Sweet Pepper ‘Redskin’ (Capsicum annuum var. annuum (Grossum Group) F1) is a naturally dwarf sweet pepper cultivar. These diminutive looking plants produce large sized green fruit that start off green but eventually ripen to red. The Royal Horticultural Society has awarded Sweet Pepper ‘Redskin’ with an Award of Garden Merit; a coveted accolade that recognises this plants ability to perform well, given the appropriate growing conditions.
French bean ‘Red Swan’ (Phaseolus vulgaris ‘Red Swan’) is a dwarf French bean cultivar. These plants will grow up to around 30-50cm (1-1.5ft) tall. I find French bean ‘Red Swan’ plants are usually a little too tall to grow in a container without at least few stakes or supports to prevent the plants from becoming annoying and lolling all over the ground.
Turnip ‘Sweet Marble’ is an F1 hybrid turnip that produces round, white roots. This is a fast growing vegetable that produces a harvest within a couple of months of sowing. I enjoy harvesting my turnips when they’re about the size of a golf ball.
This vegetable tastes delicious, the roots can be eaten either raw (younger roots are sweeter than older turnips) or cooked.
‘Golden Sunrise’ is a tomato cultivar that produces medium-sized, golden yellow salad (these are larger than cherry tomatoes, but smaller than beefsteaks) tomatoes. This variety is best grown as a cordon (intermediate) tomato, where the plant’s sideshoots are removed and the plant is strengthened by a strong and sturdy support system. When growing these types of tomatoes, it’s important that the cordon-trained tomato plant’s sideshoots are removed at regular intervals, so the plant’s energy is channeled towards producing more tomatoes and not just new stems and leaves.
‘Black Russian’ is a beefsteak tomato cultivar. Plants perform best when trained as a cordon (also known as an intermediate) tomato; this is easily achieved, simply by regularly removing the plant’s sideshoots and training the plant up a study support system.
Given its name, it won’t surprise you to know that ‘Black Russian’ originates from Russia, where this cultivar was reportedly grown by Russian monks.
Helianthus annuus ‘Little Dorrit’ is a rather charming little sunflower that’s short in stature and very sweet. Plants grow to around 60cm (2ft) tall. Each Helianthus annuus ‘Little Dorrit’ plant produces a stout and sturdy stem that holds these stunning single flowers, with dark raised centres, encircled by a ring of golden yellow petals. The blooms are large in comparison to the demure height of the plant but they’re not over-sized.
Centaurea nigra has many common names, including Hardheads, Common Knapweed, and Lesser Knapweed. This hardy perennial can be found growing as a wildflower across Europe. Plants don’t need any special care, making these herbaceous perennials great plants to grow in containers, or as part of low-maintenance gardens, wildflower gardens, meadows or pastures.
This is a great plant for wildlife. In the UK, Centaurea nigra flowers from June until September.
Origanum onites is one of my favourite plants; its a pretty little thing with a long flowering period; plants bloom over the summer months. This is a superb plant for a wildlife garden. Origanum onites plants produce an abundance of these sweet, dainty flowers that are adored by bees, butterflies, hoverflies, and moths. Commonly known as marjoram, Origanum onites is a culinary and medicinal herb with aromatic leaves that will enhance a wide variety of culinary dishes.
Tanacetum parthenium is a useful herbaceous perennial. This is a really easy to grow, undemanding plant that flowers during the summer months. I cut my plants back heavily after their flowers fade. I usually cut my plants right back to the ground – don’t worry – this doesn’t harm the plants – they soon grow up and flower again! Plants bloom in cycles, from June until September.
Knautia macedonica is a superb garden plant, with a long flowering season. This herbaceous perennial is hardy and reliable, producing an abundance of stunning deep wine-red coloured flowers. The blooms are circular; they resemble mini rosettes and are absolutely adored by bees and butterflies! Knautia macedonica plants hold the majority of their leaves within the lower half of the plant; their tall and slender flowering stems have a branching habit, giving the plant an open appearance that allows you to easily view the plants growing behind and around it (in a similar way to Verbena bonariensis).
