Choosing the right plants to make your garden look good all year round
The most successful gardens have planting schemes which provide interest throughout all the seasons of the year.
Unfortunately, no plant is at its peak for all twelve months, so its impact in a planting scheme will alter as the year progresses. A tree that is spectacular in spring, when covered in blossom, may fade into the background during the rest of the year - but if it has colourful bark or colours up in the autumn, it can extend the season of interest. A good example of this is Prunus serrula, which has blossom in spring, and amazing, glowing mahogany-coloured bark throughout the year. In winter, it looks stunning. Similarly, Prunus sargentii provides blossom in spring and has fantastic coloured foliage in autumn.
The appearance of borders will therefore change with the seasons. When choosing plants, take into account seasonal variations and ensure that each planting scheme contains dual-purpose plants that perform at different times of the year. dual perpose plants:
SOME DUAL PURPOSE PLANTS
Prunus serrula - spring blossom and fantastic, shiny, mahogany-coloured bark throughout the year
Prunus sargentii - pale pink blossom in spring and fiery autumn leaf colour
Sorbus aucuparia - white flowers in spring, good autumn leaf colour and red berries
Malus 'Red Sentinel' - pretty white flowers, tinged pink, in spring and loads of glossy, round crab apples that look like little cherry tomatoes throughout winter.
Cornus kousa - beautiful, white flower bracts in early summer and crimson-purple leaves in autumn
Amelanchier lamarkii - star-shaped, white blossom in spring and great autumn leaf colour
Ceratostigma willmottianum - striking blue flowers starting in late summer. In autumn the flowers continue and the leaves turn a russet- red colour
Cornus controversa 'Variegata' - aptly named 'the wedding-cake tree' because of its shape formed by tiers of white-variegated leaves which turn reddish purple in autumn. in June it's festooned with clusters of white flowers. Great as a focal point
Cornus alba 'Elegantissima' - white-variegated foliage in summer and amazing red stems in winter
Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple' - commonly known as the smoke bush because of its hazy clouds of fluffy pinky-purple flowers in summer and rich red-purple leaves which turn scarlet in autumn.
Cotinus coggygria 'Grace' - similar to Cotinus 'Royal Purple' but with larger green, purple-tinged leaves which fire up into shades of oranges and red in autumn.
Cotinus obovatus - wonderful clouds of smoky, hazy flowers in summer, followed by fiery oranges and red-coloured leaves in autumn
Viburnum plicatum 'Mariesii' - white lace-cap flowers in late spring and red-purple leaves in autumn. It's branches are set in horizontal tiers which give it a wonderful shape. Great structural or specimen shrub