Top tips from Coolings’ very own plant doctor Mark Reeve
A question I get asked at the garden centre quite often is “what plants can I grow in a damp area at the end of my garden?” To borrow a phrase from a certain television baking programme, ‘it’s got a soggy bottom!’
The answer is, quite a lot really. I have selected a few of my favourites that are worth growing. Most will tolerate very wet conditions through the winter (which we now seem to be getting more and more frequently). The only proviso is that, if the ground dries out in summer you must occasionally give them some extra water.
Choose the coloured stemmed varieties of Cornus alba and stolonifera such as Sibirica, Flaviramea and Kesselringii. Prune hard once a year in March.
SALIX INTEGRA ‘HAKURO-NISHIKI’ (Japanese willow)
Pretty pink and cream variegated leaves. Some shade preferred.
Great ground cover even in the shade. Attractive speckled leaves. Flowers in shades of blue, red or white.
HOSTA (Plantain lily)
Another brilliant plant for a shady damp spot. An amazing variety of leaf size and variegation in this group of plants.
Do you have a sunny area that you wish you could fill with labour saving/ground covering and attractive plants? I think I have the solution for you in the way of alpines. They only require a well-drained soil and the minimum of care once established. I have narrowed down the list to six ‘must have’ plants.
Lovely grey foliage as a foil to white flowers in June.
PHLOX SUBULATA (Creeping phlox)
Forms a carpet of flowers from late spring onwards. Colours range from pink, red, white or blue.
Flowers are mostly either pink or white. Flowers from spring onwards.
Available in a fantastic array of leaf colour including stunning varieties that have webbing on the leaves like a spider’s web.
ARABIS FERDINANDI-COBURGII ‘VARIEGATA’ (Wall cress)
Very attractive variegated leaves with white flowers from April to June.
Pretty pink flowers from summer to autumn.