What makes a good plant? It should have strong growth, attractive flowers and foliage, and perhaps a good scent. Here are a few of our tried and tested favourites:
The Berberis family has a plant for most situations, including the evergreen Berberis Darwinii, and the Berberis Rocket series, available in red, orange, yellow or rose (pink and cream variegation).
Cistus x pulverulentus ‘Sunset’ (AGM), also called the Rock Rose, has rosy pink, almost magenta flowers with grey-green leaves and is evergreen. Given a nice sunny position it will give lots of flowers through June and July. Other varieties have different flower colours and growth habits.
Cistus x pulverulentus ‘Sunset’
A much underrated plant in my view is Potentilla. In a nice sunny position it will flower its socks off all summer and well into the autumn. It does lose its leaves in the winter but only needs a light trim with shears in the spring to remove the old flower heads and keep tidy. Potentilla fruticosa ‘Goldfinger’ is a bright sunny yellow, or try Potentilla fruticosa ‘Pink Beauty’ for a pretty pink.
Potentilla fruticosa ‘Goldfinger’
For nearly 9 months of continual interest, Spiraea japonica ‘Golden Princess’ (AGM) is hard to beat. Bronze-red new growth turns bright yellow and then red in the autumn, with purple/pink flowers in early summer.
Spiraea japonica ‘Golden Princess’
Last but not least, Weigela ‘Florida Variegata’ (AGM) has lovely green and cream leaves that turn pink and red in autumn. The flowers are pink in bud, fading to white, and will perform even in light shade. Weigela florida ‘Monet’ is similar in leaf colour but is a smaller grower with purple flowers.
To get the best from our quality plants we recommend digging a hole 1 ½ times the size of the root ball, a small sprinkle of Vitax Q4 and then fill in the hole with a 50:50 mix of Coolings Tree & Shrub compost and your existing soil. Water in after planting and keep an eye on watering until the autumn.