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13 July 2014
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how to be a gardener - The complete online guide

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7 - Top ten plants
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Low maintenance doesn’t have to mean boring; choose plants that go together and provide as much year-round colour and interest as possible.
Miscanthus sinensisLatin name: Miscanthus sinensis ‘Zebrinus’
Common name: Zebra grass
Type of plant: Perennial grass
Soil preference: Moist but well-drained
Hardiness: Hardy
Flower colour: Grown for foliage only
Height and spread: 1.2m x 90cm (4ft x 3ft)
Description: Fountain-shaped grass with gold-banded foliage, turn russet brown in winter
Design tips: Plant in groups to soften hard shapes of fencing or to give privacy and shelter to seating areas.
Mahonia x media 'Charity'Latin name: Mahonia x media ‘Charity’
Common name: Mahonia
Type of plant: Evergreen shrub
Soil preference: No soil preference
Hardiness: Hardy
Flower colour: Yellow
Height and spread: 2.1m x 1.2m (7ft x 4ft)
Description: An architectural shrub with large, prickly evergreen leaves and yellow, scented flowers in winter and early spring.
Design tips: It looks good at the back of borders, in the corners of a garden, and contrasts well with grasses and conifers.
Galanthus nivalisLatin name: Galanthus nivalis
Common name: Snowdrop
Type of plant: Spring bulb
Soil preference: No soil preference
Hardiness: Hardy
Flower colour: White
Height and spread: 15cm x 8cm (6in x 3in)
Description: Early spring bulbs with nodding white, bell-shaped flowers.
Design tips: Plant it in groups to form carpets under shrubs or trees; the leaves remain green for a long time and make low, attractive ground cover. A good leave-alone bulb.
Liriope muscariLatin name: Liriope muscari
Common name: Lily turf
Type of plant: Evergreen perennial
Soil preference: Lime free
Hardiness: Hardy
Flower colour: Violet
Height and spread: 30cm x 45cm (1ft x 1.5ft)
Description: Clump-forming evergreen with grassy leaves and spikes of lilac ‘pipe cleaner’ flowers from late summer to late autumn.
Design tips: It contrasts well with shrubs and conifers, and complements grasses. Grow it in the sun or shade and leave it undisturbed.
Bergenia 'Bressingham White'Latin name: Bergenia ‘Bressingham White’
Common name: Elephant’s ears
Type of plant: Evergreen perennial
Soil preference: No soil preference
Hardiness: Hardy
Flower colour: White
Height and spread: 30cm x 45cm (1ft x 1.5ft)
Description: It has large, round, glossy evergreen leaves that spread to form ground-covering carpets, with late winter and early spring flowers.
Design tips: Naturalise it in clumps under trees and shrubs or between conifers; it goes well with grasses.
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7. No time garden

Introduction
Garden audit
Low-maintenance plants
Top ten plants
Hedges and fences
Time-saving tips

Highlights
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