Now is the perfect time of year to enhance the garden with some colour, and what better way to brighten up your green space than with beautiful British summer flowers. We give you our top ten picks for the season and offer some valuable horticultural advice to bring the classic English country garden effect into full bloom.
With abundant layers of petals that open into luxuriant, round blooms, peonies are a timeless addition to any British summer bed. Pick a sunny, sheltered spot in well-drained soil, take care not to plant too deep, and note that they prefer not to be moved once established. Peonies will reward you with lush, long-lasting blooms from springtime right through summer.
Modest and decidedly delicate, cornflowers, also known as bachelor’s buttons, add a rustic charm to any garden. Requiring very little looking after, cornflowers will re-seed year after year with minimum effort. Plant in a sunny spot and take a little time to deadhead your cornflowers throughout the summer to be rewarded with their beautiful blue hue and soft, thistle-like appearance.
The quintessential British summer flower, the English garden rose is exquisite to look at and famously is often headily scented too. With so many varieties to choose from, you’ll be tempted to fill your entire garden with these romantic and revered flowers. Most roses can be grown in pots, making them versatile too. Water roses regularly, and don’t be afraid to prune them during summer to encourage new growth.
Charming, pretty and sweet, sweet peas certainly live up to their name. A cottage garden staple and a popular addition to every summer border, they work particularly well with a trellis or arch. With a little effort in picking the right spot – cool and moist soil, with enough sun – sweet peas will thrive in summertime in most British gardens.
With their delicate petals and abundant blooms, begonias are particularly attractive in hanging baskets and pots. The added advantage of planting them this way is that they can be moved to a warmer spot over the winter months, when they must be protected from frost. Plant begonias in partial shade and water regularly, taking care to avoid getting their delicate petals wet.
One of the most popular additions to summer beds, sun-loving busy Lizzies have heaps of character and are low-maintenance. Keep them indoors on a sunny windowsill during winter, since they dislike frost. Well-drained soil, weekly feed and a little shade should keep your busy lizzies happy and provide you with plenty of bright, beautiful blooms.
Often seen as the quintessential Mediterranean flower, geraniums have in fact enjoyed a place in British summer gardens for many years. Easy to grow from cuttings, available in a gorgeous array of colours and with plentiful blooms, grow your geraniums in well-drained soil and allow them plenty of sunlight.
Whether pink, blue, white, red, purple or a heady mix, lobelias provide a cloud of colour in any summer flowerbed. Plant in very rich soil and in a place where they will see a little afternoon shade. Lobelias like to be watered regularly. Providing them with a mulch cover over winter will serve them very well. A beautiful flower that comes in a variety of shapes and shades, lobelia is an excellent choice for the garden.
Pretty and delicate, the demure-looking pansy is beloved by children and adults alike. Choose a hardy variety, plant them good and early and enjoy their delicate flower ‘faces’ from spring right through summer. Pansies look beautiful in a mixed flowerbed, providing a colourful carpet for taller, showier blooms.
For some gardeners, no English garden would be complete without the foxglove. Their unique shape and impressive height means they work wonderfully against walls and fences, or in the centre of a mixed bed. They like rich soil, a sunny spot that’s not too hot, and may require some support in the form of a cane or wire if they grow very tall. Foxgloves flower in midsummer.
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