Where do I start?
Just like people, some plants love sun more than others. So to get
the best from the sunny spots in your garden, choose your plants carefully.
Many plants that love the sun often have thick, silvery coloured leaves
with little hairs that act as insulation.
Numerous flowers are well-suited to a dry, sunny site, giving you the
opportunity to create all kinds of dazzling displays. And don't forget
to select a few varieties that release scent for those warm, summer evenings!
Whichever plants you choose, making the most of your sunny spots is easy
and needn't take long.
Preparation time 30 minutes
Which plants to buy
It's not hard to create the right conditions, although obviously it will
take a little longer to prepare the ground for a large bed than a small
spot. Ideally, soil should be around two inches deep and loosely packed
for plant roots to penetrate.
Weed thoroughly. Using a hoe saves time and effort.
Dig over with a fork, if your soil feels heavy, it's especially important
to loosen it up before planting.
To help retain moisture and improve heavy soils, add plenty of organic
material, such as well-rotted manure, garden compost or planting compost,
all available from your Garden Centre or Nursery.
The addition of water-retaining gel granules will help retain moisture.
All you need to do is choose a good mixture of shrubs, herbaceous perennials
(plants that usually die back in winter and grow again the following year)
and bedding plants. Lavenders are perfect for sunny, dry conditions. Oriental
poppies add a dash of colour and annual bedding plants such as Begonias,
Lobelias and Alyssum are great for the front of a flowerbed. It's especially
easy (not to mention cost effective) to grow plants from seed on a sunny
To help you locate the plants easily at your Garden Centre or Nursery,
the Latin names have been given first, followed by the common name.
Any of the following should flourish in moist soils in full sun:
How to plant them
Rosa Golden Showers. Climbing Rose. Fragrant golden yellow flowers
all summer. Lovely glossy green foliage. 3m x 2.5m (10' x 8')
Lavatera 'Barnsley' (Mallow). SHrub. Silver-pink flower spikes all
summer. Pale evergreen foliage. 1.75m (5').
Cistus x purpureus (RockRose). Shrub. Bright rose-pink flowers during
summer with evergreen foliage. 1.5m (4').
Allium giganteum (Ornamental Onion). Bulb. Purple globes during
summer followed by seed heads that can be cut and dried. 1.5m (4').
Penstemon varieties. Herbaceous perennial. Wonderful plants flowering
all summer in a wide range of colours. Evergreen if sheltered. 20-60cm
Dianthus (Pink). Border plant. Pink, red or white flowers during
summer with silver-green leaves. 25-45cm (10-18").
Helianthemum varieties (Rock Rose). Wide variety of colours available.
Evergreen. 10-20cm (4-8").
Lavandula angustifolia. 'Hidcote' (Lavender). Shrub. Deep blue spikes
of flowers ideal for drying, silver-green aromatic foliage. 45cm (18").
Euphorbia characias (Spurge). Herbaceous perennial. Elegant spikes
of lime green flowers and evergreen foliage. Poisonous. 1.5m (4').
Planting time 30 minutes
Bedding plants (plants that last one season)
Consider how tall the plants will grow - you don't want tall plants swamping
Think about flowering times and the colour and shape of leaves. Aim to
create colour and texture throughout the year and throughout your site.
Do not plant when soil is very dry, waterlogged or frozen.
Water plants thoroughly before and after planting. Make sure they don't
After planting, sprinkle a general fertilizer such as Growmore or bonemeal
lightly around the plants and water again thoroughly.
Shrubs and perennials (plants that last more than
Dig a hole bigger than the roots of the plant and water the hole. Tap the
plant out of its pot or tray, disturbing as little as possible. Gently
push into the hole, firming the soil around it.
Plant just below the depth the plant was grown in its original container.
Plant so they will just touch each other when fully grown. A rule of thumb
is plant shorter types 10-15cm (4-6") apart, and taller varieties 20-30cm
Prepare a planting hole before you take a plant out of its pot. Dig the
hole about twice the size of the pot and fork over the bottom.
tap the plant out of its pot and tease out a few of the roots.
Place it in the hole, ensuring that the top of the roots are just below
Fill in the surrounding hole, firm in the soil and water.
Cover the surface of the soil with about 5cm (2") of bark, cocoa shells,
gravel or compost to help retain moisture.
Planting bedding plants close together will minimise
Spreading compost, cocoa shell, bark or even gravel
or the soil around the plants will help to keep roots and soil cool and
moist and prevent weed growth.
Soil is easiest to dig in the autumn, so put a date
in your diary to prepare your bed for next year now! Instead of digging
in compost, or manure, you can spread it evenly over the soil. Winter temperatures
will break it down naturally and allow worms to incorporate it into your
(for flowers that last for more than one season)
Looking after your plants
If you want flowers in spring, plant bulbs in autumn. For summer flowers,
plant bulbs in spring.
Plant several bulbs at a depth three to five times their height in one
large hole to save time, ensuring they do not touch.
In wet soil, a handful of grit in the bottom of the hole will improve drainage;
in dry soil, a layer of compost or bulb fibre will help retain moisture.
Your sunny spot in winter
Water your plants regularly during the first year, ensuring they don't
dry out. It's better to water thoroughly from time to time, rather than
little and often. Avoid the heat of the day.
Sprinkle soil with fertilizer each spring.
What you'll need
Create winter color with evergreens such as Lavender, Bay and Rosemary
and bedding plants such as Polyanthus, Primroses and Winter Pansies.
||Watering can or Hose
Planting compost or well rotted manure (cocoa shells, gravel or bark)
Water retaining gel granules (optional)
Binomial when planting in autumn or winter and Grower during spring
Plants that love sun
You'll find Latin names help you locate the plants at your Garden Center
or Nursery. Here are just a few to choose from:
Anthems varieties. Herbaceous perennial.
Aster novae-angliae varieties (Michael's Daisy). Herbaceous perennial.
Aubrieta varieties. Border plant.
Caryopteris x clandonensis. Shrub.
Fritillary imperials (Crown Imperial). Bulb.
Genets lied (Broom). Shrub.
Herbs - many varieties
Potential fruticosa varieties. Shrub.
Santolina chamaecyparissus (Cotton Lavender). Shrub.
Visit The Horticultural Trades Association Web site at www.martex.co.uk/hta
| Top of Page