Season 8 episode 2 of ITV1’s Love Your Garden has just aired, so let’s take a look together at my 5 favourite plants that featured in this episode.
Otherwise known as foam flower, this gorgeous plant is a clump-forming perennial which will bounce back year after year to give you a fantastic array of colours from spring right through to autumn. Its star-shaped flowers on elongated, elegant spires are ballerina pink while in bud, turning to soft white as they open. The flowers last from May to July and the green-tinged-with-purple foliage adds interest to the garden even when not in flower. Tolerant of full or partial shade, these beautiful plants are a great choice for ground cover in sheltered, shady borders and do superbly in any type of soil except sand.
A large, evergreen shrub, growing to 2 metres square, Viburnum burkwoodii is so delightfully unfussy that you can put it literally anywhere and it will go crackers. Full sun, partial shade or full shade, sheltered or exposed, any soil type and any pH, Viburnum burkwoodii couldn’t care less! In addition to adding great structure to the garden with its glossy, evergreen foliage, this plant puts out tightly-packed heads of deliciously-scented white flowers in spring. Planting near a doorway or path with enable you to enjoy its wonderful fragrance fully whilst in bloom.
3. Aquilegia ‘Spring Magic’
Without doubt, this is one of my favourite plants from episode 2. Unlike many other varieties of Aquilegia, ‘Spring Magic’ has incredible two-tone flowers, which work excellently as part of a cottage garden scheme. These flowers are very long-lasting, with the plant first coming into bud in April and flowers finally fading in September. Aquilegia will readily self-seed if left to its own devices, although the flowers of the resulting offspring will vary in colour. Flowering throughout spring and summer, it is popular with pollinators like bees and butterflies and prefers moist, but well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade.
Growing to a ground-hugging 30cm tall, Iberis (Candytuft) ‘Masterpiece‘ makes for fantastic ground cover at the front of sunny borders, as in the garden in episode 2. Its cartwheels of crisp white, tessellated flower clusters are joyful enough to put a spring in my step whenever I clap eyes on them… and I clap eyes on them often since they flower from May all the way through to September! It does need protection from slugs, so make sure you look at my 7 Natural Slug Control Methods blog for top tips on keeping these meddlesome critters at bay.
My absolute favourite plant from episode 2, however, has to be Dicentra (Bleeding heart). We used a white variety in the episode, the full name of which is Dicentra (or Lamprocapnos) spectabilis ‘Alba,’ but traditional blooms are hot pink hearts with a melancholic, white teardrop hanging below.
Originally a woodland plant, Dicentra is at its happiest in a sheltered, partially shaded position that mimics the conditions of its natural habitat. It was perfect for our project in episode 2 of integrating the woodland at the bottom of the garden with the garden itself. Unlike most plants, which object to having their roots constantly in water, Dicentra positively enjoys a poorly drained soil, making it especially friendly to gardeners who want gorgeous blooms that don’t mind the poor drainage of clay. Its laissez-faire growing habit makes it particularly well-suited to mid-border planting in informal cottage gardens.
Dicentra is a hardy perennial which will withstand even the harshest of UK winters (down to -20 degrees celsius), bursting back into flower year upon year.
Flowering from April through to June, Dicentra is one of the earliest perennials in the garden to bloom. Its foliage does tend to die back somewhat after flowering, though, so it’s a good idea to mix it in amongst other plants that will maintain interest for the rest of the season.
Dicentra foliage can irritate skin conditions, so be careful to place it far enough back from paths and walkways to avoid contact with the skin as people brush past.
To double your Dicentra for free, simply divide the plant in two before or after flowering or propagate with root cuttings in winter. Very resistant to disease and pests, it’s truly easy to keep Dicentra looking its best if you position it right during planting.
Many more plants were, of course, used in the creation of episode 2’s garden. Together with my 5 favourite plants form the episode, these other plants were used to create, I think you’ll agree, a truly mesmerising effect:
Lithodora ‘Heavenly Blue’
Fantastic for ground cover in a sunny spot, these compact evergreen shrubs have brilliant blue flowers in spring & summer.
A small deciduous tree with incredible red foliage, Acers in pots are fantastic as a centrepiece in a small garden.
An early evolutionary survivor, ferns are fantastic for under planting beneath trees. To find out more, watch my video.
The aptly-named ‘Sundance’ variety of this beautiful evergreen shrub will bring brightness to your garden year-round.
Magnolia ‘Lil. Susan’
Bearing spectacularly fragrant, deep purple-pink flowers in spring, this variety of Magnolia is a delight to behold.
An evergreen shrub with Jasmine-like flowers in spring, Osmanthus is brilliant for adding year-round structure to your garden.
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. Join me again soon for lots more Love Your Garden fun!