Mind that Gap in the Garden

What can you plant in your garden to cover the gap between the fresh colours of spring and the dazzling shades of high summer? That was what Martin Blow came to talk about to Ticknall Garden Club at their June meeting. He brought a choice selection of perennial plants with him to demonstrate the wide variety available.

He was a great fan of the geum as a good mixer and so tough it will grow anywhere. He cautioned against the new strains as not being proven. He had the centaurea collection at his nursery. Commonly called knapweed or the perennial cornflower, it had now undergone a complete change of nomenclature to samaracantha centaurades. Not all were thuggish bad spreaders. They would grow anywhere and are attractive to butterflies and the seeds to birds. A wide variety of perennial geraniums provided lasting colour throughout the year.

The dainty aquilegia or lady’s bonnets is a prolific seeder and good for colour but tends to regress to blue. Tall verbascums come in a variety of colours though not all are hardy and can be vulnerable to the mullein moth. Salvias have become popular but can be tricky to grow, as they hate wet conditions.

There are other utterly reliable but spreading perennials which might need some controlling.  Brunnera is known as the perennial forget-me-not and has a brilliant blue flower.  Bergenia has evergreen, tough leaves nicknamed elephant’s ears. Dicentra has dainty flowers and feathery leaves. Pulmonaria or lungwort has white spotted leaves with flowers that bees cannot resist.

Martin had suggested a wide choice of gap fillers for a difficult planting period of the year that are not spectacular but are reliable and rewarding for the gardener.

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