Tag Archives: orange


If you have not been lucky enough to spend a week in the Caribbean, but love dreaming about the possibility of going there, then a couple of these wonderful plants will certainly help your imagination along the way.  


OK, they are not truly hardy in the UK, I live on the South Coast and mine pop up every year, in spite of being summarily ignored by me for most of the year. If you live more North, it’s probably best to put these in a large pot and then give them a bit of shelter in the winter, remember it is usually cold wet that kills. 


Mine have survived some pretty severe frosts, and yes it does snow south of the Watford Gap in sufficient quantities to make snowmen. However, my soil is not really waterlogged and so they survive.


When they do, you are rewarded with large tropical leaves in extremely tropical colours and flowers that seem to be built for humming birds to pop in and out of them.  I would add, that mine would look bigger bolder and more exotic if I remembered to add manure in spring (they do like a lot of food) and also if I remembered to water them more often (it rains a lot in the tropics), so mine look great but not spectacular, but I like ‘great’ and I sometimes haven’t got time to ensure they are spectacular.


Papaver or Oriental Poppies are a bit like the Oscars.


Anticipation then an over exuberance of intense activity that looks fab for a few days, then having partied hard – flop down for a rest till next year. However life would be very dull without the Oscars, and we all love a drama queen (usually), so I do think they are worth it!

Do not plant these  plants though if you have a really small garden, as being fab for 2 weeks, they don’t work hard enough all year round for a truly tiny patch, but if you have a bit of space to tuck a couple in, so that once ‘the make-up’ and glamorous dresses are off you can hide the body behind something else!

Seriously though they are quite tough plants with a deep tap root, so when mine flop over everything and look hung over, I just chop all the leaves almost to the ground and they regrow some neater ones for me!



 This one’s Royal Wedding.


Crocosmias are really good at creating spectacular displays without requiring acres of space.


They have bright fresh green sword like leaves, which means they grow up, not outwards and as they don’t have twiggy bits you won’t scratch yourself if they go all the way down the path. 


In summer you get tropical red, orange or yellow flowers held up above the leaves, so you can see all of them. 


They will spread out sideways so if they creep where you don’t want you pull up the corms (bulbs just on the surface). 


The nicest thing though is they seem to glow in the sun, and so a big ‘drift’ of them is just lovely, if you want a little more colour for more of the year, team them up with Allium bulbs, Gladioli ( there are some lovely ones out there), or plant them with loads of Verbena Bonariensis or Fennel.

Wrong tree, wrong place

This must be a real pain to mow around, low wide branches at the base that will prickle anyone who ventures near with the Flymo! The needles and shade created will eventually cause the grass to perish underneath


Wrong Tree, wrong place

Wrong Tree, wrong place

It may look lovely in December with fairy lights on it, but is it worth having the tree there all year just for those 3 weeks?  In addition, this tree can get pretty large, and it will very quickly look completely out of scale to the bungalows around.


Fab Fronts for Sun


I have decided to be a little bold with this makeover using plants from the Fab Fronts for sunny places range.


This lawn faces SE, and will be sunny for much of the day, the plants chosen will thrive in these conditions, and will require very little maintenance.


The lawn has been re-shaped into a oval, you could join the two beds together at the front corner, but I kind of liked the fact that I could wander right through.  Because this is a bungalow, I have used plants that will not grow too large and dominate the surrounding landscape.  The pennisetum used is a really tactile plant, and it will gently sway in the breeze and I guarantee people will want to touch it as they walk down the drive!

pennisetum oriental shogun

The other colours used are purple and a reddy orange, the backdrop is predominantly white and green, so I wanted to use colours that will really stand out. Much better than the lone tree I think!


Small Garden Design: Curves in the garden make it look wider


widened garden

The basic idea here is to show you that with only very few plants you can make your garden appear wider. In the image below, the garden is dominated by the view of the fence and there are a few plants around the edges.

blank garden red fence

So what do you see?  Well, what is most noticeable is where the garden boundaries are, your eyes follow the top line of the fence which defines the boundary.

In order to make the garden appear wider, you need to stop your eye being drawn to the long straight lines of the fence.  It has to have something to distract it from the dominance of the fence and the lawn. The easiest way to achieve this is to close in the near view, and break the fence line by allowing plants to grow that rise above it.

Make the Garden appear Wider:

In the redesign, the lawn grows right up to the fences on either side, straight away the garden appears wider. It’s pretty easy to mow right up to the edges these days, but if your mower leaves an strip, a strimmer will remove any untidy bits.  

widened garden

4 shaped beds have been planted in each corner, which are then planted. The plants used need to grow upwards rather than outwards to maximise your available space.

The tall planting narrows your view at this end of the garden. The effect created when you stand at the back door, narrows your view close up. As the grass moves outward from the front beds, you are ‘tricked’ into thinking the width is greater

To reduce the visual impact of the fence, paint it black. This has the effect of making it seem further away, thus helping to make the garden appear bigger.  Depending on the exact shape of the garden, you can make these  beds bigger or change the angle from the fence.

THe end of the fence is still a dominant feature. To improve this a focal point should be added. This could be a beautiful climber, a large pot or a collection of pots, a sculpture, a statue or a table and chairs. If you are thinking about something ‘artistic’ make sure it is large enough, if it’s too small it will look out of scale.

Curves in the garden make the garden appear wider as long as you use a bit of height as well.

Read also:

How to Design my Garden if…..:

It’s all weeds

It’s a city garden

The garden is really narrow

Small! – you couldn’t even ‘swing a cat’

I still have no idea where to begin

I would like the garden to be less boring!

Also : Garden Design for Beginners – help and useful advice on how to get going

happier gardens

Standing out from the crowd!

 Small Garden Design: Be Bold


palm trees  palms in front with big n red


These are lovely palm trees, healthy, tall and a really nice group, but is the best being made of them. They undeniably stand out and demand to be looked at, but does the ‘background scenery’ enhance or diminish their impact

To me, they appear out of place, palm trees don’t really grow up out of lush green lawns, to me, palms envoke ‘holiday, beach, sunshine, warmth‘ thoughts, so I think they would look even more dramatic if I recreate that here.


The plants used are all from the Big & Red & Hot PlantPlot scheme, the palm leaf shape is echoed with the phormiums, you have big tall pokers in an reddy/orange and really warm dark red flowers lower down. It is not a design for those houses that want to blend in with the rest, but plant this design and you can guarantee your house get’s noticed!

Libertia Peregrinans

I bet you never thought you could get a plant which is stripy, well you can and this one is lovely.

Libertia Peregrinans is an orange and green stripy grass like plant – but not ‘just about’ orange coloured leaves, it has really really orange leaves; excellent with purple plants, blue plants and black plants.

It’s not too tall and would look rubbish stuffed in-between shrubs or big burly plants, so put in an eye-catching spot and make sure its neighbours don’t grow taller than about one foot.