Hello, I’m Andy, the Head Gardener here at Haddonstone in Northamptonshire. I’ve been a professional landscaper for over 20 years and I joined Haddonstone two years ago, where I’m responsible for keeping the Show Gardens in tiptop condition for our many visitors and customers.
Here is my second blog with tips and advice on gardening throughout the changing seasons, planting advice and recommendations for ensuring your Haddonstone planters and garden ornaments look fantastic all year long.
The Crucible range
Haddonstone launched the new Crucible range a few months ago and I’m really pleased that the planters and fountains are here in our Northamptonshire Show Gardens. The Crucible range includes a selection of three self-circulating fountains and four planters in a range of sizes and colours, so they’re perfect for grouping together as well as taking pride of place in a garden or on a patio.
The design of the Crucible range is quite minimalist and contemporary which I personally really like, however this did give me a bit of challenge to ensure they ‘work’ in our Show Gardens, which is in a traditional English garden setting!
Despite this, I really think that with a little bit of imagination and because the range is so simple and stylish, the planters and fountains will work in any style garden or landscape.
Whilst our Show Gardens don’t have a typically ‘contemporary’ area, I wanted to see if I could choose a range of plants that would work with this new range.
Here’s how I got on…
Summer planting ideas
I decided to group three varying sized planters together in our courtyard and to set them against a beautiful red brick wall which is covered with mature Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus henryana). I think this contrasts so well against the modern-looking planters. There is also an attractive stable yard door to the side of the planters which again I think adds a bit of interest.
I’ve chosen a variety of plants with contrasting styles, coloured flowers and foliage, which I think helps to bring a lot of interest. I’ve also chosen plants which enjoy being contained in a planter, rather than growing in the ground and which grow really well in the UK climate.
Large Crucible Planter: Acer and Dianthus Capitan Marco
I really like Japanese maples – they are stunning deciduous trees that are ideal for smaller gardens. In autumn the Acer turns from deep red to a more flame like orange before losing its leaves to reveal its striking structure, giving this tree its layered appearance throughout the summer months. They also thrive when contained in a large pot so the Large Crucible Planter is ideal for this Acer palmatum ‘Atropurpureum’. The roots have plenty of room to grow and it can be easily moved to another part of the garden after the autumn when its leaves have dropped. This Acer is already quite tall and it looks so magnificent planted in such a tall planter. If you are planning to grow an Acer, remember that they grow best in ericaceous soil.
The deep red of this variety is so attractive against the orange terracotta of the planter and to add even more interest I have planted some pink Dianthus Capitan Marco at the base to add colour, texture and varying height. I love this hardy perennial, it’s part of the carnation family and is grown widely in the UK. It’s so easy to grow as bedding anywhere in the garden and is so colourful and fragrant.
Small Crucible Planter: Agapanthus
For the Small Crucible Planter I’ve chosen to group three of my favourite agapanthus plants together to add height and colour. The vibrant green leaves and blue trumpet-like flowers contrast so well against the other plants and are really stunning in the Portland colour of this planter.
Agapanthus, or African Lilly, flower from mid-summer to early autumn and are great for adding structure and height to either a border or a planter, like this. They provide endless colour with their bright green stems and leaves – as one colourful flower dies off, another will grow in its place.
If you are planning to plant agapanthus in your garden I’d recommend planting them during the spring and in a very sunny spot. They do prefer lighter soil but if the soil is heavier then I would recommend mixing some grit in with the soil to help with drainage.
Medium Crucible Planter: Margherita (two varieties)
With the Medium Crucible Planter I’ve chosen two varieties of margarita plant – the Marguerite ‘Giga White’and Marguerite Madeira Pink Daisy to add contrasting colour texture.
What I love about planting them in this way is how the flowers cascade over the sides of the planter and create attractive shadows.
Margarita plants are really great annual options for borders and containers as they’ll provide plenty of coverage and colour throughout the spring and summer, right up until the first frost. What’s more, the more you deadhead the flowers, the more they will grow. So you’ll have a constant supply of flowers that can be cut for flower displays.
As with all the other plants, they are better contained in pots so the energy is kept in the flowers, rather than going down into the roots. My recommendation would be to enjoy them during the warmer months and then replace them with another plant once they have gone over.
A final word on planting during the summer
My top tips for planting during the summer and ensuring your plants stay healthy all summer long.
Happy gardening and I will see you next time!
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