Beth’s best for blooming in tough conditions
HERE is a selection of Beth Chatto’s recommendations if your soil is very dry, sandy and hosepipe bans become a regular occurrence:
BULBS are often at home in free-draining soils and Beth has used these to great effect – lots of elegant red tulip sprengeri and purple alliums. She also suggests scilla peruviana, Portuguese squill and nectaroscordum, Sicilian garlic.
GRASSES – silvery blue ones such as festuca glauca, koeleria glauca and helictotrichon, feathery stipa tenuissima and the ornamental pennisetums with their bottlebrush plumes.
MEDITERRANEAN-LOOKING plants with silvery or hairy foliage – santolina (cotton lavender), verbascum, phlomis (Jerusalem sage) stachys (lamb’s ears), ballota, convolvulus and lavender are all hardy.
THIS is a just a selection – the Chatto nursery, near Elmstead Market, in Colchester, Essex, has more than 2,000 species. For more information visit bethchatto.co.uk. The gardens are open from 9am to 5pm (4pm in the winter).
DRAMATIC giant fennel ferula communis with its massive yellow flower heads, as well as cultivated fennel.
COTTAGE garden favourites – nepeta, anthemis, crocosmia, euphorbia, penstemon, bearded iris, gladioli, asphodels and verbena will work well.
VALERIAN, which you see growing on stone walls, is as tough as old boots and won’t let you down. Euphorbia will flourish in the most inhospitable of environments and hypericum asks for nothing but gives back tonnes of happy yellow flowers to reward your neglect.
SUN-SEEKERS from New Zealand – senecio and libertia grandiflora.
Orange crocosmia herey
Flowering lavender cotton