As I write my article, we mark the beginning of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations for Her Majesty the Queen and the 70 years of service and devotion to our country and the Commonwealth, what an amazing achievement. The Queen’s Green Canopy initiative is well under way with communities coming together to plant trees as a legacy to mark this historic event.
It started me thinking about all the planned events for the coming year and in particular the street parties planned for June and the plants we might like to use in our gardens to reflect the occasion. What could be nicer than a patriotic hanging basket or red, white, and blue annuals combined with bunting to lift all our spirits, and boy, how we all need it!
Platinum, or in this case silver plants, make a fantastic addition at any time of the year to borders and containers. Silver looks amazing with any other colour you choose to pair it with, adding a splash of sparkle and sophistication.
I have suggested a selection of plants that you might want to look out for, but I suspect over the coming weeks, and with Chelsea Flower Show just around the corner when horticultural growers will be show casing their new varieties, there will be many more aptly named plants appearing in our garden centers to tempt us even further.
Most of these plants I have chosen have a Mediterranean vibe, common with plants that have silver foliage, they are often draught tolerant so perfect for a sizzling summer.
An excellent choice for the front of your border is Cerastium tomentosum ‘Snow in Summer.’ This vigorous mat forming perennial is ideal for carpeting dry sunny banks or gravel gardens. It grows to a height of 15cms and has narrow silver leaves with white flowers.
Senecio cineraria ‘Silver Dust’ this tender shrub grown as a half-hardy annual, has fine feathery foliage, shaped a little like an oak leaf, makes for an extremely useful addition to the front of a border or in containers 30 x 30 cms.
Festuca Glauca this dwarf perennial grass forms a dense tussock of blue/grey foliage giving an almost ‘misty’ effect and is totally drought-proof when established. Looks great planted in large drifts, between other plants in borders or in containers 30 x 20cms.
For a mid-height border plant, how about Stachys Byzantina ‘Silver Carpet’ this tactile plant has soft oval leaves, which gives it its common name, lamb’s ears. This evergreen plant is perfect for a sunny border or gravel garden forming a carpet of drought tolerant silver foliage.
Santolina or Cotton lavender likes a sunny spot or gravel garden, forms a neat clump of delicate grey/white aromatic foliage, and in late summer, a small yellow flower appears on wiry stems.
If you have the space in your border and want a statement plant, look no further than Cynara Cardunculus cardoon or the artichoke thistle. This large architectural plant makes the perfect statement either on its own or planted in a large herbaceous border with contrasting plants. In summer tall stems of jagged edged leaves are topped off by a fat bud which opens to a large purple thistle which attracts masses of bees. 2m x 90cms.
Slightly smaller but just as magnificent is Melianthus Major with its large grey/green toothed leaves held on upward branching stems and in hot summers it produces a reddish-brown flower. Plant in a sheltered spot and mulch heavily in the autumn to protect the roots from frosts. Perfect as a stunning specimen for a perennial border with an exotic feel 90c x 80cms.
Until next time