Garden design for summer interest: five 'must have' plants for a summer garden
Although we will always maintain that our gardens should give us pleasure throughout the year, we suspect most of us find that we actually spend the more time in our gardens during the summer. This is hardly surprising given the warmer weather and lighter evenings, but whether we are outside for a BBQ, a family gathering, or simply just a few moments of peace and quiet, we will hopefully be able to also enjoy some lovely planting.
With so many wonderful plants to choose from, here are five of our absolute ‘must haves’ for the summer garden:
1. VERBENA bonariensis
Verbena bonariensis is a beautiful perennial. With its clusters of tiny lilac-coloured flowers, it provides height, structure and colour from mid-summer to the first of the autumn frosts. Much beloved by butterflies, it will slowly spread throughout a border given half a chance. A definite star of a plant, and certainly one that we would not want to be without in our own gardens.
2. LAVANDULA ‘Hidcote’
We've not met many people who don’t like lavender, but many varieties can become ‘leggy’ and a bit bedraggled after a few years. Lavandula ‘Hidcote’ is one of the ‘better behaved’ varieties and will happily flower consistently throughout the summer. With simple purple flowers and a heady scent, this compact shrub is a mainstay of many of the gardens we design. It’s a real favourite for bees too.
3. FOENICULUM vulgare ‘Pupureum’
Bronze or purple fennel is another lovely perennial. Perfect for adding height and texture in a mixed planting border, its beautiful wispy foliage will easily achieve heights of 1.5m+ given half-decent conditions. Topped with clusters of long-lasting small yellow flowers, and with a beautiful fragrance, Foeniculum 'Purpureum' is a lovely plant for any summer garden. The leaves and seeds are edible, so why not try a sprig or two with some fish or in a salad?
4. ACER palmatum ‘Bloodgood’ (pictured at the top of the page)
A glorious Japanese maple, Acer ‘Bloodgood’ is a large deciduous shrub with the most wonderful purple foliage. Its attractive and characteristic leaves dance in the slightest breeze and offer sensational textural and colour contrast alongside many green-leaved plants. Often used as a specimen ‘focal point’ plant, this is an absolute winner that always draws a smile.
5. PHORMIUM tenax ‘Sundowner’
I love all Phormiums, but ‘Sundowner’ is my all-time favourite because of the attractive pinkish edges on its long sword-like bronze green leaves. A tall clump-forming evergreen shrub, it provides excellent structure, texture and visual interest. Fantastic either as a single specimen or planting in larger groups, all but the smallest of summer gardens would benefit from a Phormium ‘Sundowner’.
Tythorne Garden Design provides professional fixed-fee garden design solutions for customers in Grantham, Stamford, Newark and surrounding areas. Let's see how we can help you to enjoy your garden more. Call us on 07900 224 239 or 01529 455 355.
How many of these wonderful plants do you have in your garden? If you are missing one or two of them, we would definitely suggest that you try to add them this summer. We are sure you won’t regret it.