Here are some ideas on what to plant now for a vibrant summer garden, with the slightest of effort, minimal maintenance, and maximum effect.
It is the ideal time to plant up gardens with summer bedding plants, for glorious displays throughout the season. They are ideal for brightening up a patio, deck, balcony or just a dull spot in a border.
Choose a colour scheme that suits your business and environment, but use different varieties of plants, shapes, and sizes to give texture, contrast and structure.
1. Begonias provide continuous colour throughout the summer until the first frosts, and can be used in containers, hanging baskets and bedding schemes. They are easy to care for and all grow well in partial shade.
They are available in a variety of vivacious colours, with yellows, reds, oranges and pink tones. For a modern pub garden, choose a hot pink and integrate it with white, or if you prefer the archetypal British feel, go for red and mix with white.
2. Ornamental grasses offer both height and movement; so for the back of a border, have a look at Purple Fountain Grass. This gorgeous ornamental plant should be planted in a large clump where the flower spikes sway in the breeze. They are both striking and elegant, with deep burgundy foliage and bristly purple flowers, which are in bloom from July through to September.
For best results, plant them in sunny spots with well-drained soil and in relatively sheltered spaces. Just make a note to bring them inside later in the year when winter approaches.
3. Wallflower 'Bowles Mauve' is an absolute must for year-round mauve flowers and grey-green foliage. It is reminiscent of lavender but brighter, bolder, more versatile and less demanding. Plant in full sun where possible and enjoy its immediate and dynamic effect on your garden. They look great at the front of pots and borders and have a Provencal feel, which is exactly the kind of environment you want to be serving your summer drinks in.
4. Sweet Williams bear many-flowered, terminal, flattened heads. Flowers come in many colours from white to darkest red, often in bicolour combinations, with the darker eyes and toothed petals characteristic of pinks and carnations. They thrive in full sun and well-drained soil. Choose these if you don’t have enough bed space for lots of different plant types.
5. Foliage should also be used to break up colour, so integrate white, green or silver plants to accentuate and highlight your bedding scheme. Our recommendations would be the small and bushy Carex 'Evergold', set closer to the front of the beds, Silver Sage in the middle, and our foliage plant extraordinaire and titan of texture; Euphorbia, set further back and in amongst the taller grasses.
So now you’re all clued up on plants with instant effect, before you get going, check out our guide on How to plant summer bulbs if you also want new plants making their way up through your beds, pots and containers over the summer.