Ivydene Gardens Plants:
Groundcover Plant
Name - XYZ with Ground Cover for 14 Special Situations

The plants normally selected by most landscapers and designers are by nature low-growing, rampant, spreading, creep-crawly things and yet the concept of ground cover demands no such thing. The ideal description of a groundcover plant includes:-

  • a bold dense mass of leaves completely covering the ground most of the year; evergreens gain gold stars.
  • They should require little or no maintenance - if you have to give the plant more than its share of attention, you might as well save your money and spend the time weeding.
  • use the plant on ground areas that are difficult to maintain, such as steep banks or boggy patches.
  • use the plant to cover areas where not much will grow, such as deep shade or sandy soils.

Ground Cover a thousand beautiful plants for difficult places by John Cushnie (ISBN 1 85626 326 6) provides details of plants that fulfill the above requirements.

Using these groundcover plants in your planting scheme (either between your trees/shrubs in the border or for the whole border) will - with mulching your beds to a 4 inch depth and an irrigation system - provide you with a planted garden with far less time required for border maintenance.
Wildflower Flower Shape and Landscape Uses gallery provides Landscaping List by Use pages which include some of these ground-cover plants. Landscaping with Perennials by Emily Brown. 5th printing 1989 by Timber Press. ISBN 0-88192-063-0 provides the planting site pages for perennials, which include most plant types except Annuals and Biennials.

Plants for Ground-Cover by Graham Stuart Thomas. Published by J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd in 1970 - reprinted (with further revisions) in 1990. ISBN 0-460-12609-1. This gives details on many more ground cover plants with inclusion (in the Index) of figures denoting the Hardiness Zones for each species in the United States of America.

Plant Name

with link to page with photos and mail-order nursery in Comments Row


with link to mail-order nursery in UK

Height x Spread in inches (cms)


with link to mail-order nursery in USA

Flower Colour in Month(s).

Use Pest Control using Plants to provide a Companion Plant to aid your selected groundcover plant or deter its pests


United States Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zone Map - This map of USA is based on a range of average annual minimum winter temperatures, divided into 13 of 10-degree F zones, that this plant will thrive in USA, Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. There are other Hardiness Zone Maps for the rest of the world including the one for Great Britain and Ireland of zones 7a to 10a. Zone 5-9 indicates that the minimum zone temperature this plant will grow is 5 and top minimum zone temperature is 9 - above this number is too hot or below 5 is too cold for the plant. If your zone in your area of your country is within that range or your zone number is greater, then you can grow it in your garden.

Xanthorhiza simplicissima

Deciduous Shrub 24-72 inches (60-180 cms) in height

24 x 60 (60 x 150)

Bronze then Light Green in Summer, Red-Purple in Autumn

Brown-Purple in

Full Sun
Zone 4
moist soil.

Good plant for low, wet spots - areas for which the choice of plants is small.

Yucca flaccida

Evergreen Shrub below 24 inches (60 cms) in height

22 x 60 (55 x 150)


White in


Yucca flaccida
'Golden Sword'

Evergreen Shrub below 24 inches (60 cms) in height

22 x 60 (55 x 150)

Dark Blue-Green margined-Yellow

White in


Yucca flaccida

Evergreen Shrub 24-72 inches (60-180 cms) in height

24 x 30 (60 x 75)


Green-tinged Creamy-White in

Zantedeschia aethiopica

Evergreen Rhizome Perennial 24-72 inches (60-180 cms) in height

36 x 24 (90 x 60)

Glossy Bright Green

Pure White Spathes in June-August

"Arum Lilly, Calla Lily". Long-bloomer and clump-former. It has arrow-shaped, shiny green leaves
Full Sun
Zone 8-10
Humus-rich soil and ample moisture. Heavy feeders, they benefit from organic fertiliser and manure. May be grown in shallow water or wet sites and looks stylish in large containers. From South Africa

Companions - large-scale ferns, astilbe, aconitum, darmera, hosta, ligularia, caltha, pontederia, sagittaria; beside ponds or water gardens.

Zantedeschia aethiopica
'Little Gem'

Evergreen Rhizome Perennial below 24 inches (60 cms) in height

18 x 24 (45 x 60)

Glossy Bright Green

Pure White Spathes in June-August

As above and carries a mass of flowers







Ground Cover for
14 Special Situations

After these 14 Special Situations Rows,
there are these rows which apply to every ground cover situation:-

  • Why grass/lawn should never be used as a groundcover in a flower/ topfruit/ vegetable or a single specimen bed, because it takes all the rain that falls on it and any nutrients applied onto it, leaving nothing for the roots of the plants under it.
  • Why seaweed is a necessary ingredient for gardens - It contains every trace element that any plant requires and it also has other ingredients to aid your plants.

1a. Plants best for
Dry Shade

Climber -
Hedera hibernica.

Fern -
Polypodium vulgare.

Herb -
Viola odorata.

Bulbs and Rhizomes -
Anemone nemerosa.
Convallaria majalis.
Oxalis adenophylla.

Herbaceous perennials -
Galium odoratum.
Geranium nodosum.
Lamium maculatum.
Pachysandra terminalis.
Symphytum ibericum.

Shrub -
Hypericum calycinum.

In dense shade, ivy (Hedera) is probably the best choice for low ground cover.

Shaded sites that are dry are the worst possible areas for planting. Overhanging trees, with a mass of roots searching out and draining the soil of all available moisture in summer, severely limit the choice of plant.

