy the incredible spikes of brush flowers.

• Sun – Full sun
• Position – South or West-facing
• Exposure – Sheltered
• Moisture – Moist but well-drained
• Soil – Sand, clay or loam

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5. Catalpa bignonioides (Indian bean tree)

If you’ve got lots of space to spare and you can have a tree, then this is a great addition to a large urban or city garden. Growing higher than 12m, the Indian bean tree will give you privacy, whilst displaying white flowers in spring that resemble bean pods. Cut back to the branches hard in late winter to help keep the tree compact.

• Sun – Full sun
• Position – South, West, North or East-facing
• Exposure – Sheltered
• Moisture – Well-drained or moist but well-drained
• Soil – Clay, loam, sand or chalk

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6. Davidia involucrata (dove tree or handkerchief tree)

This large deciduous tree will provide reddish-brown flowers in spring, surrounded by white bracts for a really interesting display. If you have a large enough garden, then this is the tree for you as it’ll grow higher than 12m, so privacy is also provided.

• Sun – Full sun or partial shade
• Position – South, North, West or East-facing
• Exposure – Sheltered
• Moisture – Well-drained or moist but well-drained
• Soil – Sand, clay, chalk or loam

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7. Geranium pratense (meadow cranesbill)

A medium sized perennial which forms in clumps and reaches heights 60cm or 24 inches. The meadow cranesbill produced a violet-blue flower in summer and it’s leaves will slowly bronze during autumn.

• Sun – Full sun or partial shade
• Position – North, East, South or West-facing
• Exposure – Exposed
• Moisture – Well-drained or moist but well-drained
• Soil – Sand, clay, chalk or loam

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8. Magnolia x soulangeana (saucer magnolia)

One of the best spring treats is seeing magnolia in flower. A smaller tree, it’ll grow to 6m in height, and looks great in a border mixed with other flowers or as a central feature in the middle of a garden. Protect the buds from any late frosts and you’ll be in for a treat.

• Sun – Full sun or partial shade
• Position – North, South, West or East-facing
• Exposure – Sheltered
• Moisture – Moist but well-drained
• Soil – Loam or clay

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9. Santolina pinnata subsp. neapolitana (rosemary-leaved lavender cotton)

A small, bushy, evergreen shrub that grows to 75cm tall, it will give you a display of pompom, pale yellow, fragranced flowers during the summer. Great to have garden pots and in your borders, or in a gravel or rock garden.

• Sun – Full sun
• Position – North, East, South or West-facing
• Exposure – Sheltered
• Moisture – Well-drained or moist but well-drained
• Soil – Sand, chalk or loam

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10. Syringa vulgaris (common lilac)

This is a vigorous shrub and its mid-green leaves are complemented with an incredible cluster display of purple, pink or white flowers. These beautiful blooms deliver an intense fragrance in late spring, and they’ll stick around for up to 6 weeks.

• Sun – Full sun
• Position – North, East, South or West-facing
• Exposure – Sheltered
• Moisture – Well-drained or moist but well-drained
• Soil – Sand, clay, chalk or loam

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For more urban gardening ideas:

Or check out my Pinterest board for more ideas:

URBAN GARDENING
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