Stewarts' Choice Plants For June

Our tubs and hanging baskets are planted and starting to look really established so time to take a look at a few special treats to add to the summer garden. Stewart has been busy checking for gems that will enhance any planting scheme so here’s a few. There are a lot more to follow through the summer months.

Hardy perennial Pinks are delightful little evergreens that require very little maintenance. They are very suitable for our local alkaline clay soil at the front of a sunny border where they will flower endlessly from spring until autumn. The single or double flowers are loved by the pollinating insects in an amazing array of colour combinations with a distinct sweet clove scent. A vase of these flowers will perfume the entire house. Remove the flowers as they fade to promote continual flowering and feed with tomato food.

Stewart’s Choice is Dianthus Tequila Sunrise a compact variety with fantastically perfumed single soft orange pink flowers with buff centres and deep pink markings. It is excellent to grow in pots or window boxes and Dianthus Coconut Sundae a smaller variety with silvery green leaves and short stems. The double very perfumed pure white flowers have claret red centres. Both varieties are excellent

Osteospermums or the Cape Daisies have long lasting colourful blooms through the summer and into autumn. Some varieties are hardy enough to survive a British winter but should generally be treated as tender perennials like Geraniums. They are great container plants for a sunny patio and should be planted in John Innes Compost Number 2 or 3 with some grit added for free drainage. There is a great choice of varieties and colours the hardiest being the white or pink flower varieties. Feed with tomato food weekly and remove fading flowers to promote fresh buds.

Stewart’s choices are Oesteospermum Stardust which is upright with purple pink single daisy flowers and yellow centres. The flowers last a long time attracting butterflies and bees. Oesteospermum Lady Leitrim is a large single daisy with pink mauve tones on white. It is easy to care for and will survive most winters. Cut them back a bit in late autumn and again in March before the new growth appears when flowering sometimes starts as early as April and does not stop until November.

Hardy Fuchsias are another very long flowering sub shrub in an amazing range of colours from white pink red blue mauve and purple. They vary in size from Fuchsia Tom Thumb and Lady Thumb at 30cms, to grow in tubs, to Fuchsia Riccotonii with small purple and deep pink flowers at 1.2m for a shrub border. Fuchsias are ideal plants for shady places with compost enriched soil.

Stewart’s Choice is Lady Thumb a little gem which forms a neat and bushy mound laden with pink and white flowers from June to October. Perfect to grow it in pots on a shady patio it is one of the hardier fuchsias. Protect the roots with a generous layer of mulch in autumn or move potted plants to a sheltered position in the garden during the worst of the winter weather. Fuchsia Dollar Princess is Stewart’s second choice, a bushy variety with lots of ruffled double purple flowers with contrasting cerise pink sepals from summer into autumn. It holds an RHS award for its excellent garden performance. A lovely compact specimen for a patio container or planted at the front of mixed borders.

Stewart’s final choices are within the Dahlias which are tender herbaceous perennials that range in height from 20cms to 1.8m tall. They are sun loving plants that need lots of water, rich soil and feed but reward us by flowering nonstop from June to the first frost often now in December. The larger varieties all need support. The flowers are an amazing array of colour and form from tight pom poms to dinner plate size blooms and some with coloured foliage. A must exhibit for the Horticultural Show.

Stewart’s choices are Dahlia Amazone a stunning plant only 60cms tall with masses of pink to red flowers held high above its compact foliage. Excellent for the front of a sunny border or in pots the flowers just keep on coming from summer right through to the autumn frosts. Dahlia Bishop of York is a rare hardy Dahlia with very dark foliage that is a perfect foil to the bright yellow flowers. A late source of pollen for the bees.