The first and essential operation is to improve the soil to the level where it will retain a degree of moisture. If the trees are deciduous then leave the dead leaves to create a layer of leaf mould and this should be supplemented with generous helpings of well-rotted farmyard manure or spent mushroom compost as a 3 inch (8cm) depth mulch each August (August is normally the month when rainfall is stored by topfruit tree roots to be used for new spring growth and foliage). I used cow manure from cows put in barns over the winter since their is no seeds left after the hay is eaten by cows.

Beneath deciduous trees, planting in autumn may help new plants to establish before the spring leaf cover creates dense shade. Once planting is completed you will need to water regularly until the plants become established - use water ring for trees/shrubs for first 2 years.

Plants for dry, shady sites include:-

  • Irish ivy (hedera hibernica). It is equally at home covering the ground or climbing and can be a bit of a nuisance if not kept in check.
  • Spotted laurel (Aucuba japonica) will survive in most situations, including heavy shade, though the variegated forms will lose some of their distinctive leaf markings if they receive poor light. Female varieties produce red berries.
  • Many of the cotoneasters will succeed,
  • as will the Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium)
  • Butcher's broom (Ruscus aculeatus) makes good ground cover, the female plants producing red berries in autumn.
  • Geranium macrorrhizum is a great cranesbill for dry shaded sites.
  • The dead nettle (Lamium maculatum) is just the job for dry shaded sites and if it is very dry and very shaded Lamium may do as you tell it and not try to cover the whole garden

Good Combination
Wood anemone (Anemone nemerosa) and Horned violet (Viola cornuta). Both these plants are dainty and easy to grow; together they will provide flowers from late winter through to summer; growing to the same height and quite happy to mix together.

1b. Plants tolerant of
Dry Shade

Alpine -
Campanula portenschlagiana.

Herbaceous perennials -
Doronicum austriacum.
Geranium macrorrhizum.
Prunella grandiflora.
Saxifraga marginata.

Shrubs -
Aucuba japonica.
Mahonia aquifolium.
Rubus tricolor.
Ruscus aculeatus.
Vinca minor.

2a. Plants best for
Damp Shade

Climbers -
Lonicera pileata

Fern -
Asplenium scolopendrium.

Bulbs, rhizomes and tubers -
Arisaema sikokianum.
Arisarum proboscideum.
Galanthus nivalis.
Ourisia microphylla.
Pachysandra terminalis.
Trillium grandiflorum.

Herbaceous perennials -
Aegopodium podagraria 'Variegata'.
Ajuga reptans 'Multicolor.
Astilbe 'Professor van der Wielen'.
Helleborus foetidus.
Helleborus orientalis.
Hosta fortunei.
Tricyrtis flava.

Shrubs - Mahonia nervosa.
Skimmia japonica.

Moist and shady areas of the garden are easier, provided they are not completely waterlogged. Quite often trees overhang moist boggy areas but the shade is not usually very dense. The biggest problem is that the site can change from boot-sucking mud to cracked, parched clay in a period of weeks. Apply a 2 inch (5cm) mulch of 1-4mm Horticultural Grit to encourage drainage and reduce the risk of surface cracks or apply the mulch mixture in Soil Formation - What is Soil Texture? page.

For sites that stay damp, there is the range of suitable ground cover plants:-

  • Hostas can be used with their variegated leaves. Slugs and snails love hostas, except for 2 that these pests seem to dislike - Hosta 'Zounds' and Hosta 'Sum and Substance'. Planted White hellebore (Helleborus niger) can be used as a deterrent to both snails and slugs in this situation.
  • The giant cowslip (Primula florindae) loves moist, shady conditions, flowering and releasing an exquisite perfume.
  • Gaultherias are happy in moist, shady sites, and will spread rapidly to give complete cover.
  • The Vincas are also content to spread through moist soil at a satisfactory rate, forming a solid carpet of green or variegated leaves with blue or white periwinkle flowers.
  • Then there is the distinctly unpleasant, shady and cold site at the base of a sunless wall. The soil is often mossy and sour and the introduction of some organic material (Tree and Hedge Planting Soil) from time to time will help the few plants that can survive in this situation. Ledum groenlandicum will do, providing the soil is lime-free (not chalk soil).

    Lonicera pileata is a semi-evergreen honeysuckle, growing to about 40 inches (100 cm) high and tough enough for a cold wall.

Good Combinations:-

  • Wake robin (Trillium grandiflorum) and Toad Lily (Tricyrtis flava) complement each other without competing, the wake robin with its pure white flowers in spring and summer and the toad lily making its display of yellow with purple spots in autumn.
  • Good late spring colour with candelabra primula (Primula candelabra) and Alchemilla mollis (Ladies mantle), in the foreground. Phalaris arundinacea 'Feesey' (ribbon grass) in the background; which will grow anywhere.
  • A bright patch on the winter scene: snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) and variegated ivy (Hedera) provide a cheerful carpet in a woodland setting.

2b. Plants tolerant of
Damp Shade

Herbaceous perennials -
Helleborus argutifolius.
Primula florindae.

Shrub -
Ledum groenandicum.

3a. Plants best in
Full Sun

Conifers -
Juniperus communis.
Juniperus horizontalis.
Juniperus procumbens.
Juniperus squamata 'Blue Star'.
Taxus baccata 'Repandens'

Herbs -
Rosmarinus officinalis 'Prostratus'.
Thymus vulgaris.

