Good Gardening with Mark Curtis: June 2019

01/06/19 News
Now the temperatures are warming we can all get on and enjoy putting out some summer colour. If you don't have much of a flowerbed, or a patio or balcony, you can still make a visual impact. Try and match up your pots to help unify the effect – decide on plant colours and see if they are enhanced by your pot colour and texture. 
Work on the design plan by using three elements- a ‘thriller' to give central height and interest, a ‘filler' to compliment the main pot theme and a ‘spiller' to tumble over the edges. A Fuchsia, Cordyline, Phormium, a tall grass (Pennisetum ‘Rubrum') or Pelargonium could form the ‘thriller' element. A ‘filler' could be Nemesia, Felicia, Impatiens or Osteospermum. The ‘spiller', Calibrachoa or mini trailing Petunias, Verbena or trailing Nepeta or Dichondra ‘Silver Falls', looking effective against a black glazed pot. The choice is so large in each range, it is easy to get carried away with too much of a mix of plants. Try and stick to a choice colour range and repeat the pattern, just as you would in a border. 
If you’d rather not have the expense of using non-hardy patio plants each year, you can use hardy or perennial plants as a basis for your scheme. Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve' makes a good ‘thriller', as does the long flowering Convolvulus cneorum. With regular watering, deadheading and feeding to promote blooms, you should enjoy a stunning seasonal display through to the first frosts. That great Geranium, Rozanne, will make a good single specimen and tumble down a pot too.
As with many of the plants at the RHS Chelsea demonstrate, you can grow anything in a pot, as long as it is large enough. So for your corner of Japan add Acers and bamboos (Fargesia nitida), or the Mediterranean with a dwarf fan palm (Chaemerops humilis) and olive, or an attractive veg corner, with plants such as Rainbow chard and decorative dwarf Hestia runner beans.
Mark Curtis
Plant Manager, Tates of Sussex

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