Plant Guides
What Grows Where?

Stuck for planting ideas? Not sure what will grow where?

I've put together some plant guides which I hope will help. My gardening philosophy is very definitely to 'go with nature' so my planting suggestions include some of my own favourite plants for different situations such as different soil types and degrees of shade.

The simple fact is that most plants will grow well if you provide them with the growing conditions that they prefer. Or, looking at it from the opposite viewpoint, if you have particular growing conditions, you will enjoy a greater degree of gardening success if you choose plants that are adapted to those conditions.

The guides below are not meant to be comprehensive but include a variety of plants, ranging from trees and shrubs to perennials and climbers, that are suitable for particular situations.

These are all plants that I love and I hope you will too!

Plant guides for different soil types

Soil forms the foundation of your garden and whist most plants will grow quite happily in a range of garden soils, some definitely present a bit more of a gardening challenge.

The thing to remember is that in nature, all soils are capable of supporting plant life. It's simply a matter of matching your choice of plants to your soil!

The key factors are the physical characteristics of your soil and it's degree of acidity or alkalinity - the pH value. If you're not sure what sort of soil you are dealing with head over to types of soil and soil pH for more information.

Plants for acid soil

Acidic soils have a very low pH value beyond the tolerance of many plants. These trees and shrubs and perennials and climbers are all acid lovers and I think each contributes something special to your garden.

Plants for chalk soil

Chalk soils present your plants with three challenges: they are thin, stony and have a high pH (very alkaline). It's a wonder any plants can survive - but they do!

These are my favourite trees and shrubs and perennials and climbers for chalk soil.

Plants for clay soil

Clay soils are dense and poorly drained. They quickly become waterlogged and are slow to warm up in springtime so you need plants that don't mind cold wet feet.

These plant guides include clay tolerant trees and shrubs and perennials and climbers that can cope with these conditions.

Plants for sandy soil

Sandy soils are very free-draining which causes two problems - dryness and lack of nutrients. The best plants for sand are ones that positively thrive in dry, light, 'poor' soil conditions - and there are plenty of them!

These are my absolute favourite perennials for sandy soil and my top five climbers that grow in sand.

Plant guides for shade

Shaded areas of your garden present you with two problems - lack of light and, quite possibly, very dry conditions. However there are plenty of fine shade loving plants to choose from and many have beautiful foliage allowing you to create a tapestry of colour and texture in your shady garden.

More information about shady gardens can be found at gardening in the shade.

Plants for light to partial shade

A selection of shade loving perennials and ferns that will happily grow in the dappled shade under deciduous trees and in areas of your garden that are in shade for part of the day.

Plants for deep shade

My favourite perennials and ferns that will shun the sun and thrive in areas of deep shade.

Plants for dry shade

These tough but beautiful perennials and ferns can grow in the most seemingly inhospitable conditions.

Trees for shady gardens

No garden is complete without trees - and that goes for shady gardens too! Even if your garden is shaded by neighbouring buildings there are trees that can cope.

I hope you will find your perfect tree amongst these shade tolerant evergreens and deciduous trees.

Plant guides for container gardening

Container gardening is a great way to deal with small garden spaces or dress up areas in a larger one. But please don't feel you have to restrict yourself to flowering plants.

Trees and shrubs

I like to give my own container garden a bit of height and impact with these delightful trees and shrubs for containers.

Bamboos, grasses, ferns and spiky plants

I also like to include a selection of favourite bamboos, grasses, ferns and spiky plants in my container garden as these textural and upright plants provide the perfect foil for flowering plants.