My niece is having her front garden bulldozed this weekend. The lawn is raised higher than the concrete drive which is quite dangerous for small children so the drive is going. It means she has the opportunity to completely start again with her flower borders. Many of the plants in my borders came with the house or are cuttings from friends and family: the rest I have bought or grown from seed. It hasn't been designed in any way! It is a complete mix of colour and height but I love it that way! Talking to my niece though made me think if I was starting again which plants would I use? Which are my Top Ten Perennials for my garden. Difficult!
1. Honeysuckle, clematis, ivy and roses climb the fences and form a backdrop for our garden. If I had to choose it would be the honeysuckle. I love the smell, especially on a warm summer evening. Oh, I would miss the clematis .... our neighbour's house is smothered in pink flowers every May and some has escaped over the fence to our side ... lovely! But the honeysuckle beats it in my book. The ivy is not a contender but my second choice is .....
3. Sweet peas. So easy to grow, provide cut flowers for the whole summer, smell and look gorgeous and add height to the garden when grown over willow sticks in the middle of the border. What's not to like!
5. Delphiniums. Half way through the list and nothing small so far. I have three groups of delphiniums and two trays of seeds in the greenhouse. I added some white ones last year: the dark blues are lovely but my favourite is pale blue with a lilac hue to it. I don't know what I am growing because the seed is from my flowers so it won't come true.
6. Peony roses. It doesn't matter what kind I love them all. This one is Sarah Bernhardt: it needs staking as it grows up to three feet tall. The smaller ones look great poking through other plants in the border.
8. Crocosmia. Lucifer arching over a border or a small variety arching over a path? I don't mind I like them all. Start with five bulbs and a few years later you have five clumps. I keep having to divide them and give them away. It looks great next to .....
10. So my last choice so soon! it will have to be a shrub or a bush. I think I will go with hydrangea, although Mock Orange is another firm favourite.
Well, that is my "Work Horse" list. I didn't have room for sedum which is great for autumn colour or primulas for spring or red hot pokers or aquilegia or carnations ...... thank goodness I'm not the one starting with a blank garden. I would need a lottery win to buy my wish list!