Alpines -
Asarina procumbens.
Genista pilosa 'Procumbens'.
Helianthemum 'Rhodanthe Careum'.
Helianthemum 'Wisley Primrose'.
Sedum spathulifoium.

Herbaceous perennials -
Cerastium tomentosum.
Geranium endressii 'Wargrave Pink'.
Geranium sanguineum striatum.
Saponaria ocymoides.
Persicaria affinis.
Persicaria vacciniifolia.

Shrubs -
Cistus x corbariensis.
Cistus x cyprius.
Convolvulus cneorum.
Cytisus decumbens.
Genista lydia.
Halimium ocymoides.

Sites in full sun have soil conditions playing a large part in determining suitable plants.

Soils that are not retentive of moisture are like mini-deserts and can be the death of all but the toughest of ground cover. Thorough watering until the plants become established, and heavy surface mulches of shredded bark, moisture-retentive material such as spent mushroom compost, rotted farmyard manure or leaf mould will help the soil hold water. Mulches must be applied when the soil is moist and frost-free (i.e in late winter) to seal in the moisture. A mulching material spread on dry soil will prevent water from penetrating the ground, thereby making the problem worse. When I maintained client's gardens, I found that home compost bins were a waste of time because the total volume is insufficient to create proper compost and the amount added each time was too small. Having put a spent mushroom compost mulch of 3-4 inch depth on the beds, I would put the weeded plants and prunings on the lawn; then cut the lawn using a rotary mower and spread the mowings on top of the spent mushroom mulch. Being on top, the shredded weeds would dry out and the worms would eat them. Then each autumn, I would cut the lawn and the fallen deciduous leaves before applying another mulch of the mowings on the spent mushroom one. The waste food from the kitchen collected in a small plastic bin could also be used by putting it onto the existing mulch and covering with grass mowings.
There is now the world's 1st modular closed garden system designed for urban living, which diverts waste, builds up soil and grows food - with Modbed.

Problems with clay soil drying out, can be sorted out by applying a 2 inch (5cm) mulch of 1-4mm Horticultural Grit to encourage drainage and reduce the risk of surface cracks or apply the mulch mixture in Soil Formation - What is Soil Texture? page.

Ground cover plants for Full Sun:-

  • The red valerian (Centranthus ruber) actually does best in poor, undernourished soil and self-seeds effortlessly.
  • Convolvulus cneorum loves full sun, but should be protected from cold wet winters.
  • Cistus and the lavenders (Lavandula) thrive in dry, sun-baked, light soils, but also dislike cold wet winters, so are best planted with a gravel top-dressing to help drainage and with some shelter from cold winds.
  • Ceanothus likes dry conditions and with the nickname of Californian lilac, likes it hot as well.
  • Site early spring-flowering plants such as evergreen azaleas, Ledum and Pieris away from an easterly aspect (or a westerly one, if you live in the southern hemisphere). Ground frosts in spring followed by morning sun will destroy early blooms and young growths.

Good Combinations:-

  • Juniperus communis and Taxus baccata 'Repandens', both conifers capable of growing far and wide, making them ideal for large expanses that require quick, dense ground cover.
  • A mixed planting of shrubs, herbaceous perennials, rhizomes, bulbs and conifers will produce late spring colour in a sunny border.
  • Contrasting junipers, Juniperus communis 'Depressa' and Juniperus squamata 'Blue Star' form a dense carpet, giving weeds no chance.

3b. Plants tolerant of
Full Sun

Herb -
Ruta graveolens.

Herbaceous perennial -
Diascia rigescens.

4a. Plants best for

Heathers -
Calluna vulgaris.
Erica carnea.

Alpine -
Helianthemum apeninninum.

Shrubs -
Convolvulus cneorum.
Cotoneaster dammeri.
Hebe pinguifolia 'Pagei'.

Banks may be referred to as slopes, gradients, changes of level or terraces, but the word 'Bank', somehow or other, seems to sum it up.

Is the bank facing the house or falling away from it? If seen from the dwelling the planting needs to be interesting, with year-round colour. Of course if the bank is facing the road or other houses in plain view, then it needs to look good.

A change of level helps to create interest and structure. There are problems including soil erosion, surface water, summer drought, poor access and subsoil coming through to the surface of a bank.
To solve these problems:-
If the bank is higher than your shoulders, then you need to create horizontal paths by using the blunt end of a cutter mattock to dig into the ground at about 40 inches (100cms) and pull the soil over 180 degrees so that triangle of soil then falls onto the ground below it and then you can firm it with your feet to create a path that you can then reach between it and the next path up to weed and plant it. Weed the ground between the rows remembering to dig out the weed roots. Then apply a 2 inch (5cm) depth of the mulch mixture in Soil Formation - What is Soil Texture? page to the weeded area and sow a Green Manure before repeating the process for the next row.

Leave a month after sewing the Green Manure for it to mature before Pit planting, which provides a mixture of the existing soil and the mulch mixture to be used as a backfill material. Then when that row has been planted another 2 inch (5cm) mulch of the above mulch mixture is applied after the area has been thoroughly watered. The Pit planting method above does provide the small ridge to hold rainwater in and once planting is completed you will need to water regularly until the plants become established - use water ring for trees/shrubs/plants for first 2 years. The green manure will provide nitrogen for the ground cover plants over the years.

Some of the traditional twining rather than suckering climbers will cover a bank if given a support to scramble over. Galvanized wire mesh spread over the bank and firmly secured - using galvanized hoops of wire pushed into the soil or tied with galvanized wire to wooden pegs driven into the bank - is an ideal method of support. Plant clematis, honeysuckle, climbing or rambling roses. Remember to water well after planting. Train the new shoots through the wire mesh to ensure that they are securely held.