Erysimum ‘Bowles’s Mauve’ is a super duper perennial; it’s the ideal plant choice, if you’re looking for a floriferous perennial or a plant to encourage bees and butterflies. Plants produce neat maroon buds that open to reveal mauve flowers that fade to lilac, which are complimented by Erysimum ‘Bowles’s Mauve’s silvery glaucous foliage. Once it has started flowering, Erysimum ‘Bowles’s Mauve’ keeps going, pumping out flower after flower, throughout the spring, summer, and autumn months.
Tomato ‘Veranda Red’ is a dwarf tomato variety, that’s perfectly suited to growing in containers. This is a really small tomato variety; it’s a tomato you could grow in small planters and hanging baskets.
Miniature tomato varieties of this size tend to produce fruits that are typically lacking in flavour; they’re often very bland and tasteless. I wouldn’t put Tomato ‘Veranda Red’ on my list of best tasting tomatoes, but I can tell you that Tomato ‘Veranda Red’ has a nice tomatoey flavour.
Chilli peppers (also known as chillies, chile peppers, and by their botanical names of Capsicum annuum, Capsicum frutescens, Capsicum baccatum, Capsicum pubescens, and Capsicum chinense) are a group of tender vegetables that flourish in warm and sunny conditions. Gardeners can grow green, white, red, yellow, orange, purple, black, and indigo, coloured chillies; they’re decorative and handsome plants that are nice to have around.
Sweet Pepper plants (also known as peppers, bell peppers, Capsicums, or by their botanical name of Capsicum annuum) are tender vegetables that thrive in warm, bright areas. When all risk of frost has passed, these vegetables can be grown outside in the garden, but until then the seedlings need to be grown in a warm, protected environment. In early summertime, try growing Sweet Peppers in containers on a sunny patio or planted in a South facing border.
Melons (also known by their botanical name Cucumis melo) are tender, sweet tasting fruits that can be successfully grown from seeds, in the UK. Sow melon seeds in springtime – from March to the middle of May. If you’re too late to sow seeds (or if you don’t have access to a glasshouse), you don’t have to miss out, as young melon plants can be purchased from many nurseries and garden centres.
Aubergines (also known as Eggplant or by the plant’s botanical name, Solanum melogena) are tender plants that need warmth and bright sunshine if they’re to thrive. Sow aubergine seeds in pots of peat-free compost, inside a heated propagator or glasshouse, from January to April. Ensure your seedlings are grown in an area that enjoys bright light.
From the end of May or beginning of June, (when there is no risk of cold temperatures or frost) if you garden in a warm area, aubergine plants can be hardened off (brought out from the glasshouse during the daytime and then taken back inside again at night for a couple of weeks), before being planted outside in a warm, bright and sunny area.
Cucumbers (also known by their botanical name – Cucumis sativus) are popular vegetables that are easy to grow. Cucumber plants form climbing or trailing plants that can be left to grow horizontally over the ground or trained to grow vertically up wires, twines, or other supports.
Gardeners have a range of cucumber varieties available to purchase from nurseries, garden centres, and online.
Lettuce is a delightful vegetable to grow. Many different varieties of lettuce are available; there are green lettuces, red lettuce, purple lettuces, and bronze coloured lettuces. Some lettuces develop a rounded ball-like form of leaves as they mature, while other varieties produce upright, vertical leaves and there are also lettuces with a looser, open form. Whether you favour a crisp lettuce leaf or softer textured leaves, with such a wide choice of lettuce seeds available, you’re sure to find your favourite.
Hosta ‘You’re So Vein’ was produced from cross between a Hosta longpipes hybrid and Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’. This Hosta was a seedling developed by Tony Avent, from Plant Delights Nursery. Plants produce thick, dark green coloured leaves, with leaf stalks that are tinged with a soft, rhubarb red tone, at their base. The leaves are resilient, they stand proud, with a strong, firm stance.
Tomato ‘Purple Ukraine’ is a tomato plant that produces large sized plum tomatoes that ripen to a chocolate-burgundy colour. These tomatoes can be eaten fresh in sandwiches or salads, or cooked to produce tomato sauces, ketchup, soup, salsa, and more.
In the UK, ‘Purple Ukraine’ tomatoes need to be started off in the warmth, under cover. Sow your tomato seeds in pots or seed trays, filled with peat free compost; place your seed trays or containers inside a glasshouse or polytunnel.