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If you are a novice gardener or you are tackling a new plot or have just moved home – there are some plants that need to be high on your list. They are also essential if you have finally decided to tackle that desolate dumping ground out the back. If you are about to go to the garden centre but are not sure what you are after, here are my top five:

One

Number one has to be an APPLE tree. They don’t have to be massive – you can buy dwarf versions for tubs– and they give a great deal of pleasure. They are very sturdy and easy to grow. Once planted they don’t need a huge amount of care and attention. In spring you’ll get masses of beautiful blossom, attracting bees. Later you’ll have marvellous fruit and fantastic autumn colour. If it’s a single tree, chose a self-pollinating variety. The apple tree is a winner all-round.

Two

Next I’d suggest some HERBS. Varieties such as oregano, basil, thyme and parsley are all easy to grow in containers or sunny borders on their own. They’re relatively cheap and only need a light trim. Rosemary is a very giving plant with evergreen foliage and masses of purple-mauve flowers.

Three

Another good shrub that is extremely low maintenance but will put a smile on your face every spring is FORSYTHIA. You will see masses of golden yellow flowers early on in March. Forsythia Lynwood, a particular  favourite of mine, is quite a big shrub, but can be clipped back. It will tolerate most soils and is
incredibly sturdy.

Four

An essential plant for going up the side of a fence, garage or wall is HONEYSUCKLE. It’s a semi-evergreen climber, which means it’ll give cover and colour over the winter. In the summer it produces masses of elegant, fragrant flowers. Honeysuckle Halliana flowers in white with a yellow throat and is very heavily scented. Plant a Dutch early Belgica and Dutch late Serotina into the same hole and you’ll have flower colour from May through to September. They all have translucent red berries that are attractive to birds.

Five

BUDDLEJA is immensely hardy and extremely low maintenance. With long panticles of flowers it’s a very tall plant but can be clipped into size. There are dwarf varieties too. It will bring butterflies and bees into the garden, is quite cheap and comes in many colours – from reds to blues and purples.


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