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17 September 2014
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how to be a gardener - The complete online guide

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2 - Top ten plants
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Top ten plants no garden should be without
It pays to start planning a garden with a backbone of reliable, easy-to-find plants that do well in most situations. Between them, they will provide colour and interest throughout the year.

My basic garden ‘recipe’ includes a mixture of climbers and evergreen shrubs for structure and background, with perennials for ground cover and seasonal decoration.
Latin name: Wisteria sinensis
Common name: Wisteria
Type of plant: Deciduous climber
Soil preference: Moist, but well-drained soil
Hardiness: Hardy
Flower colour: Lilac-blue, fragrant
Height and spread: 9m x 4m (30ft x 15ft)
Description: Large, twining climber with bunches of scented flowers in late spring and early summer.
Design tips:Plant against a large wall or use to hide outbuildings; in a small garden it can be trained as a compact standard tree.
Wisteria, Wisteria sinensis
Latin name: Phyllostachys aureosulcata 'Aureocallis'
Common name: Yellow-groove bamboo
Type of plant: Architectural evergreen
Soil preference: humus rich
Hardiness: Hardy
Flower colour: n/a
Height and spread: 3m x 2.4m (10ft x 8ft)
Description: Tall, clump-forming bamboo grown for glowing, golden orange stems and evergreen foliage. It’s good for backgrounds, screening, and as a stand-alone specimen plant.
Yellow groove bamboo, Phyllostachys aureosulcata 'Aureocallis'
Latin name: Viburnum tinus
Common name: Laurustinus
Type of plant: Evergreen shrub
Soil preference: Moist, but well-drained soil
Hardiness: Hardy
Flower colour: pink buds, white flowers
Height and spread: 1.8m x 1.8m (6ft x 6ft)
Description: Large winter and early spring-flowering evergreen shrub. It’s good at the back of a border.
Laurustinus, Viburnum tinus
Latin name: Geranium species (various)
Common name: Hardy geranium
Type of plant: Herbaceous perennial
Soil preference: No soil preference
Hardiness: Hardy
Flower colour: Pink, mauve, white, violet or purple
Height and spread: Varies
Description: A spreading and scrambling plant with good foliage and attractive flowers in summer. Use it as ground cover between shrubs and larger perennials.
Geranium, Geranium 'Johnson's Blue'
Latin name: Verbena bonariensis
Common name: Verbena
Type of plant: Biennial/short-lived perennial
Soil preference: Moist, but well-drained soil
Hardiness: Fairly
Flower colour: Lilac/purple
Height and spread: 2m x 45cm (6ft x 18in)
Description: Tall, airy flowers with almost leafless stems topped by clusters of small flowers. Allow to self-seed through shrubs, roses and tall perennials.
Verbena, Verbena bonariensis
2. Blank canvas garden

Top ten plants
Placing a patio
Placing a pergola
Making the design work

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