Top 10 plants for summer
Helen Dillon’s Ranelagh garden is a stunner
‘Mrs Bradshaw’ and
G. ‘Lady Stratheden’
Ultra-hardy, long-lived and clump-forming, these herbaceous perennials produce a multitude of brightly-coloured flowers if given a fertile, moist but well-drained soil in full sun/ partial shade and regularly deadheaded. Grow from seed in late summer/early autumn (seedaholic.com) or buy pot-grown plants (boynegardencentre.com). H x S of 60cm
Helen says . . . “ I grow G. “Mrs Bradshaw’ (scarlet, semi-double) and G. ‘Lady Stratheden’ (bright yellow, semi-double) mixed together for a colourful, cheerful display that starts in May and lasts right up to July.”
These hardy, clump-forming herbaceous perennials are prized for their showy flowers, which come in a wide variety of colours and are produced on slender, upright stems throughout the summer months.
Give plants a rich, moist but well-drained soil in full sun or light shade, (they sulk in very wet soils), protect from slugs and cut back flowering stems as they fade. For a range of alstroemerias, see kilmurrynursery.com
Helen says . . . “I can’t understand why alstromerias aren’t more commonly grown in this country – the new cultivars in particular are great, long flowering plants. One of the very best is A. ‘Red Elf’.”
Lady Slipper Orchid/
A hardy, June-flowering orchid with rose/white pouched flowers, this clump-forming perennial prefers light shade and a moist but well-drained soil that shouldn’t be allowed to dry out in summer.
Emerging foliage requires protection from frosts. H x S of 40cm x 10cm (available from lanesidehardyorchids.com)
Helen says . . . “My very favourite orchid. I once lost it – many years ago – after lifting a clump to divide it and then accidentally replanting too deeply, which it hates.”
Not your run-of-the-mill tobacco plant but a choice species with tall, graceful stems and masses of white flowers that gradually fade to deep pink. Treated as a half-hardy annual, Nicotiana mutabilis is usually grown from seed in late spring (available from avonbulbs.co.uk) and needs a fertile, moist but well-drained soil in full sun. H x S of 150 x 40cm .
Helen says . . . “I love this plant so much that I grow it from cuttings taken in early autumn and overwintered in a frost-free glasshouse. That way it’s in bloom from May.”
The Dillon Garden, 45 Sandford Terrace, Ranelagh, Dublin. The garden is open every day during July and August, 2-6pm (admission €5), dillongarden.com