What could be better than a summer selection for that floral WOW factor. There is still time to plant patios up with hanging baskets, window boxes and pots that fit into the space you’ve got and give that pop of colour. So, read on to find out all there’s to know about a portable posy parade this summer.
The great thing about pots is that you can choose the pot size and plant based on the area it’s destined for. Growing like this means don’t have to invest in redesigns to make a statement.
Nor do you have to spend lots of money—a little goes a long way to transforming the look of your garden or patio.
Plus, for fussy growers, you can move them around the plot to suit their needs throughout the year; more sun or shade or even better wind protection as and when it’s needed.
Suited to a snug site, Salvia × jamensis ‘Raspberry Royale’ is an aromatic evergreen herb with shows of raspberry-red flowers during summer through to autumn.
It does particularly well in containers due to having originated from Mediterranean climate and sun-baked soils.
Herbaceous sage and rosemary tend to do well on a patio for this reason and you have the added benefit of sensational seasoning to hand.
Free floor space
Containers don’t just refer to freestanding pots or planters, there are lots of above-floor options to maximise space and allow footfall to flow.
I think window boxes are particularly effective and there’s the added advantage that you get to enjoy the display whilst looking out the window. For this, you will need to combine plants that have similar requirements.
If your window box is in full sun, summer bedding plants will be quite happy. For shady boxes, go for Begonia ‘Hazel’s Front Porch’ or busy lizzies.
Hanging baskets are a staple of summer gardens and provide a heady greeting for visitors. Choose fragrant flowers to really make the most of the fact that they’re at nose-height.
Striking ‘Sunpurple’ petunias, ‘Moonlight’ violas or decorative pelargoniums will work well or mix it up and grow strawberries in baskets which are ready to harvest by late summer. Whichever you choose, make your selection based on colour.
Choosing shades from the opposite side of the colour wheel will provide contrast to the display.
Deep purples can offset crisp white perfectly, so look to incorporate Nicotiana ‘Perfume Deep Purple’ next to delicate daisies for a dramatic result.
With pots, you’ll need to spend some extra time conditioning the soil and checking moisture levels throughout the year.
Start with a general-purpose liquid feed a month or so after planting and continue throughout summer—it will pay dividends.
In the same vein, although baskets are an ideally compact solution, the smaller the container, the quicker it dries out and the more limited the soil’s resources so deadheading will focus energy onto new growth.
Pots and planters
Make your way to your local garden centre and you’ll be greeted with hundreds of options when it comes to perennials suited to pots, but I always like to choose plants with wildlife in mind.
Mat-forming Lysimachia nummularia (creeping Jenny) is a hardy, low-maintenance grower providing year-round nectar sources for wildlife.
Flowering shrubs and trees are great in pots and come spring will decorate your outdoors with ornamental embellishment. Blueberry trees are decked in delicate flowers and these miniature trees like modestly sized pots so, for a feature plant, they work tenuously well.
Self-fertile variety ‘Tophat’ will only grow to two feet or so. Alternatively, Hebe ‘Pink Elephant’ boasts cream and pink tinted leaves all year long and white flower spikes during early summer.
What to aspect
It’s all about getting the right soil, plant and positioning. Pick for aspect and you can’t go far wrong, because choice plants will be suited to your set up.
For instance, Scabiosa atropurpurea ‘Black Cat’ loves full sun and can really work as a striking addition to feature pots but won’t do well mixed with ericaceous plants because it prefers an alkaline soil.
Don’t forget to consider the exposure of your land too. Use dense hedges to keep delicate plants better protected or determine which out of your front of back garden is more sheltered so that tender plants can use the house as a wind break.
An idea is to plant up containers based on a preferred habit. Jasmine and clematis are two of my favourite climbers and their foliage effortlessly lends decoration to otherwise neglected corners.
Else, a large fixed planter is great long-term addition to your garden—look to something like Passiflora (passionflower) ‘Amethyst’, which loves climbing up garden walls, to use the features in your garden to your advantage.
However you pot up plants this year, try something new and it’ll put a smile on your face each time you see it.
When topping up the
water level in your pond, put a stray
attachment on your hose to aerate the water and help the pondlife to
thrive in hot weather, or try a water
feature to keep things
How often should I be watering my cacti?
You only need to water cacti during spring and summer to allow soil to dry out between watering. Feed them monthly in the growing season with cactus fertiliser and mist them occasionally if they start to look shrivelled.
What climbers are the best for scent?
One of the most highly scented climbers is the evergreen star jasmine, with a long flowering season throughout summer-autumn. Many honeysuckles have a rich scent and climbing or rambler roses are fragrant too.