A bank can be formed into a rock garden with the rock 'growing' out of the ground with much of the rock below the soil surface. If the rock has strata lines they should all be running the same way, just as they do in nature. The rocks should be placed close together with small pockets of soil to accomodate the plants. The alternative is often seen and best described as a stonery with stones like raisins in a bread pudding.

Banks that slope away from the house or main viewing point can be made interesting by bringing the plants over the top of the bank on to the level surface. Allowing the planted area to encroach into the lawn will shorten the horizon, suggest that there is more beyond, especially if you use low-growing plants. In the same way a steep bank will look less severe when viwed from below if the planting is carried beyond the base of the bank on the level ground. Curving the front of the bed rather than finishing it abruptly with a straight line will give an appearance of depth, and of the natural spread of the plants.

A series of lawned terraces looks very aristocratic, but grass will revert to its peasant ways long before it gets its next trim. Pit-planted ground cover will remove the necessity for mowing altogether. If the planting takes place after it has been weeded, mulched and a green manure (of 80% VIRGO PAJBJERG certified Yellow Trefoil and 20% MERLYN certified Med. White Clover) sewn as in the first paragragh above, then you will have easy maintenance terraces.

Good Combinations:-

  • Convolvulus cneorum and Euonymus 'Emerald 'n' Gold' planted together produce a pleasing mixture of leaf colours, the silvery grey of the convolvulus contrasting with the bright green and yellow variegation of euonymus.
  • Senecio and honeysuckle tumbling over a retaining wall with sedum spectabile, geranium, convolvulus, calceolaria and the Irish yew Taxus baccata variegata 'Aurea' in the foreground.
  • Ajuga reptans 'Burgundy Glow' and Vinca minor 'Azurea Flore Pleno'. These 2 friends have proved themselves time and time again, produing cover and colour onthe worst of banks without needing lots of maintenance.

4b. Plants tolerant of

Shrubs -
Euonymus 'Emerald 'n' Gold'.
Euonymus 'Emerald Gaiety'.
Hebe albicans.
Senecio 'Sunshine'.

4c. Plants best for
Steep Banks

Climber -
Hedera canariensis

Conifers -
Juniperus conferta.
Juniperus communis 'Repanda'.

Alpine -
Aurinia saxatilis 'Citrina'.

Herbaceous perennials -

Ajuga reptans 'Burgundy Glow'.
Artemisia schmidtiana.
Centranthus ruber.
Lamium maculatum 'White Nancy'.

Shrubs -
Rubus tricolor.
Vinca major.
Vinca minor 'Azura Flore Pleno'.

4d. Plants tolerant of
Steep Banks

Alpine -
Arabis caucasica 'Variegata'.

Shrubs -
Hypericum calycinum.
Hypericum empetrifolium.

5a. Plants suitable for

Fern -
Polystichum aculeatum.

Rhizomes -
Arisarum proboscideum.
Trillium grandiflorum.

Herbaceous perennials -
Asarum europaeum.
Geranium macrorrhizum 'Ingwersen's Variety'.
Hosta fortunei.
Pachysandra terminalis.
Tiarella cordifolia.

Shrubs -
Aucuba japonica 'Rozannie'.

Woodland and copses are a form of ground cover in their own right, albeit tall cover. Fewer weeds germinate and thrive in the shade of tree canopies. Where a second, lower layer of ground cover can also be established, weed population drops still further, providing a minimum maintenance regime. Where the canopy of leaves is broken, glade areas permit plants that require more light to be planted, especially those with evergreen or variegated leaves. Evergreen plants are more susceptible to damage from autumn leaf fall than deciduous plants and it may be necessary to rake brush or blow deep layers of large, decomposing leaves off some plants.
Between March and September, I would suggest that you sow the following Green Manure (of 80% VIRGO PAJBJERG certified Yellow Trefoil and 20% MERLYN certified Med. White Clover) before pit planting your ground cover a month later. Then, you blow these dead leaves off onto an area where they can be mown using the highest setting on the rotary mower before the mown leaves can be returned to the evergreen ground cover area and the blower gently redistributes the mown leaves to be below the evergreen ground cover foliage.

Ground cover plants for Woodland:-

  • Daphne laureola is a great woodland evergreen, succeeding even in deep shade.
  • Trillium grandiflorum, the wake robin, will grow quickly to form a clump.
  • Pachysandra terminalis in a moist, open soil will spread rapidly by underground stems, producing masses of the familiar white flowers.
  • Primula vulgaris, the primrose, is everyone's favourite and is at home on a shady bank or open woodland.
  • Sarcococca humilis loves deep shade, filling the air with its fragrance in the dead of winter.

Good Combinations:-

  • Aucuba japonica 'Rozannie' and Daphne laureola grow to about the same height and both are evergreen. 'Rozannie' is bisexual, producing red berries in autumn and winter; the daphne has fragrant greenish flowers, followed by red berries.
  • Woodland designed to be enjoyed - Ferns, primula, Acer palmatum and hosta flourishing in dappled shade.

5b. Plants tolerant of

Shrubs -
Buxus sempervirens 'Suffruticosa'.
Lonicera pileata.
Mahonia nervosa.
Rubus tricolor.
Sarcococca humilis.

6a. Plants best for
Alkaline Soils

Alpine -
Euphorbia myrsinites.

