When I visit my clients for their initial garden design consultation meeting, part of the process is to complete a questionnaire. This is a great way for me to get to know my clients a little better and find out what they have on their wish list, as well as to focus on the types of materials they would like to use.
Two of the questions that form part of the questionnaire are What are your favourite plants? And what are your least favourite plants? Most of my clients have very definite ideas of the types of plants they like, but their least favourite plant list is usually much shorter or non-existent!
If you were to sit down and make a list, which plants would be on your list? In making our choices colour and scent will influence us, as well as how easy the plant is to care for.
A few years ago, the Gardeners’ World Magazine did an interesting survey about just this subject which had some interesting results.
Not surprisingly the rose featured as one of the nation’s favourites, and it is fair to say has a timeless appeal to gardeners both young and old. There are lots of varieties to choose from, and many are now bred to be disease resistant making them appeal to us even more.
There are roses you can grow in patio containers, shrub roses for your borders, climbers for your rose arch and ramblers to head skywards and scramble their way through trees and hedges, there are even ones for ground cover, so what is there not to like?
The sweet pea is a flower that evokes memories of times past of parents and grandparents growing them in their own gardens. They are easy to grow from seed and come with the license to pick as many as you like to encourage more to flower.
The hardy fuchsia is a plant that seems to go in and out of fashion with gardeners, but I think that it is a useful plant. The hardy variety Mrs. Popple has delicate flowers of scarlet and purple and is perfect for that partially shaded area of your garden to give it a tropical feel.
Now the plants that are not quite so popular with us gardeners. Perhaps not so surprising was ivy. One of the dislikes about this plant is that it harbors snails! True, this plant can be very invasive in the wrong place, but equally it is evergreen, and will cover an unsightly wall or fence.
Ivy is an important plant to support wildlife. It provides shelter for insects, is a source of nectar for bees and makes the perfect nesting site for birds.
Good old Bamboo! This is another plant that people either like or loathe. If you plant it in your garden into the ground, make sure you choose the clump forming varieties like Fargesia ‘Red Panda’, otherwise it will spring up all around the garden from roots that run underground.
Alternatively plant your bamboo into a suitably sized container with good drainage. This keeps the size of the plant in check by restricting its growth, but still allows you to benefit from the privacy screen it provides, and still enjoy the sound the leaves make as it rustles in the breeze. Consider removing the lower leaves from the plant to reveal the lovely stem colour which looks attractive.
I guess there will always be plants that have the ‘marmite’ effect on some people and not on others, but remember the golden rule, right plant, right place and you cannot go wrong!
Until next time