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Here, we discuss the best flowers to plant that will keep your garden in bloom all year round – making it easy for you to plan an ‘always in flower’ garden. In a hurry? Use the links below to jump through each season:
Ever been sitting on your patio admiring your beautiful blooms and brilliant borders as you sip on a crisp white wine soaking up the summer sun? The warmer months are when your garden is usually at its peak, with loads of luscious colour and vibrancy. But wouldn’t it be great if our gardens looked stunning the entire year?
A visual floral treat, all year-round
These days with living space being at a premium, the increase in property prices and loads of us working from home, many people make the most of their homes and living spaces by appreciating and optimising their outdoor spaces. A garden that is just as inviting in the colder months as the warmer ones maximises the value of your available space – creating a welcoming and hospitable area even when the mercury plummets.
But with the changes in seasons and rapid temperature differences, many plants start to lose their vibrancy, stop blooming or become a bit straggly and unappealing. However, plenty of plants offer year-round appeal, giving you even more opportunities to fall in love with your garden. Rhino Greenhouses Direct has compiled a list of our top 3 plants that are a visual treat year-round, ensuring your garden looks sensational from spring through to winter.
These plants are not only easy on the eye, but they’re also easy to care for and well-suited to the UK climate, which can be a tad demanding sometimes. At Rhino Greenhouses Direct, we have a range of fabulous accessories such as free-standing and specialist staging to storage, rainwater collection and greenhouse shading – all geared towards making gardening effortless and enjoyable. Each plant in this list will provide a pleasing visual focal point and won’t require too much maintenance – that’s a winning combo in our book!
Great for bloom during spring and summer: Fabulous Foxgloves
The foxglove is, without doubt, a quintessential English flower, conjuring up images of bucolic Beatrix Potter-like scenes. Besides ensuring your garden is a medley of colour, it’s also extremely rewarding to incorporate plants such as foxgloves that attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.
Although they flower in the spring and summer, we’ve included them in this list because of their sheer popularity and the fact that they’re surprisingly hardy – which means a bit of bad British weather won’t bother them in the least! They’re rated H5 on the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) hardiness scale – which means they’ll not only bring an undeniable aesthetic to your garden – they’ll stick around for a few years if you treat them well.
The Foxglove or Digitalis purpurea is hardy to minus 10-15°C. We recommend the Camelot Rose variety for its stunning purple hue and gorgeous bell-shaped flowers.
You can start foxglove seeds in pots or seed flats indoors or in a greenhouse, such as the 6ft x 8ft Tuscan Olive Greenhouse from our Classic Greenhouses range in late autumn, winter or early spring. When choosing seed containers, select ones with drainage holes in the bottom and use seed-starting compost or a soilless seed-starter mix instead of garden soil. Surface sow the seeds by placing them on top of the soil about 1 inch apart. Cultivating foxgloves in pots requires the seeds to germinate in bright, indirect light.
When it comes to growing conditions, foxgloves thrive in part shade. They can tolerate any aspect and aren’t fussy in terms of exposure. Try to find a spot with sandy or loamy soil, ensuring it drains well and avoiding alkaline soil where possible. These pretty and highly rewarding plants can reach impressive heights of around 1 to 1.5 metres, with a spread of roughly half a metre.
Great for changing colours throughout the year: Fruit trees
Look no further than fruit trees for plants that pack a versatile and vibrant punch. Apple and pear trees are amazing all-rounders in the garden. They produce magnificent blossoms in spring, followed by pretty fruits in summer and a myriad of magical shades of changing leaf colours in autumn. Even in winter, they add a comforting, nostalgic appeal to any garden.
A big plus is if you look after them properly and ensure they remain pest free, you’ll be rewarded with a crop of juicy apples and plump pears! If you're short on space, grow them as espaliers or step-overs and underplant with early spring bulbs such as narcissus or crocus.
Choose fruit tree varieties best suited to resisting your area's common pests and diseases and those most inclined to flourish in your region’s climate. Another important decision is how many fruit trees you have the space for or the time to tend to. Both apple and pear trees occur in cross-pollinating and self-pollinating varieties. So, if you decide on cross-pollinating, you'll require at least two of the same trees to produce fruit. Prune them properly to remove damaged, diseased, and dead wood every year and improve disease resistance, airflow and fruiting.
A fun project to undertake in your greenhouse, such as the Rhino Classic 6ft x 8ft Tuscan Olive from our versatile range of greenhouses, is propagating dwarf fruit trees. These ornamental plants are the result of grafting. You can plant dwarf apple trees in pots and keep them in a greenhouse during winter. Hasten the blossoming by moving apple trees from the outdoors into your greenhouse.
Our favourite winter brightener: Witch hazel
This underrated but extremely rewarding plant features in many skin treatments. Long used in traditional medicine, witch hazel is applied topically to treat certain skin conditions, as it contains tannins, a natural compound with astringent effects.
Witch hazel, such as Hamamelis x intermedia Aphrodite, is a popular choice for the winter garden. Forming large shrubs or small trees, they come into their own in late winter and early spring, when they burst into bloom with beautifully scented ribbon-like, flame-coloured flowers which magically appear on bare branches.
Some cultivars also have stunning autumn leaf colour, and their stems are perfect for bringing indoors for an attractive cut flower display. Although they have a reputation for being slightly finicky to grow, they'll thrive if you get the soil conditions correct.
When it comes to tending witch hazel, choose a spot that will have some winter sun and isn’t in too much shade; otherwise, the plant will become leggy and won’t flower as well. A site near a doorway or path will allow you to appreciate the delicate scent during the winter. Plant your witch hazel in a large pot if you don't have neutral-to-acid soil.
So, there you have it – how to keep your garden looking bloomin’ marvellous the entire year round.