Best laid plans never quite work out and that’s especially true in gardening, when there are so many factors that can influence the way our plants perform and knit together. The fact remains we all have gaps, whether we grow our plants in borders or pots, but thankfully there are a palette of plants we can use to come to the rescue.
Assess your predicament, taking note of the style of plant best suited to the space, whether narrowly upright or spreading, and whether one or more plants is required. Assess whether you need something permanent or just a temporary filler for the summer as this will also influence your decision. Before plumping for something expensive take a look around your garden centre or nursery for a few bargains, as there are many on offer at this time of year.
Crocosmia add a vertical accent and a splash of vibrant colour, while slender gaura is far more subtle in shades of pink and white, whose whippy branches can be threaded through surrounding plants. Dahlias of all kinds are a must, particularly the single-flowered kinds with purple foliage which will continue flowering till autumn. Shrubby salvia are a godsend, particularly the S. jamensis types, which includes the bicoloured ‘Lips’ series, which are durable, surviving in coastal gardens and hot sun and are good whether filling gaps in borders or in containers.
In establishing your new plant give it space to grow by snipping back encroaching plants and loosening and preparing hard ground first. Even rescue plants can’t work miracles!