Herbaceous perennials -
Bergenia cordifolia 'Purpurea'.
Viola cornuta.

Shrubs -
Santolina pinnata neapolitana.
Sarcococca humilis.

Some soils are just on the limy or alkaline side of neutral and are capable of growing a wide range of plants. Many acid-loving plants can survive, but the excess lime will lock up trace elements such as iron and magnesium, giving the plants a stunted, chlorotic appearance with mottled and yellow leaves.

Soils that form a thin layer over chalk restrict plant selection not only to those that like a high pH, but also to those tolerant of drought. Limy soils are usually shallow, stony and very well-drained, warming up quickly in spring. Generous mulching will increase the depth and quality of soil and help retain moisture. The addition of peat or ericaceous compost will lower the pH, allowing a wider range of plants to be grown. However, deep-rooted, lime-hating shrubs and trees such as Holly - Ilex crenata, Helianthemums, all the Juniper family, Berberis, Calluna, Rhododendron, Erica, Skimmia, Ledum and Gaultheria species will be unable to thrive.

Ground cover plants for Alkaline Sites:-

  • Sarcococca humilis loves deep shade, filling the air with its fragrance in the dead of winter.
  • Choisya 'Aztec Pearl' is a compact evergreen shrub, easy to grow and forming good dense cover.
  • Euphorbia myrsinites has succulent foliage and needs to be grown in full sun. Its striking graphic shape makes an unusual striking feature in the middle of a gravel path.
  • Santolina pinnata neapolitana does best in well-drained soil in full sun.
  • Bergenia cordifolia 'Purpurea' flowers in late winter and early spring.

Good Combination

Santolina pinnata neapolitana and Choisys 'Aztec Pearl' both have aromatic foliage. If the taller choisya is planted behind the santolina the contrast of leaf shape and colour is eye-catching. 'Aztec Pearl' flowers white in late spring and again in late summer and autumn and the small yellow, button flowers of Santolina appear in late summer.

6b. Plants tolerant of
Alkaline Soils

Shrubs -
'Aztec Pearl'.
Jaminum fruticans.

7a. Plants best for
Acid Soils

Fern -
Adiantum pedatum.

Heathers -
Calluna vulgaris.
Erica cinerea.

Alpines -
Celmisia walkeri.
Phlox stolonifera.
Lithodora diffusa 'Heavenly Blue'

Herbaceous perennial -
Gentiana x macaulayi

Shrubs -
Daboecia cantabrica.
Pieris japonica 'Little Heath'.

Acid soils are often quite dark and rich in organic material, the best examples being peat, or woodland soils where years of leaf litter have built up a deep, humus-rich surface layer of soil. Clay soils are usually acid and retentive of moisture, requiring drainage and the addition of grit or coarse sand to make them more manageable. Such soils may be 'late' - slow to warm up at the start of the season - but if well cultivated they are ideal for all those lime-hating ground-covering plants such as Calluna, Rhododendron, Erica, Skimmia, Ledum and Gaultheria. Sandy, free-draining soils can also be acid and are often lacking in nutrients, which are leached from below the level of the roots. Adding lots of compost and well-rotted farmyard manure will make the soil more moisture-retentive. Ilex crenata, helianthemums and all the Juniper family will thrive in this sort of soil.

Ground cover plants for Acid Sites:-

  • Lithodora diffusa 'Heavenly Blue' is great for ground cover, but hates limy soil.
  • Daboecia cantabrica is a heather-like shrub, forming solid sheets of colour in summer and early autumn.
  • Phlox stolonifera, the creeping phlox, enjoys well-drained soil in semi-shade.
  • Erica cinerea 'Alba Minor' will flower from summer through to early autumn.
  • Adiantum pedatum is deciduous, the fronds appearing early in spring. The divided leaves allow light to penetrate to the undergrowth.

Good Combination:-

Lithodora diffusa 'Heavenly Blue' and Pieris japonica 'Little Heath' are quite happy together, with the lithodora providing sheets of blue under the pieris, whose pink-tinged leaves are margined with silver.

7b. Plants tolerant of
Acid Soils

Heather -
Daboecia cantabrica.

Herbaceous perennial -
Smilacina racemosa.

8a. Plants bst for
Clay Soils

Conifer -
Pinus mugo 'Mops'.

Herb -
Mentha longifolia.

Herbaceous perennials -
Geranium macrorrhizum.
Houttuynia cordata 'Chamaelon'.
Pulmonaria saccharata.

Shrubs -
Chaenomeles x superba.
Potentilla fruticosa 'Manchu'.
Skimmia x confusa 'Kew Green'.
Viburnum davidii.

More gardeners complain of trying to garden on heavy, sticky clay than on any other soil type. Often the problem has less to do with the geography of the site than with the builder who stripped the topsoil and, instead of stockpiling it to put back when the work was finished, sold it to another gardener in an equally new site of clay and rubble, who now marvels at the quality of the soil and the difference it makes to his garden. Hence the expression 'imported' topsoil - which is not foreign at all, just comes from up the road.

The good news is that clay soils are extremely fertile, with all the trace elements necessary to produce healthy plants. What preparatory work should be done with clay is detailed in the second table on the right.

