Lavender

With it's much-loved scent, this classic plant thrives in UK gardens

Nothing conjures up a warm summer garden better than the delicate scent of lavender. Most commonly grown are the hardier lavenders.

Often known as English, French and Dutch lavenders they'll flower in succession to make a long-lasting display. 

Choose carefully and you can have lavenders blooming or weeks on end. 

First to bloom are French Lavenders. Some, such as Fathead, live up to their name with very rounded flowers, but whatever they variet each had intricatey patterned heads, topped with distinctive tufted ears.

Next to bloom are the English lavenders Ducth Group will flower intermiddedly until autumn.

Keep them happy

  • Lavenders need sun and thrive in alkaline soils with excellent drainage 
  • If you want to grow them on heavy soil before planting, French lavender will cope with slightly acidic soils
  • Once established, lavenders are drought resistant, but potted lavenders and young plants need watering well
  • Prune lavenders to stop them getting leggy, but trimming to just above the old woody growth in late summer after flowering. Prune Dutch lavenders in spring

Sedums

With starry blooms Sedums attract bees and butterfies

There are more than 600 species of sedum and, although some are frost tender, those from the northern hemisphere include some really useful garden plants. Most are succulent with fleshy leaves and stems, and although the starry flowers are small, they are often produced in such profusion they cover the leaves completely.

Many make useful ground cover or rockery plants and are often used to plant green roofs, but perhaps the most popular are the large herbaceous kinds. 

The grey leaves of the larger types, often tinged with purple, are attractive all summer.

Their heads of starry blooms, mostly in shades of pink, attract butterflies and bees and are perfect in front of late asters and chrysanths.

All sedums prefer well-drained soil and will survive drought, though the bigger kinds tolerate moisture and will grow in average conditions.

They all prefer sunny sites and may get straggly and not flower so well in shade.

The low-growing varieties are best grown on rock gardens, or in gravel, but may be troublesome because each leaf can grow into a new plant.

This isn’t the case with the larger kinds, which should be divided every three or four years.

Pinch out the growing tips of the large varieties in May to increase bushiness and help prevent stems flopping later in summer.

To find out the best Sedums for bright autumn colour, pick up your copy of Garden News in shops today, or subscribe to get the latest issue!