The Erigeron is the original gap filler. Being a self seeder, it is able to push its way into any little nooks and crevices or can be sewn to fill in spaces and produce an abundance of beautiful tiny daisy shaped flowers.
With the ability to bloom from spring until the end of a mild November, the Erigeron is easy to grow and enjoys the full light of the summer sun in any well drained soil. This flower is perfect for gravel and rock gardens or at the front of a border that is well watered but does suffer in soil that does not drain effectively.
The hardy Erysimum or Wallflower is probably one of the most common and recognisable bedding plants in the UK today. It is ideal for plots or borders requiring early colour and makes a beautiful contribution to any cut flower arrangement.
Reaching heights of up to 60 cm, with a spread just as far, the Wallflower is ideally planted in autumn for a bright and fragrant bouquet between April and August the following year.
This plant enjoys the full effect of the sun in well drained neutral to alkaline moist soils and will benefit from mulch around its base to retain moisture and keep weeds at bay.
Though perennial varieties include the ‘Apricot delight’ and the ‘Variegatum’, most wallflowers are discarded after flowering to make room for further summer options.
Helenium (Helen’s Flower)
The Helenium is a great way of bringing back the sunshine to the garden as autumn arrives. With a unique daisy shaped flower this plant adds some much needed colour to any horticultural area.
Though hard to grow without sufficient water, heavy mulching and soil rich in organic matter will retain some much need moisture into the earth for this plant to thrive.
Happiest in a bright sunny position, Heleniums should be divided in late spring every third year to encourage new growth but those with sensitive skin should wear gloves when handling this plant as the leaves can cause aggravation. Dead heading during the flowering season will also encourage further blooms.
Wherever possible it is always best to sew sunflower seeds directly into the soil where they are to grow after the last frost of spring has finished.
Choose a spot in full or partial sun that is well drained and, though they can grow in almost any soil, the largest specimens will enjoy an almost ph neutral environment.
Toxins in the Helianthus roots make it impossible for some plants to grow nearby so take care when choosing the location.
To encourage bushier sunflowers, pinch the tops out as they grow while taller flowers must be staked for support. Though requiring a lot of water, Helianthus should only be fed sparingly to encourage the health of the flower itself.
The Rose is the UK’s most loved and most popular garden plant but needs care and attention for best results.
Choose a spot with at least six hours of sun per day and ensure regular watering and feeding, but all water must go directly onto the soil rather than splashing the leaves which can spread disease.
Use mulch generously to minimise the spread of weeds and to maintain the moisture in the soil and select varieties resistant to black spot, rust and powdery mildew for increased success.
Check plants regularly for pests and treat with summer oil, insecticidal soaps and or even water to remove any found.
Cut back in early spring to shape and encourage new growth or prune after blooming has completed before any signs of frost, any exposure to cold can create potential weakness to disease in the following season.
The Pulmonaria is an incredibly popular spring plant as it produces attractive clusters of gorgeous flowers in a range of purples, pinks and whites and combines this bouquet with beautifully bright foliage that is an asset to any garden or park.
Though happy in almost any type of soil, the inclusion of rich organic matter will encourage the best results and a spot with full sun or partial shade will encourage the plant to thrive.
Effective for creating relatively trouble-free ground cover, this plant may die back in hot, dry summers but will return once the temperature cools.
Sarcococca (Christmas Box or Sweet Box)
One of the easiest to grow and most reliable of evergreens, the Sarcococca flowers from December to March before producing bright luscious berries and emits a delicious perfume all year long.
Though the Sarcococca can grow to up to 6ft high, the deep green foliage can be trained to almost any shape and offers an ideal alternative to box edging.
Equally as happy in dry soil with either a lime or acidic base, the Sarcococca enjoys shady spots and can even thrive in the harsh rooty conditions found under the largest of trees and works well as ground cover in places where other plants will not grow.
Scilla siberica (Siberian Squill)
Native to Russia, the Siberian Squill is a hardy plant that offers a surprisingly elegant bell shaped flower in a brilliant shade of blue very early in the spring season and can even be forced to bloom by the beginning of January when cultivated from bulbs in large pots.
Preferring well drained, light soil in full or partial sun, this gorgeous little plant adds colour to the garden at a time when most are still in hibernation and is ideal for providing interest in large grass areas or around trees and tall shrubs that have yet to show their colour. With the ability to self seed into the tiniest nooks and cracks, this plant can spread without ever creating the impression of invading.
One of the most forgiving of all plants, the Sedum is easy to grow and overlooks neglect more than almost any other. This is the plant to grow when nothing else will. Any area with little water, poor soil or too much sun will be perfect for the Sedum which creates attractive ground cover in even the harshest of environments.
Though lack of care and attention will not affect this plant, over watering or over fertilising can cause it to suffer, so simple neglect is fine.
Consider the Sedum telephium (Purple Emperor) for a striking plant with dark purple foliage and tiny red star flowers to provide beautiful colour as the summer fades.