Please, please grow!

I saw the wonderful springtime show  in The Frustrated Gardener’s coastal garden and felt inspired by the stunning display of colour and the lush growth. I would like something like that, I thought, and went outside to inspect ‘The Fernery’ whereupon inspiration turned to despair. How on earth am I going to turn this ghastly mess of assorted ugly pots into a calm haven? I daren’t show you the rest of the area!

The side garden in London

A few days of hard work and ‘The Fernery’ is tidy, and bare, a display of ugly pots. However, I have planted deep blue trailing lobelia, red trailing geraniums, and lime-green ‘creeping Jenny’ at the sides of the pots and so I am hoping for a cloud of colour. And in the pots there are grasses (Hakonechloa and Molinia Caerulea), red geraniums, Hebe (why not?), cistus cuttings from last year, and herbs.

The pots in 'The Fernery' The pots in 'The Fernery'

And the ferns? They are hiding in the depths of more seemingly empty pots! Please, please grow!

The Fernery, London



Tubs in the side patio

I have a small space at the side of the house which is protected and where one can sit on warm mornings and evenings. I have planted tubs with ferns but would like to plants some small shrubs for height and yet more colour. I have had all of the following before, but they had outgrown the tubs and I need to start again.

As the area is mainly about ferns I wondered if a Fatsia Japonica would be a good idea for a large tub.

Fatsia Japonica (

I would love to grow a Ceanothus, but I believe this would not thrive in a tub/container. Instead I could try Hydrangea Macrophylla ‘Endless Summer’ which can be pruned and flowers on new wood.

Hydrangea Macrophylla 'Endless Summer' (www.the potted
Hydrangea Macrophylla ‘Endless Summer’ (www.the potted

So many decisions!

Planting Ideas for the Patio Bed and the Flint Wall

Some new ideas – very different! Firstly the Patio Bed which is surrounded by paving and which enjoys partial sun during some of the day. It really needs something scented, or perhaps startling.

The Flint Wall Bed is mainly shaded, but also protected and I think this is the final decision on the planting.

The Patio Bed

The bed in the patio is important because it is next to seating and so has to look good all year. While it is light, it is also partially shady, and snails are a problem. The Bergenia ‘Abendglut’ will turn dark burgundy in the winter and will look striking against Helleborus Niger. Then deep pink/purple bergenia flowers will follow. Ferns would soften the effect.

Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ will come next, with variegated leaves and blue flowers, and even bigger variegated leaves when the flowers are over, and finally Anenome ‘Honorine Joubert’ will flower in late summer.

 Or perhaps I should aim to cover the entire bed with Bergenia ‘Abendglut’ and ‘Honorine Joubert’?

Patio Planting

We have a small bed on the side of the patio and the planting needs to be ‘interesting’. Bergenia ‘Abendglut’ leaves are burnt Sienna in winter, followed by deep purple flowers in March and April, and then the leaves turn green in the summer. Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ flowers in May & June; Liriope Muscari’s lavender flowers appear in August to September, and Anenome ‘Honorine Joubert’ is gracefully white from August to October. Perhaps I should consider Libertia Grandiflora in this bed? White flowers in April and May and interesting, spikey green foliage all year. What do you think? Will this be ‘soft’ enough? Will it be snail-resistant?

Bergenia 'Abendglut'
Bergenia ‘Abendglut’


Anenome Honorine Joubert
Anenome Honorine Joubert