Containers filled with your favourite coloured flowering plants can bring so much joy to you, and to the bees and butterflies in your garden.
Beautifully scented plants are always top of my list. The dwarf, compact, lavender cultivars, known as Lavandula angustifolia, are such lovely options for containers in a sunny spot, where their calming, soothing fragrance can be welcomed and enjoyed by all. Lavandula angustifolia ‘Lavenite Petite’ has a naturally compact habit and produces purple flowers, which grow up to 35cm (15 inches) in height. Lavandula angustifolia ’Purity’ is a smidgen taller, growing up to 40cm tall, producing white flowers that are less grey toned than many of the white lavenders currently available. Lavandula angustifolia ‘Little Lottie = Clarmo’, grows up to 40cm tall and produces quite charming pink flowers. Other options are available: Lavandula angustifolia ‘Miss Muffet = Scholmis’, L. angustifolia ‘Loddon Blue’, and L. angustifolia ‘Peter Pan’, to name a few.
Heliotropes make fantastic container plants, their flowers are a beautiful shade of deep purple, they produce the most delicious fragrance, it’s warm and sweet like a cherry pie. Sarah Raven stocks Heliotropium arborescens ‘Midnight Sky’. Alternatively look for plants at your local nursery.
Pelargoniums, erroneously known as Geraniums, grow fantastically well in containers where they will flower all summer long. These floriferous plants are widely available in a variety of different forms and flower colours. Pelargoniums are very accommodating; these plants grow well even if you forget to water on occasion.
Scented leaved Pelargoniums have aromatic foliage; if their leaves are rubbed or crushed their fragrance is released. Some cultivars can be rather pungent! Their fragrant leaves can be used in potpourri or to add flavour to culinary dishes. Pelargonium ‘Sweet Mimosa’ features larger than usual flowers, in a pretty pale pink colour, touched with a darker shade of plum, and produces leaves that emit a rose scent, as does the widely known Pelargonium ‘Attar of Roses’, which has gentle pink coloured flowers. Pelargonium ‘Lavender Lindy’ produces lavender scented leaves and vibrant purple-pink flowers.
There’s no prizes for guessing the scent produced by Pelargonium ‘Prince of Orange’! This very beautiful cultivar features many white flowers, which are brushed with pink, and purple markings. Pelargonium ‘Islington Peppermint’ produces flowers which feature upper petals of the darkest maroon and contrasting white lower petals. Many other scented leaved Pelargoniums are available. If you’re interested in buying Pelargoniums, Fibrex Nurseries are specialist Pelargonium growers with an online store.
I love the irrepressible cheer that sunflowers bring to the garden. Dwarf sunflowers are ideal for containers, but make haste and sow your seeds now to give your plants sufficient time to grow, flower, and set seed before the frosts arrive. Helianthus annuus ‘Choco Sun’ and Helianthus annuus ‘Irish Eyes’ are two of my favourite dwarf sunflowers for containers.
Seeds of forget-me-nots can be sown now, either in containers or directly in the soil, where they will flower next springtime. Chiltern Seeds offer some lovely varieties, including Myosotis sylvatica ‘Snowsylva’ a floriferous white flowered forget-me-not, there’s also Myosotis sylvatica ‘Rosylva’ a pink form, and the blue flowered Myosotis sylvatica ‘Bluesylva’ available in this special forget-me-not series.
All of the plants I have recommended here will thrive in Peat Free Compost. To ensure your plants grow and perform well, it’s important to use good quality compost. Dalefoot Composts came top in my 2016 Peat Free Compost Trial. Dalefoot Composts are made from natural ingredients including sheep’s wool, which is absorbent, thus creating moisture retentive compost that doesn’t require watering as often.
This article was first published in the June 2017 edition of Vantage Point Magazine.
Other articles that may interest you……..
If you’re interested in growing Pelargoniums and Geraniums, you might like to visit the Pelargonium and Geranium Society’s website, to do so, please click here.
To see the results of my Slug and Snail Trial and discover the most effective methods to protect your plants from slugs and snails, please click here.
To read my 2016 Peat Free Compost Trial, please click here.
To read about more plants that grow well in containers and are attractive to butterflies and bees, please click here.
To read more about planting containers, please click here.
For information about beautiful, edible plants, please click here.
To read about the Rose of the Year Competition at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2016, please click here.