Kicking of the new series of Love Your Garden, we went to the NHS Royal Children’s hospital in Manchester to transform their garden.
This extra special episode brought us to the hospital where many injured children were brought during the 2017 suicide bombing of Manchester Arena during the Ariana Grande Concert. The staff and patients of this hospital deserve a beautiful garden that they can use as a sanctuary, or respite from the stresses of hospital life.
It was an emotional few days as we transformed the patch of land into a wonderful new garden for everyone to enjoy, and we hope that the new garden will bring joy, courage, hope and love to all the people at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.
The plants for the new garden were all carefully chosen for their bright, happy colours and excellent structure to shield the garden from the road beyond. We also chose plants that are beneficial to wildlife, as well as fragrant plants to bring more sensory elements to the garden, creating an overall haven for children of all ages to enjoy.
So, to help you recreate this fantastic planting scheme, here are some of the beautiful plants featured in this week’s episode, and the growing conditions they require to thrive.
This delicately pink Bergenia has lovely clusters of flowers and attractive dark green foliage. It is best suited to full sun or partial shade and they are easy to grow as long as the soil is fertile and relatively moist.
They can tolerate poorer soils or exposed conditions, but for best results find a fertile sunny spot for them to thrive. Keep continually removing any brown foliage for healthy flowering.
Camelia Black Lace
This striking camelia is a vibrant fire engine red, with beautifully contrasting glossy green leaves. It requires a sheltered position where it will be protected from any strong winds and morning sunlight.
The buds and flowerheads are particularly sensitive to cold winds and late frosts, but the plant itself is hardy and can remain in the ground throughout winter. It prefers acidic, woodland soils.
Cornus ‘Magic Flame’
This wonderfully unusual ornamental plant will grow in a wide range of soils including acidic, alkaline, neutral and even poorly-drained soil, so is a fantasiclly unfussy plant for your garden.
Simply find a sunny or partially shaded spot that needs a little more structure and variety, and pop in some Cornus Magic Flame.
Erysimum ‘Apricot Delight’
Another unique looking plant with pretty apricot coloured flowers on tall woody stems to really stand out in your planting scheme.
They need full sun which is essential for their flowering, and they generally flower for long periods of time, given the right requirements.
They prefer a well-drained, neutral or alkaline soil.
Forsythia is a fantastic plant providing your garden with a sunny splash of yellow when little else appears to be in flower.
This particular forsythia will grow well in a sunny or partially shaded location and should be plated in fairly fertile, slightly moist soil.
This striking plant with a nodding, bell-shaped flower in a peculiar speckled purple is a lovely addition to any planting scheme, especially in a cottage or woodland garden.
It grows well in humus-rich, fertile and well-drained soil and will thrive during cool wet summers.
Try it in full sun or dappled shade for best results.
Helleborous Emma and Charmer
The Helleborus is well-known for bringing us some well-received winter and early spring colour, and this variety is no different. Avoid very dry or waterlogged soils, instead find a well-drained, rich soil in a sheltered, partially shaded position away from strong winds.
Hechera Lime Marmalade
The attractive frilled leaves in a vibrant lime green are what makes this plant perfect for adding foliage interest to any planting scheme.
It requires a sunny spot but can tolerate some shade if the soil is kept moist. Mulch your soil annually to keep it fertile and make sure to remove any dead leaves when necessary.
Leucothoe Axillaris ‘Curly Red’
Another fantastically unusual foliage option is this variety which brings a curly variegated leaf edged in an attractive deep mauve.
It needs a fairly moist and acidic soil, so may be best planted in containers with ericaceous compost.
It is great for a shady spot in your garden as it doesn’t like full sun and is a fairly low-maintenance plant given the correct conditions.
Narcissus Tete a Tete
No spring garden would be complete without a splash of daffodils, and these are a wonderfully classic variety in sunny yellow.
Plant the bulbs in autumn to two and half times their own depth, in a sunny or partially shaded spot.
Feed during the growing season to keep flowers coming back year after year.
Primula Orange Shades and Denticulata Ruby
Orange Shades is a lovely primrose with delicate tangerine coloured petals that will work perfectly as a bedding plant in your beds and borders.
They love a sheltered position that is sunny or partially shaded, and they should be planted in well-drained humus-rich soil and watered thoroughly after planting.
Whilst Denticulata Ruby brings clusters of little reddish-pink flowers at the top of short stems, with long oblong leaves from underneath.
It needs a loamy, humus-rich soil that is neutral or acidic and prefers a sheltered spot with full sun or partial shade.
Pulsatilla Pinwheel Violet
A feathery and ornate looking plant with bright purple petals and contrasting yellow stamens which has a reputation for being high-maintenance but will easily thrive given the right conditions.
It needs fertile, gritty soil that is well-drained and requires full sun.
Ensure you avoid waterlogged conditions and try not to disturb the roots of the plant by transplanting.
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.
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