Garden centres across England are set to reopen from tomorrow and while I need to free up some pots and planters to put them into, to celebrate the occasion, I’ve compiled a list of plants in colours that really pop, à la installation created by garden designer Jake Curley and stylist Selina Lake for Alitex, and in Jo Thompson’s garden for Wedgwood, at last year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show (both pictured, above).
Geums have been great favourites at RHS Chelsea recently and their long-lasting flowers and large, lobed leaves make them the ideal way to fill in the gaps as spring planting dies back and summer flowers bloom. They do well in pots and window boxes too. Geum ‘Copper Pennies’ is my choice.
Lysimachia will take a while to grow to full height but the spires of this herbaceous plant, rising up above narrow-leaved foliage (and the geums), create a fabulous firework effect in a pot or the border, making it the perfect celebration flower. I need to think about the colourway but I’m erring towards L. atropurpurea ‘Beaujolais’ at the moment.
Memories of sitting for hours in my parents’ garden, watching the bees clamber inside the tubular flowers of the Digitalis growing there, prompt me to include at least one variety of this majestic, spike-headed perennial on my list. The orange-pink Digitalis x valinii ‘Firebird’ is a distinctive change from the more usual purple, pink and white-coloured varieties and will require a statement pot or planter to match.
I want something to put in my window boxes and had been thinking of penstemons but the bright pink flowers of Pelargonium ‘Lara Starshine’ caught my eye instead. They bloom until December and the leaves are lemon-scented when you gently squeeze them.
Lastly, it’s not too late to sow some plants from seed. For their simple, natural style and clump-forming habit, I love Erigeron karvinskianus, a hardy perennial that likes full sun and shade and looks fabulous grown in plain terracotta pots and old stone water butts.
PS. if you head to your local garden centre or nursery in the coming weeks, do bear in mind that stock levels will vary while the process of growing, supply and demand is re-established, and that to help keep everyone safe and well, we must abide by the social-distancing arrangements that will have been put in place.