It is not good practice to pit-plant into a clay soil any plants that have a weak or deeply penetrating root system, as the hard surrounding clay will act in the same way as a plastic pot, restricting the roots to the 'pit' of worked soil. Make as large a hole as possible, fork up the base of the hole, add grit or compost and plant strong-growing plants with shallow roots that spread at or just below ground level like mint or Pinus mugo 'Mops'.
The above is fine if you do not prepare the clay soil as I suggested in the second table on the right. If you do and leave it to settle for a month, then you can plant your ground cover in the soil in the normal way and it will grow well.

There is no shortage of plants that enjoy clay soils and given a little Tender Loving Care early on they will not only survive but really thrive on your worst nightmare of clay.

Ground cover plants for Clay Soils:-

  • The young foliage of Rodgersia podophylla is bronze, becoming mid-green as the season progresses and finally turning bronze-red in autumn.
  • Aucuba japonica 'Crotonifolia' provides a splash of colour throughout the year.

Good Combination

Viburnum davidii and Pinus mugo 'Mops' (a great dwarf pine for dense cover) are both evergreen and their foliage provides a complete contrast between large, glossy lraves and dull green leaves. Both male and female viburnum davidii plants are required if berries are to be produced.

8b. Plants tolerant of
Clay Soils

Herbaceous perennial -
Rodgersia podophylla.

Shrubs -
Aucuba japonica 'Crotonifolia'.
Choisya ternata.
Rubus tricolor.

9a. Plants best for
Dry Sandy Soils

Herbaceous perennials -
Erigeron 'Charity'.
Osteospermum jucundum.

Shrubs -
Ballota acetabulusa.
Brachyglottis compacta.
Cistus x purpureus.
Cytisus decumbens.
Potentilla fruticosa 'Manchu'

Dry, light, open sandy soils are not moisture-retentive, and are low in nutrients and humus, but to their advantage they are easily cultivated all year round and they warm up early in the season. It is actually enjoyable hoeing weeds growing up in a sandy soil because they uproot so easily.

Working masses of humus into the soil will gradually improve its structure and help retain moisture. Surface organic material mulches will also help, but the worm population is lower in sandy soil, so that you can't rely on them to transport the mulch down into the ground.

When you study the 2 Quartz Grain (2 grains of Sand) joined together by clay domains, bacterium and organic polymers in the soil structure diagram in the second table on the right, you can see that the Organic Polymers (in terms of humus or organic material mulch) is added to the sand but not the clay in the para above. So what will happen is as rain or irrigation is trickled through the ground then that Organic Polymers will be washed down, because they will not held in place by the clay, so you are wasting your time and money and that is Why you are continually losing the SOIL STRUCTURE so your soil - will revert to clay, chalk, sand or silt.
Perfect general use soil is composed of 8.3% lime (chalk), 16.6% humus, 25% clay and 50% sand, and as long as there is some clay and sand in the mixture then you will be able to create SOIL (add chalk or limestone to mix if your subsoil is chalk to create an alkaline soil mixture instead of an acid one - Spent Mushroom Compost has 2-4.5% Gypsum
(Gypsum reduces aluminium and boron toxicity in acidic soils. It also improves soil structure, improving water absorption and aeration. So it can be used to add some calcium to your new soil mixture),
not garbage. Use a cement mixer and put water into it, add the sand, then the clay and then the organic Polymer material
- if you require an acid mix then use well-rotted cow manure instead of spent mushroom compost -
after all the clay has dissolved. Add more water to make sure you end up with a pourable mixture for your wheelbarrow. Transport to the 6 inch (15 cm) depth trench and pour in and allow to settle for a week before doing any work on that filled trench and that allows it to become soil with bacteria and worms coming in from its sides.
If you have ended up with the builders 2 inches (5cm) of soil and turf on top, then have the subsoil analyzed and that will tell you what additional clay, sand, chalk or organic material to add to it to create a soil. Create the soil mixture and fill the trench, then replace the 2 inches (5cm) of soil and turf straight on top, before stepping back and creating the next trench about 3-4 inches away from the previous. Continue this until you reach the other side of your garden. You will then be using the same soil bacteria and worm population as in your locality and you will end up by creating over a 9 inch (23 cm) depth of topsoil a month later.
If you find bits of brick, lumps of concrete etc bigger than the size of a ping-pong ball, then separate these out. Put some water into the cement mixer and 3 shovels of pea-shingle followed by 3 shovel fulls of the lumps. Run the mixer for 10 minutes and you will find that those lumps will have been considerably reduced in size. Pour the resulting mixture into the trench bottom to a depth of 2 inches (5cms) and top up the trench with the new soil mixture.


Ground cover plants for dry sandy soils:-

  • Brachyglottis compacta 'Sunshine' makes a good windbreak in coastal gardens.
  • Santolina chamaecyparissus is often known as the cotton lavender because of its fluffy appearance. It provides aromatic foliage all year; with button-like yellow flowers in mid- to late summer.

Good Combination

Ballota acetabulosa and Potentilla fruticosa 'Tilford Cream' make a good combination of evergreen and deciduous leaves with the ballota plants dotted through the potentilla. Alternatively, if the ballot is planted in front, it will screen the potentilla's untidy winter appearance. The purple-pink and cream flowers blend well.
Ballota acetabulosa can be pruned in mid-spring to keep it compact.

9b. Plants tolerant of
Sandy Soil

Shrubs -
Potentilla fruticosa 'Tilford Cream'.
Santolina chamaecyparissus.

10a. Plants best for
Exposed Sites

Herbaceous perennials -
Anthemis punctata cupaniana.
Centranthus ruber.
Eryngium alpinum.
Kniphofia ensifolia.

