Calm: how to choose trouble-free plants for your garden

By | April 13, 2018

Busy lives mean our garden spaces may feel just one more thing to do. We wrote earlier this month about creating a corner of calm in busy lives and gardens. Are you onto it? Today’s blog offers suggestions for your calm space so that you may add plants to a space any time soon.

Plant for calm: five plants with special qualities

Camomile: known for its soothing tea, this little plant likes an ordinary soil in sun or good light. And you don’t need to make its flowers into tea. Crush the leaves in your fingers and breathe in.

Jasmine: loved for its flowery scent, summer flowering jasmine is said to stimulate and simply make you feel good.

Lavender: an all time favourite scent from its leaves and flowers invites you to sit down, relax and enjoy.

Rosemary: better known to uplift than to calm, rosemary enjoys growing conditions similar to lavender and looks good with it – plant them both in sunny and dryish containers, beds or borders.

Thyme: a lovely plant to touch and to smell the crushed leaves. Thyme grows low and close to the ground so is ideal for the edges of patios, containers and borders. There are many varieties to choose from.

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The evergreen grey-green leaves of rosemary smell wonderful in warm sun or when crushed, and the stems are studded with pretty blue flowers in late spring.  Sarah Buchanan.

Shaded places: five plants for calm

Most of the plants I have suggested already prefer sun to shade and dry to wet soil. And we often think of calm with warmth. But shaded calm spaces can be calmer than sunny spots. To create a shaded calm space, choose plants that like shade, those that give you luscious greenery and / or black, white or silvery flowers.

Fatsia japonica, the castor oil plant, is a year round star for shaded spaces.

Hardy evergreen ferns create a lovely feel – be sure to buy the ones that do like shade!

Hostas: known for their luscious leaves, and any of the many varieties are a good choice.

For some colour, tobacco plants are my one exception to bedding plants (see below)! Choose varieties with white or lime green flowers and add a clump of my favourite – the stunning ‘Nicotiana sylvestris’.

Viola ‘Molly Sanderson’ and ‘Bowles Black’ grow close to the ground where their dark flowers draw your eye.

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Are hosta leaves maybe more attractive than their tall mauve or white flowers? These are perfect plants for calm, shaded places. Sarah Buchanan.

Create calm: choose plants that are trouble free

Gardening is good for you and can create feelings of calm. But plants that demand your action when you don’t feel like it are not as calming as others. So it is important to choose plants that your lifestyle can manage rather than ones that need extra attention.

For a calm garden area, I avoid bedding plants and plants that don’t suit my soil without some action to make it suit them. Instead I choose perennial geraniums (just need cutting back after their flowers are over), early spring flowering bulbs and ground covering plants to smother soil and weeds.

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Ajuga, or bugle, is an all time winner among ground cover plants. Coloured leaves and bright blue flowers make it pretty too. Sarah Buchanan.

All the plants suggested above are largely trouble free.  Lavender appreciates an annual hair cut (cut away the summer growth to keep your plants neat and longer lived, and cut and bring the flower stems indoors or use them to make lavender sachets or wands. Rosemary is happy being trimmed to keep in shape. Jasmine needs a bit of care to keep it climbing up a trellis, fence or wigwam. Slugs like many hosta varieties but read our blog on slugs and snails – or choose hostas with thick leaves that slugs find hard to chew.

Feel the calm surround you as you plan your plants!