Tuesday, 19 March 2013 10:47

A Plant for All Seasons

Newly emerged leaves of Ricinis Communis give shape texture and colour before the flowers. Newly emerged leaves of Ricinis Communis give shape texture and colour before the flowers.

In small gardens everything is up close and personal and easily seen.

Plants have to earn their keep and perform well throughout the year to justify the space they take up.  For me, plants that are star performers don’t just have beautiful flowers, but offer a number of other qualities to continue interest before and after their main flowering period, such as:

  •     Colourful stems – especially in winter
  •     Buds – e.g. fluffy, prickly, beautifully coloured
  •     Interesting new shoots in spring
  •     Leaf shape and colour – e.g. deciduous, evergreen 
  •     Leaf texture – e.g. rough, smooth, shiny, hairy
  •     Autumn colour - e.g. leaves that change to yellow, orange, red
  •     Decorative seed-heads
  •     Fruits – edible or not
  •     Scent – what sort and at what time of day
  •     Flowering period – short but sweet, or long and lingering
  •     Last but not least – how resilient is the plant?  Is it likely to suffer from slugs and snails?  Get diseases?  Lose its shape?

It’s easy to be seduced by a pretty flower in the garden centre, but it’s worth doing a bit of research before you go as this will help identify the star performers, the plants that will perform for your particular conditions (soil, aspect etc.) and those that will work well in combination with plants you already have.  Looking at pictures of a plant at different times of the year makes it much easier to see what all that it has to offer and when.

Do be choosy; all plants are not created equal, and performance between plants of the same species can vary a lot. The Award of Garden Merit (AGM) given by the RHS is a useful indicator that a plant will do what it says on the tin, but nothing beats your own research.

  • © Jane Jordan Gardens 2018