Garden News (UK)

Alan and Ahmed’s favourite plants

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Primula cortusoide­s

From early to late spring, masses of rose-pink flowers with a pale eye top the tall slender stems of this Japanese primrose with long-stemmed, hairy leaves. It thrives in part to full shade, in a welldraine­d soil. H: 20cm (8in); S: 15cm (6in).

Acer palmatum ‘Shishigash­ira’

This upright growing

Acer palmatum has thick, bunched-up, curled leaves and has been artfully wrapped around a terracotta column. Although most acers are finicky about pruning, we treat it like a hedge and clip it into shape with shears.

H: 3m (10ft); S: 2m (6½ft).

Matteuccia struthiopt­eris

With iconic uncurling croziers, the shuttlecoc­k fern looks wonderful in spring. It happily spreads, forming neat little clumps of fresh green lacy fronds that stretch out and filter through the sunlight. It’s ideal for a rich soil in moist, dappled shade. H: 1.5m (5ft); S: 45cm (18in).

Ceanothus ‘Skylark’

In May and June, our California­n lilac is smothered in deep blue flower clusters that really glow against the green backdrop of our garden. With its glossy evergreen leaves and attractive shape, it has a year-round presence within the planting.

H: 1.5m (5ft); S: 2m (6½ft).

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