Succession Planting in the Suffolk Garden

I am slowly beginning to understand what succession planting might mean – people talk about it as a way of ensuring that there is always something interesting in the garden, but I think it could also allow me to change the feel and character of the garden as the seasons change – like wearing different outfilts at different times of the year.

Early in the year the patio bed is very blue and purple with lots of bee food: Geranium ‘Johnson’s Blue’, Nepeta ‘Walkers Low’, and Erysimum ‘E A Bowles’ flourish, and Ajuga flowers at ground level. And a black Iris provides temporary drama behind the stunning white Libertia Grandiflora. Alchemilla are a wonderful acid yellow contrast along the path, and are now seeding themselves everywhere – even in the tarmacked grave! After the flowers have all finished I cut back the Nepeta and Erysimum, and I don’t let the Libertia drop seeds either, although I have collected the seed pods.

Monk Frith Garden in June 2016
Monk Frith Garden in June 2016


Now in August the grasses are growing, Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ is flowering, as are the Japanese Anemones ‘Honorine Jobert, and there is a second, modest flush of Nepeta. The Heuchera, which include ‘Purple Palace’, provide a nice contrast. The emphasis is on white and gold and it looks very different from the cooler Spring colours.

Monk Frith Garden in August 2016
Monk Frith Garden in August 2016

Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm'


And I finally think I can see what will work: a block of Japanese Anemones ‘Honorine Jobert’, with stronger, higher staking, combined with gold Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ and White Leucanthemum interwoven amongst the spikey green Libertia and Pennisetum ‘Hamelm’. At the moment the daisies are too solid and ‘clumpy’ and don’t look relaxed. Verbena Bonariensis gives height and contrast. Heuchera ‘Purple Palace’ is tucked into a shady corner created by the Miscanthus ‘Kleine Silberspinne’ and has flowered throughout the year.

Miscanthus, Stephanotis, Heuchera

Heuchera 'Purple Palace'

Miscanthus 'Kleine Silberspinne'

Further information
Succession planting with bulbs – interesting article
A year in a garden – interesting article


    • Thank you! It is taking such a long time to get these relatively small spaces ‘right’. This particular bed needs a few small changes for next year, but is well on the way to ‘working’. But on the opposite side of the garden the ‘William Shakespeare’ rose is falling over, again, and perhaps needs some kind of framework on which to lean…

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