Season 8 episode 1 of ITV1’s Love Your Garden has just aired, so I thought this would be a great time to look back on my 5 favourite plants that featured in this episode.
This delightfully jolly yellow Wallflower is definitely on my list of favourites from episode 1. A bushy evergreen perennial which will flower year after year, this variety adds a depth of colour to your garden from late spring to late summer as well as much-needed structure in the colder months. Use these spectacular plants to brighten the front of sunny borders, like in episode 1’s garden, and be happy in the knowledge that they feed our pollinators too.
4. Camellia japonica bianco
Next up, is this fantastic bride-white Camellia with its formal double flowers that are so brilliant they almost fluoresce. Another evergreen variety, this shrub’s large, glossy-green, ovate leaves provide year-round interest in the garden and are adorned with wedding-worthy blooms every spring. This variety does well in full or partial shade and will grow to an ultimate height of a whopping 4-8 metres. This makes it a fantastic addition to a bare shady spot in a garden large enough to accommodate it.
3. Heuchera ‘Cherry Cola’
If you want to add colour to your garden, not just in the form of flowers, but foliage too, then look no further than the incredible ‘Cherry Cola’ variety of Heuchera. Another one for year-round colour, this hardy, ever-red perennial puts out displays of dainty scarlet flowers on elegant tall stems in spring and summer. At around 20cms high, it is ideal for adding a splash of colour at the front of a sunny or partially shaded border, as in episode 1 of Love Your Garden season 8. Alternatively, plant it in containers to add an unwavering extra dimension to your patio year-round.
2. Echium webbii
This marvellous perennial is native to the Canary Islands, but it does beautifully in the UK during warm weather. It’s nectar-rich dusky blue flower spires, which bloom from June to August, are popular with bees and butterflies as well as us humans! Growing to 1.5m tall, it is fantastic for adding height at the back of sunny, sheltered borders or for extra intrigue in pots on the patio. Only half-hardy, Echium needs protection from frost and, since it is toxic if ingested, you will want to be careful if you have curious kids or pets about.
By far my favourite plant from episode 1, Fritillaria is almost too good to be true. Its exotic hanging-garden-of-Babylon blooms beneath its palm-tree-like mop of hair are present throughout spring and feel like they’re from another world. The contrasting colours were created by using the vibrant yellow flower clusters of the ‘Imperialis Lutca’ cultivar against the you’ve-been-tangoed orange of the ‘William Rex’ variety.
Despite its exotic appearance, Fritallaria is hardy down to minus 20 degrees celsius. It flourishes whether sheltered or exposed, in full sun or partial shade and will cope with every soil pH and soil type, except for heavy clay. It grows to a height of 0.5-1 metre tall and works beautifully in the middle of almost any border.
Fritillaria plants are sometimes troubled by slugs and lily beetles, which leave holes in plant stems, leaves and petals. Lily beetle adults are around 8mm (less than half an inch) long and have cherry-red wing casings.
Adults lay bright orange, sausage-shaped eggs in clusters on the underside of leaves, which will hatch into hungry grubs that can decimate plants if not dealt with promptly.
The best way to deal with this threat is to check plants regularly from March until October and remove beetles at any stage in their life cycle by hand.
For heavy infestations, pesticides containing natural or synthetic pyrethrins may be effective, although be careful not to spray plants when in bloom due to the danger to pollinating insects. For my top tips on what to do to control slugs, read my blog 7 Natural Slug Control Methods.
There were, of course, many more plants used in the creation of the garden in episode 1. All of these have their own unique qualities and, put together, create a truly spectacular overall look in this incredible garden. Here are a few of the other plants that we used:
An early evolutionary survivor, ferns are fantastic for under planting beneath trees. To find out more, watch my video.
Prunus incisa yamadei
A small deciduous tree with delicate white blossom in spring, these are a great early nectar source for pollinators.
Buxus Sempervirens ‘Pyramid’
Wonderful for a bit of formal decoration in pots, these evergreen box shrubs are slow-growing and need little pruning.
With showy, hot pink flowers in spring, these are really a plant to watch out for! Plant them in acidic soil for best results.
Stachys byzantina ‘Silver Carpet’
Aka Lamb’s ear, this is a brilliant plant for kids, with soft, fuzzy, silver-tinged leaves all year round. Great addition to sunny borders.
Exochorda macrantha ‘The Bride’
This elegant shrub is so unfussy, its refined white flowers will grace any spot in the garden, as long as it gets a little sun.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this in-depth look at some of my favourite plants from Love Your Garden season 8 episode 1. Tune in to ITV1 each week at 8pm on Tuesdays for the latest episode in the series and visit this website for my weekly update on the plants used in that week’s show.
I will also be appearing on Facebook Live after certain episodes to discuss some of the plants in detail, share my top horticultural tips and take questions from you, the viewers. View my Facebook Live video for this episode here. Join me again soon for lots more Love Your Garden fun!