Sum­mer’s here and the time is right…

… not for danc­ing in the street but for plant­ing up a load of colour, jazz­ing up a pa­tio and putting in a pretty wa­ter fea­ture

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

at­trac­tive near wa­ter fea­tures or among or­na­men­tal grasses.

Blue flow­ers are al­ways wel­come in a sum­mer gar­den, and aga­pan­thus flow­ers come in pow­der to deep blue to blue-vi­o­let.

Grow dwarf aga­pan­thus along­side path­ways, in rock­ery pock­ets and in pots, those of in­ter­me­di­ate height to­wards the cen­tre of beds, and taller aga­pan­thus in clus­ters as strong ac­cent points at the back.

Aga­pan­thus have a strong fleshy root­stock suit­able for hold­ing soil on banks.

An­gelo­nias and pen­ste­mons, with their spires of flow­ers, con­trast well with the shapes of day lilies and aga­pan­thus. An­gelo­nias have snap­dragon-like blooms in laven­der, pink, pur­ple and white, and need fer­tile, well-drained soil, reg­u­lar wa­ter and full sun, or morn­ing sun and af­ter­noon shade in hot gar­dens.

Pen­ste­mons will con­tinue flow­er­ing into au­tumn if old flower spikes are reg­u­larly re­moved. Their tubu­lar white, pink, red, laven­der and pur­ple flow­ers, some bi­coloured, can be dainty or glox­inia-like, with leaves broad or nar­row.

Gauras are tough, drought- and heat-re­sis­tant peren­ni­als with but­ter­fly-like flow­ers of white and shades of pink, held on tall wiry stems that add a del­i­cate ef­fect in the gar­den.

Fill your gar­den and home with the scents of sum­mer by grow­ing plants with fragrant flow­ers and fo­liage on pa­tios, un­der win­dows and near gar­den benches. Train star jas­mine ( Trach­e­losper­mum jas­mi­noides) on trel­lises and walls.

Roses are part of the en­joy­ment of a sum­mer gar­den, and those that are fragrant are dou­bly wel­come. Gar­de­nias have white, heav­ily scented sin­gle or dou­ble flow­ers. They need an acid, hu­mus-rich soil, and sun or semi-shade. Dwarf gar­de­nias do well in con­tain­ers.

Laven­der and rose­mary re­lease their per­fume when their leaves are bruised or touched, mak­ing them ideal for plant­ing along paths. Scented-leaf pelargo­ni­ums are grown for their aro­matic fo­liage that may have a rose, le­mon, orange, nut­meg or pep­per­mint scent.

Berg hy­acinths (gal­to­nias), with their tall spikes of pen­dant white bells, add an el­e­gant state­ment when planted in groups in sum­mer bor­ders. The flow­ers of eu­comis, with their cu­ri­ous pineap­ple “top­knots”, make a dra­matic state­ment in the gar­den.

Dahlias are in­valu­able in the sum­mer gar­den. Flow­ers vary from tiny pom-poms to large ex­hi­bi­tion­type blooms. Given a sunny po­si­tion, well-com­posted soil, ex­cel­lent drainage and reg­u­lar feed­ing and wa­ter­ing, they will re­ward the gar­dener by flow­er­ing through­out sum­mer and well into au­tumn.

Sum­mer-flow­er­ing arums (calla lilies) are de­cid­u­ous and grow from a tu­ber. They do very well in pots, but may need ex­tra wa­ter­ing dur­ing hot weather. Flower spathes are at­trac­tive, in shades of yel­low, apri­cot, pink, ruby and ma­roon.

While the orange of cro­cos­mias is dom­i­nant in many hy­brids, there are oth­ers of scar­let and red, apri­cot, gold and yel­low, and in some in­stances the fo­liage is bronze. They pre­fer mois­ture-re­ten­tive, rich soil, and do well in light or semi shade.

While the ma­jor­ity of sum­mer flow­er­ing peren­ni­als and bulbs need well-drained soil and sun­shine, there are oth­ers that will grow in wood­land con­di­tions. Astilbes have fern-like fo­liage and feath­ery white, pink or red plumes held above the fo­liage. Also with fern-like fo­liage, thal­ic­trum (meadow rue) has tall sprays of dainty mauve blooms.

Hostas are dor­mant in win­ter; their green, blue-green or var­ie­gated leaves ap­pear in spring and ma­ture in sum­mer when mauve flow­ers ap­pear. They need moist, rich soil, and shade and pro­tec­tion from snails.

FOR­MAL LOOK: For­mal gar­dens give you struc­ture, such as this clas­sic for­mal gar­den around a wa­ter fea­ture in Ma­rina da Gama.

WA­TER-WISE: Get spir­i­tual with wa­ter and de­sign a wa­ter gar­den.

BLOOM­ING MAR­VEL­LOUS: Sum­mer is the time to plant petu­nias.

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