Tag Archives: yellow flowers


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.

What does your front garden say about you?

Small Garden Design: Make your front door a really welcoming entrance 


dull shady front


We believe that everyone can have a lovely garden even if you can’t afford to spend very much. We have always tried to show you how you can achieve a gorgeous garden with only a small amount of effort and having only spent what you can easily afford.


Here is a typical modern front garden, a little unloved maybe, but maybe that’s because the owner doesn’t know what to do with it – so it’s just left as grass.


Not very homely though is it, and it can be so much nicer. Incidentally, an attractive front garden not only makes you feel better when you come home, it can also add value to your house – so it is really worth making a little effort.


boring front with yellow planting boring front with a blue and agapanthus boring front, cream planting green door 

So here are 3 different looks and none of them would cost the earth. The garden has been divided by a path in each side, now this can simply be a grass path or it could be shingle or paved. This means you have a sunny border and a shady one.The front door has had a ‘paint’ job too in a couple of the images, just to smarten it up but also to compliment the planting.  Several of the plants used spread easily, so you require fewer to cover the ground, or they self seed so again will fill the bed more quickly. The plants are evergreen mostly and require very little looking after.


This weekend, step out into the front garden and look back to your front door and just ask – what does this garden say about me?


Gardening is not difficult, but if you don’t know much about plants it is difficult to know where to begin. That’s where we can help, we have loads of designs for front gardens (and back ones too) on the website, so why don’t you get a little inspiration and make a statement in your front garden.


Why do I like these so much, well I suppose I am a sucker for flowers that create a mood – and when these ones flower, my mood is happy.


I know the plant disappears in the winter, and is a little slow to re-emerge, but that’s because it flowers in late summer, and the one I have ‘Goldstrum’ has golden yellow petals, which kind of catch the fact that the late summer sun is a bit less acid yellow and has taken on a more mellow ‘manyana’ attitude.


These plants don’t rush to set flower, so we benefit as they begin to shine just as everything else is beginning to look a little weary.  Oh and the seedheads are attractive too, a bit like small black beehives!

BEE responsible gardeneers name added




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.


Any garden without tulips is missing something – a bit like dressing up for dinner or a night out and forgetting to put your jewellery on.  They are meant to pop up and yell ‘look at me I’m a drama queen’. 


Tulips catch your attention when not a great deal of large sized flowers are out.  Their role is to get noticed for a short time and then they can slip off when other longer flowered plants start performing.


However, drama queen does not mean diva, some tulips are horrible, over bred, fussy, frilly, too much makeup and end up looking like a fashion disaster. 


Don’t think more colour is best, think how best to use the colour.

Here for example, the tulips are off white, classy but not dull.


tulip white triumphator flower sq crop


Tulips here (and yes I know its a not your average back garden plot), at Arundel Castle, have been planted to be drama queens. They scream look at me, but do so tastefully, with complimentary colours and similar shape flowers.


Arundel Tulips


Not too much petal fluff and frill, but you definitely know they are there!


Do not just buy anything and plonk it in, think 2-3 complimentary colours but use similar shaped blooms, choose one colour and go for different shaped tulip flowers, or clash 2 colours together.


Whatever you chose to do throw the bulbs onto the soil and plant where they fall, random is what nature does, and more is definitely better.


I know I said tulips were drama queens, but they do not stop the show by themselves, so plant as many as you can afford.

The problem with mixed boxes of plants!


One of my pet hates are mixed boxes of bedding plants, because it is so easy to go home and plop everything in one place, and it just looks untidy. 

I mean in your sitting room would you mix pink, white blue yellow and green over brown and grey walls, (I am hoping you all are saying ‘no’ at this point by the way…!), so the same applies outside.


mixed bedding la perfumerie makeover


Now it may look as though this makeover is a little dull, but it is called “la perfumerie in blue’, I can’t convey scent in a photo obviously, but each of these plant’s flowers or foliage have a lovely smell, so we have mixed silvery grey foliage and darker shades of green with blue flowers ranging from pale blue to the really intense blues – and because the foliage is scented, it still works hard in winter!  The small tombstone stones have been obscured, they don’t really add much to the plot, so best left off I think.