Shrubs -
Escallonia 'Pride of Donard'.
Hebe x franciscana.

The exposed garden is an area that is open to the elements and that includes cold, biting winds, the glare of full sun, frost and snow.

There a few rules to stick to, to give your plants a good start

  • to plant them out in their permanent positions after the worst of the bad weather is over.
  • A good feed of liquid fertiliser at the start of the growing season will help, and
  • if your garden is subject to very cold weather in winter a feed high in potash in autumn will harden the young shoots. Evergreen shrubs are more susceptible to damage in winter than deciduous plants, since they are still active and growing.

A wider range of ground-covering plants can succeed with a more conducive habitat through the use of windbreaks and shelter belts, that can be created. Temporary shelter can be provided until the plants become established or aclimatised, or, if space permits, you can make a perimeter planting of species such as Bupleurum fruticosum and Elaegnus x ebbingei 'Limelight' that are tolerant of the conditions.

For the larger garden you could use the 3 lines of wind reduction as detailed in the Windbreak page or Hedge Laying as detailed in Hedge and Photos - Hedging sections. You can use hedging and screens to divide a windy garden into separate  ‘garden rooms’. Create shelter for different seating areas around the garden depending on which direction the wind is blowing from.

The more desirable landscaping can then be planted on the sheltered side. On windy sites, you may need to support taller plants with stakes and ties. Firm the plant roots into the soil after heavy frosts have broken up the surface, especially where low plants such as periwinkle are spread by runners. Peg them down with stones to keep them in place until they root.

In the northern hemisphere, ground-covering plants at the base of south-facing walls are very likely to dry out in summer. The walls draw in available moisture and the eaves of the house prevent rainfall from reaching the soil and at the same time the sun, when it appears, is at its hottest. Surface mulches will help to retain moisture - you can put a spent mushroom compost mulch down in early spring and top it up by putting grass mowings at 0.5 inch (1cm) depth on top once a month from early spring to early autumn.

Ground cover plants for Exposed Sites:-

  • Catananche caerulea can put up with anything even gale-force winds.
  • Striking in flower and foliage, the sea holly Erygium alpinum tolerates all but waterlogged conditions.
  • Hebe x franciscana is a great plant for the seaside. It is a compact shrub that can also be used as a low hedge.
  • Centranthus ruber will tolerate exposure, even growing out of the cracks in walls.

Good Combination

Escallonia 'Pride of Donard' and Olearia x haastii. Both are evergreen, the escallonia with shiny dark green leaves and red flowers in mid-summer, the olearia also with dark green foliage but with daisy-like flowers appearing after the escallonia, in late summer. Two tough shrubs guaranteed to flower.

10b. Plants tolerant of
Exposed Sites

Herbaceous perennials -
Agapanthus 'Dorothy Palmer'.
Catanche caerulea.
Centaurea cineraria.

Shrubs -
Bupleurum fruticosum.
Elaeagnus x ebbingei.
Olearia x haastii.

11a. Plants best for
Under Hedges

Ferns -
Athrium filix-femina.
Dryopteris affinis.
Polystichum setiferum.

Corm -
Crocosmia 'Solfatare'.

Herbaceous perennial -
Euphorbia amygdaloides robbiae.

Where low-growing carpeting plants are required at the base of hedges, there are problems. Usually the soil is impoverished, the roots of the hedge having depleted the ground of nutrients. An established hedge will continue to grow by sending its roots far out in search of food and moisture. For this reason the soil at the base of the hedges is likely to be bone dry and for a distance on either side as well. When it does rain the overhanging leaf cover acts as an umbrella, throwing the water well out beyond the sides of the hedge to be used by the hedge roots outstretched each side. Most of the food and water you provide for your ground cover plants will be taken by the hedge, encouraging excess growth, so it is more sensible to choose plants like those listed alongside that can tolerate the dry, poor soil that they have inherited.

Weed the ground under the hedge and for 36 inches (90cms) on each side; remembering to dig out the weed roots carefully using a Fiskars Solid Planters Weed Fork so as not to damage the roots of the hedge. Then apply a 4 inch (10cm) depth of the mulch mixture in Soil Formation - What is Soil Texture? page to the weeded area and sow a Green Manure like Medicago lupulina which sets seed freely and is low growing so ideal for undersowing the ground cover plants. After a month sow these groundcover plants within that 4 inch depth of mulch and water them in.

Good Combination

Crocosmia 'Solfatare' and Euphorbia amaygdaloides robbiae grow to about 24 inches (60 cm). The euphorbia is a rapidly spreading evergreen with dark green leathery foliage and greenish yellow 'flowers' in late spring and early summer. Crocosmia 'Solfatare' has attractive lance-shaped bronze foliage that dies away in autumn and apricot yellow flowers in summer. Together they provide interest all year round.

11b. Plants tolerant of
Under Hedges

Herbaceous perennials -
Anemone x hybrida.
Campanula latifolia 'Prichards Variety'.

Shrub -
Vinca major.

12a. Plants best for
Patios and Paths

Herb -
Thymus serpyllum.

Alpines -
Aubretia x cultorum 'Argenteo-variegata'.
Aurinia saxatalis 'Citrina'.
Gentiana verna.

Herbaceous perennials -
Geranium endressii.
Persicaria vacciniifolium.
Phlox douglasii.

Looking after some planted areas is usually worth the extra effort just to soften large masses of paving or other solid surfaces. Straight edges and defined boundaries can be broken up, allowing prostrate and creep-crawly ground-huggers to spread over the surface.

