It's Easter bank holiday weekend, and, it's safe to say, it finally feels like spring! Daffodils, Tulips and Hyacinths are in full bloom as we await the arrival of Bluebells. What better way to celebrate Easter and the beginning of spring than a weekend spent in the garden.
To many gardeners, April is the time to prep our greenhouses, vegetable patches and lawns, so they’re looking their best for the height of the gardening season.
It’s also a great time to start thinking about what to plant for show-stopping summer blooms. If you are struggling with what to plant this month, I've chosen some of my favourite plants and shrubs for some of the best and most vibrant blooms this summer.
1. Hebe 'Red Edge'
Hebe is a shrub grown for its pretty and attractive-coloured foliage. In the case of Hebe 'Red Edge', the grey-green foliage has a distinctive purple-red border, with its new growth tinted a beautiful lilac colour. Hebes are small to moderate-sized shrubs, which grow tidily, requiring little maintenance.
In the garden, Hebe grows best in sheltered areas that receive full sunlight, but plants will also grow sufficiently in partial shade. In shaded areas, ensure soil is well-drained. They’re fairly hardy, so they can tolerate frosts, making them a great shrub for colder, more exposed gardens.
Hebe is extremely versatile, looking great grown as a part of a mixed border, but can also be used as a ground cover plant or as hedges! They can also thrive in containers, so they are a great choice as patio and balcony plants.
Benefits to wildlife
In the summer, they produce elongate spikes of purple and white flowers. The flowers are rich in nectar and will attract many species of bees and hoverflies.
Find other Hebe plants in the online Garden Beauty shop:
2. Jasminum polyanthum
Jasmine is a climbing deciduous shrub possessing fragrant flowers. Jasminum polyanthum, or Many-flowered Jasmine, looks beautiful when trained to grow on a trellis, fence, or tree trunk.
It’s a low maintenance plant, only requiring one prune a year. So if you’re a beginner gardener or prefer not to get too sweaty, climbing plants like Jasmine are an excellent choice.
Jasmine plants are best for gardens receiving sun throughout the day, but they can survive in shaded areas with good soil drainage.
Benefits to wildlife
The flowers produced by Jasmine are rich in nectar, attracting a variety of moths in the evening. Climbing plants also provide great habitat space for garden wildlife and produce seeds, which garden birds enjoy.
Jasmine climbers are quite happy when grown with other climbing plants! For a fun, vibrant display, combine Jasmine with other flowering shrubs, like Roses, Passion Flower, and Clematis.
Where to buy Jasmine plants
Browse more beautiful climbing plants in the Tynings Climbers online shop:
3. Canna Lily
Canna Lillies originate from Asia and North and South America, where they’re an essential nectar resource for bats, hummingbirds and moths. In UK gardens, they’re a popular choice of flowering plant for summer bedding or flower borders. They also look lovely when grown in pots and containers, making them good choices for small outside spaces, like patios and balconies!
Care wise; these plants prefer not to be outside when the temperature begins to drop in late autumn. Canna Lilies are sensitive to frosts, so they should be kept indoors over winter.
In the spring, Canna Lily plants should be grown in an area receiving full sun, where possible; and now is the perfect time to plant them!
In the summer, they produce spectacular red, orange and yellow, tubular flowers. They look beautiful when grown alongside Rudbeckias and natural grasses, like Spear Grass.
Where to buy Canna Lilies
4. Ornamental Kiwi
Ornamental Kiwi is another plant you can train to climb around poles, wires or garden trellises. Although Ornamental Kiwi produces dainty, white flowers in spring and summer, it’s more widely grown for its showy leaves, which are ovate with silver-white tips. Later in the year, the leaves truly put on a show, with silver and the white colours turning bright pink!
Ornamental Kiwi is best grown in full sun, looking stunning on a south-facing garden wall or fence. They grow best in gardens where the soil is neutral or slightly acidic, providing there is sufficient drainage. Unfortunately, Ornamental Kiwi is vulnerable to frosts, so they will need to be planted somewhere sheltered.
Ornamental Kiwi produces delicious, small kiwi fruits, which ripen during July and August. Please note, if you’d like to grow this plant for its fruits, then it’s recommended to buy both a female and male cultivar to enable cross-pollination.
Growing these plants next to potted herbs and fruit trees will attract more pollinating insects, meaning larger quantities of fruits being produced!
Where to buy Ornamental Kiwi
5. Cosmos ‘Cupcake Blush’
My last plant for beautiful summer blooms is Cosmos ‘Cupcake Blush’. Unlike other Cosmos flowers, Cosmos' petals in the Cupcake series have petals that fuse, appearing almost paper-like but much more delicate-looking!
These are a great choice if you’re new to gardening because, as with many Cosmos cultivars, they’re easy to grow! Just make sure you plant in an area of the garden which receives full sun and plants receive a light watering regularly.
Cosmos can be started off in seed trays or plugs and grown in a sunny greenhouse or windowsill if your location is colder. If your garden's location is on the warmer side, a mulch laid over the top of beds can be beneficial if you struggle to keep the soil moist.
Cosmos also have a substantial flowering period, with blooms lasting until late autumn! It’s advised to cut and deadhead flowers throughout spring and summer to prolong flowering.
These pretty flowers will look great in a border full of pastel colours, so when choosing combination plants, keep an eye out for other pale-coloured flowers. Cosmos 'Purity', 'Xanthos' and Verbena 'Purple Elegance' are perfect for introducing differing textures and heights to your container or border (and will be very popular with pollinators, too!).
Where to buy Cosmos 'Cupcake Series'
and combination plants