Primula Vulgaris

Primula Vulgaris


Don’t be put off by the name, the ‘vulgar’ suffix really is latin speak for common, but that undermines it’s beauty too.

The word we should use is native primrose, pale lemon yellow with matching yellow hues on the leaves, which positively glow in dappled shade.


Why go for artificially bred colours, they are not as classy as the native flower, nor have they required extra feed, heat or light to produce flowers – for me nature has surpassed anything we have produced, so why gild the lily?


BEE responsible gardeneers name added

Even Garages can be loved!


Small Garden Design: Every bit matters, honestly!

peoples gardens (60)


OK it’s a garage, it’s a functional space, why bother? Well why not bother too?


In my opinion, we can all make the place we live in just a little bit lovelier with a little bit of effort.  I am sure all of you would enjoy the dog walk a little more if there were more little corner’s like this that popped up here and there.


So all that has been done is to add one trellis which is painted the same as the garage, I have painted the fence black, as a contrast, and I have added a few really tough easy care plants from the happy plants for where the sun don’t shine’ plot, which will require probably one hour’s sorting out per year which is a lot less than the weekly mow!


 garage with happy plants for shade



Just because something has been around for years, it doesn’t mean it is the best or most suitable option.


Take corsets for example, no self respecting lady was seen without one for hundreds of years until someone developed a more practical and comfortable alternative – this is exactly what I think about bedding!




I know Nurseries and Garden Centres love them, as they sell lots every year, but when was the last time any bedding plant looked good all summer that you bought, (unless you fed and watered regularly and dead headed religiously). 


Whenever I have tried to do the hanging basket bit, or put bedding in pots, after two weeks I can’t keep up with it, the soil dries out and shrinks, it never gets enough food and is usually covered in aphids – why is that?


Well professional growers give these little plants a luxurious start in life, water, food, heat, light and lovely warm greenhouses that are regularly expunged of pests. The result, beautiful pretty little plants ready to sing and dance away, but as these plants suddenly get placed in a less idyllic environment, they tend to turn from cute little party princesses to stroppy teens, that sulk and flop everywhere which demand more and more from you but give less! 


There are much better alternatives that last longer. Many of these bedding plants have been produced to maximise flower sizes and intensify the colour, and sometimes that is, in my opinion, to the detriment of real beauty. Not all bedding plants fall into this category, but the usual ones you see in garden centres add very little to the beauty of plants.



Size and placement


Small Garden Design : Size Matters


This person has clearly thought about their front garden and has planted a really well looked after box hedge, and they have bought two specimen plants the phormium and rosemary for the inside. 

size and placement


There a a couple of issues here, firstly that the plants don’t fill the area despite being big, so a tiny ophiopogon lily (the black plant) has been planted which unfortunately now looks rather dwarfed. If you are only having one specimen per area – why are both offset in a corner.


Secondly, are both these plants really beautiful specimen plants? The box hedge is designed to frame the space and like a painting, if you have a lovely frame, you want a lovely picture in it.


To improve this and really make it stand out more, you could either contrast the solid frame with a fluid centre or you could paint a colourful picture to ‘put in the frame‘. 


Creating a fluid middle, this would be designed to waft in a breeze, but you don’t want it to flop all over the hedging.  Fill each area with soft airy grasses like deschampsia or a stipa tenuissima – then use bulbs and delicate plants to provide interest over the seasons, such as alliums, tulips, nigella, catananche, schizostylis, galanthus, astrantias and maybe some pennisetums too.


Alternatively, a colourful picture can be created by using a limited colour palette.  Stick to two flower colours along with green.  As the hedging here is a more yellowy green, I would avoid pastel shades and choose strong blues with yellows, purples and oranges or acid yellows with creams and whites.  Then choose your base plant (evergreen, not too tall, non floppy), and get plants in your chosen colours that flower at different times of the year to ensure year round colour


For example, I want strong blues and yellows, my base plant would be a geranium ‘Johnson Blue’ to which I would add crocus, muscari , narcissus, salvias, iris yellow tulips and achillea tomentosa (summer), echinacea sunrise (late summer).


The result – a picture that steals the show rather than the frame!


Geranium johnsons blue


Salvia Blue Queen


Iris yellow (1)


muscari (2)