The brighter mornings that greet us as we step into June make us feel joy, and there’s plenty of colour blooming that help our gardens look summery and bright.
1. Rosa (rose) ‘Munstead Wood’
You can’t beat a red scented rose for the ultimate in romanticism and this one is a real winner with its deep, dark red multi coloured highly scented flowers in bloom for most of the summer. The heady scent is at its very best early evening. Roses love moist but not waterlogged rich soil and at least 6 hours sun a day. They look fab planted with herbaceous perennials but try not to let plants smother the base.
2. Cirsium rivulare (plume thistle) ‘Atropurpureum’
With its distinctive deep red thistle flowers on tall stems, much beloved of bees, this gorgeous herbaceous perennial will flower on and off from early to late summer and will give an extra special floral flourish if stems are cut back after first flush in mid summer. Give them full sun and a well drained soil and they’ll enhance any cottage garden border or wild flower meadow planting.
3. Phlomis russeliana (Turkish sage)
Handsome evergreen herbaceous perennial with perfectly scalloped edged leaves and dusky yellow flowers appearing all the way up distinctive tall flower stems. The flowers turn dark brown and make great architectural statements if left on the plant overwinter, especially so on a frosty morning. Remarkably tolerant of full sun or shade it will grow in many situations and will quickly spread if left to its own devices.
4. Geranium psilostemon (Geranium cranesbill)
There are numerous different varieties of these outstanding garden plants, both evergreen and deciduous in all different heights and for all different situations. Psilostemon is one of the larger varieties growing to a height of 1.2m and a spread of 1.0m. It has brilliant rounded flowers of bright magenta, strikingly black-eyed and veined from early summer right the way to early autumn. It will tolerate shade and being grown in most types of soil.
5. Philadelphus(mock orange)
At this time of year you’ll probably smell the sweet scent of this hardy deciduous shrub before you see it. White or cream flowers, heavy with the scent of orange blossom, adorn it early to mid summer. Some varieties can reach 1.8m high with a spread of 1.2m. To increase flowers for the following year cut back flowered shoots immediately after flowering. They like a fertile, all drained soil, planted somewhere where it will get some sun part of the day.
6. Caltha palustris (marsh marigold)
If you have very wet soil or a pond or stream in your garden these relatively short growing hardy herbaceous perennials are a must have. Displaying cheerful yellow buttercup like flowers late spring, early summer they love very wet soil and can even be planted directly into water up to a maximum depth of 15cm. They like full sun and can be divided to make more plants either immediately after flowering or in autumn. They are usually trouble free plants to grow.
7. Hebe(shrubby veronica) ‘Nicola’s Blush’
These evergreen shrubs are very versatile providing easy to maintain year round structure in the garden. Nicola’s Blush has purple tinged leaves and masses of very pretty light pink flowers from late spring to mid summer. It will flower a second time in autumn and can continue into mid-winter. Not too fussy about the soil it’s growing in as long as it’s free draining. Will reach a height and spread of 75cm.
8. Campanula(bellflower) ‘Birch Hybrid’
There are many different Bellflower cultivars to choose from with flowering times ranging from late spring to late summer. At this time of the year this ground hugging evergreen perennial bursts into deep violet flower and stays that way throughout summer. It’s easy to grow in full sun or part shade and soon forms dense mats of small deep green ivy shaped leaves with a height of 15cm and spread of 60cm.
9. Humulus lupus (climbing hop) ‘Aureus’
If you want a climber with bright lime green leaves that, once established, will romp up trees, walls or netting then this rampant climber should be your first choice. It’s not evergreen so it will die down in winter but the joy of seeing these cheerful bright leaves appear late spring is more than compensation for having to wait. It will take shade but you’ll get the best colour from it in full sun. Usually trouble free it can grow up to 8m.
10. Calendula officinalis (pot marigold)
An annual plant, which, if happy in your soil, will self seed with gay abandon and what’s more will produce single large edible orange flowers up to 7cm across from late spring until autumn and sometimes into winter. The leaves are highly aromatic when crushed but not edible. It’s possible to buy semi or double flower varieties bred from this species with yellow, apricot or cream flowers. Easily grown from seed sown in mid spring directly into the ground outside they’ll usually reach a height and spread of 60cm.
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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