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June gardens:Layout 1

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CITYgardens

POTS

POTENTIAL

Filling pots and other containers with bedding plants bring a splash of colour to the garden. Jane Moore offers some inspiration for quick-fix summer planting

M

uch as I love June it’s often when I feel that the garden isn’t quite living up to my expectations. We’ve got all that glorious weather (we fervently hope) and those long summer evenings to savour the garden, but there just isn’t enough colour about. It’s an odd, inbetweeny time after all the splendours of spring and before the excesses of high summer exuberance take over. I know the roses and early clematis are doing their best but, for an instant splash of colour, I look no further than good old bedding plants. Cue gasps of astonishment and cries of ‘Oh not dreary old geraniums again!’ from all over the county, not least from our esteemed editor. The thing is: it’s not necessarily the ingredient that’s important; it’s what you do with it that matters. There are ways with bedding that lift even the humble pelargonium into a different stratosphere. Obviously beds of scarlet geraniums and bounded edges of alyssum and lobelia are a definite no-no. But a blood-red geranium in an old terracotta pot casually plonked by the shed door has a rustic charm all on its own. And that’s the key: bedding plants should never be seen in isolation, they should always be considered in the context of the garden. Think about where you place things. That rustic geranium – or pelargonium to be correct – will look completely wrong in a modern, clean-lines garden whereas a zinc pot planted with a succulent would look fab. The great thing about pots is that you can experiment and move things about. After some trial and error we’ve managed to brighten up a rather gloomy pair of conifers with a pot of vibrant orange tulips in the spring followed by the cool white daisies of a marguerite in the summer. Use texture and foliage to your advantage as well as flower colour. Bold foliage plants such as hostas and heucheras look dramatic in pots either on their own or with flowers to add 72 THEBATHMAGAZINE

| JUNE 2011

detail and interest. Even at some distance a wonderfully crinkled, blue-leafed hosta planted on its own in a lichened pot grabs your attention. They also combine brilliantly with commonplace bedding plants such as the dreaded pelargoniums and make them look just that bit more classy. Don’t be afraid to try anything in a pot once. If you think a purple smokebush would look just great with a rose pink argyranthemum, then try it. The chances are it will look just as you imagined but, if you really think it looks truly appalling, then dig ‘em up and try again. The great thing about pots is that they’re so easy to chop and change about.

A blood-red geranium in an ❝ old terracotta pot, casually plonked by the shed door has a rustic charm all on its own

Use blocks of colours. If you have a smaller garden or lots of small pots try planting single varieties into each pot and then grouping them together for maximum impact. For larger pots, like wooden barrels, you can mix plants but keep them in solid blocks rather than dotting them round the container. Be clever with colours. Think about what colours work well together in nature and repeat those themes. For example white flowers such as cosmos, nicotiana and pelargoniums look fantastic with lush greens such as fFatsia and tropical palms. Blue flowers such as petunias are beautifully set off by just a touch of pale lemon or lime like soft yellow petunias or green nicotiana to act as a contrast. It lifts the whole colour scheme.

ANY POT WILL DO: containers of all sizes can be used to create instant splashes of colour in the garden

The Bath Magazine Jun 2011  

The Bath Magazine Is a glossy monthly magazine for the city of Bath, Somerset, England

The Bath Magazine Jun 2011  

The Bath Magazine Is a glossy monthly magazine for the city of Bath, Somerset, England