Check that the plants you buy are not too rampant and scamper over the patio. Cotoneaster 'Skogholm' and Rubus tricolor are 2 such plants that are quite capable of making a patio disappear in a flash, or certainly in a season or two. Paths can also be made more interesting by softening their edges, or planting small-leaved, compact-growing plants such as Thymus serpyllum into the gravel or between the cracks in the slabs. All the varieties of thyme are ideal for crevice-filling, providing aroma, flower and a wide range of leaf colour.

Where broken paving or flat slabs of rock are used to form hard surfaces the gaps are usually grouted with a cement-sand mix. If some random areas are left ungrouted a gritty mixture of soil can be used to fill the spaces which can then be planted with flat-growing scented plants such as chamomile that can tolerate being walked upon, releasing their aroma under the pressure of your feet.

With small patios where space is at a premium it is not a good idea to remove slabs at random for planting up, as this restricts both movement and the use of garden furniture. Simply plant around the perimeter of the patio and allow the plants to grow inwards, softening the edges.

Ground cover for Patios and Paths:-

  • Saxifraga 'Southside Seedling' is mat-forming and flowers in late spring and early summer.
  • A generous planting of Dianthus in the peashingle enjoys the dry, sunny conditions between the stepping stones and sleepers to soften the hard surfaces.
  • Gentiana verna forms an evergreen mat. Sadly, it is often short-lived.

Good Combinations:-

  • Aubretia x cultorum 'Argenteovariegata' and Aurinia saxatalis 'Citrina' are ideal for covering hard surfaces where the root area is restricted. The contrast between variegated and grey-green foliage and between mauve and yellow flowers is striking.
  • A secret garden carpeted with lamb's ears, mint, thyme and hosta alongside and between the stone slabbed patio. Clipped box adds shape and texture both in the ground withing that pation and along its edges but also in pots.
  • A pattern of stone and moss in the courtyard of Tokufuji Temple in Kyoto, Japan.

12b. Plants tolerant of
Patios and Paths

Herbaceous perennials -
Artemisia schmidtiana.
Saxifraga 'Southside Seedling'.

13a. Plants best for
Formal Gardens

Heather -
Calluna vulgaris 'Alba Rigida'

Herbaceous perennials -
Ajuga reptans 'Multicolor'.
Pachysandra terminalis 'Green Carpet'.
Pachysandra terminalis 'Variegata'.
Persicaria vacciniifolia.

Knot or Knotte gardens - formed by planting low hedges in intricate patterns, usually interweaving and comparitively informal - have been with us since Elizabethan times. Parterres, which originated in France and are more formal, with dwarf plants forming rectangular patterns, became popular in Britain in the Victorian and Edwardian periods.

Many of the early knot gardens used gravel, brick, cobbles or even clinker ash from the hothouse boilers of the big house to colour in and surface the beds formed between the dwarf hedges that were usually of box. Later, local authority parks departments planted elaborate parterres, using annuals on a massive scale to form huge colourful displays. Today ground-covering plants are in demand for this sort of design. A selection of plants to give a subtly coloured effect may include Ajuga, Vinca, heathers, Pachysandra and Santolina.

Formal gardens with intricate patterns are best viewed from above, so if you haven't got a castle or even a two-storey house it is best to site your knot garden or parterre at the bottom of a slope. Maintenance is remarkably easy once the cover is complete, leaving clipping of the formal dwarf hedging the only regular task.

Of course if you wanted to jazz it up with exciting colours of foliage, why not use Coleus bedding or Annuals from:-

Coleus Bedding Foliage Trial Folder
from Plant Trials Field in RHS Garden
at Wisley taken on
2 October 2013
, plus Tables of Annuals with/for:-
2, Blue to Purple Flowers
3, Red to Pink Flowers 1, 2
4, Green Flowers
5, Black or Brown Flowers
6, Yellow, and Orange Flowers
7, White Flowers
9, Low-Growing
11, Medium-Growing
12, Tall-Growing
13, Heat-Tolerant
14, Moist Soil
15, Shade
16, Indoors
17, Cutting
18, Naturalize
19, Decorative Foliage
20, Edging
21, Fragrance
22, Hanging Baskets
23, Vining
24, Wildflower Meadows
25, Coastal Gardens
26, Mounded Habit
27, Erect Habit
28, Clump-Forming Habit
29, Compact/Bushy Habit
30, Spreading/Sprawling Habit
31, To Cover Fences
32, Odds and Sods 1, 2
Coleus Bedding Trial Index
Range, Culture and Description Details of each of the above are within
Essential Annuals The 100 best for Design and Cultivation.
Text by Elizabeth Murray. Photography by Derek Fell.
Published by Crescent Books in 1989. ISBN 0-517-66177-2


Bedding Gallery has
other bedding plants, in their
flower colour,
flower shape and
bedding plant use

Good Combination:-

  • Each defined area usually has a mass planting of one species and one colour. The areas are separated by low hedges, often of Buxus.
  • For good mixtures of leaf and flower colour Ajuga, Persicaria and Alchemilla all combine to make a good design.
  • Formal box hedging round a vegetable bed struggles in vain to contain a very informal marrow.
  • Box hedging can be interplanted with a selection of sages (Salvia officinalis)
  • Spring bedding lends colour to a formal terraced garden, complete with coloured gravel and box topiary - see bedding and annuals below.

Topic - Flower/Foliage Colour
Colour Wheel Galleries
Following your choice using Garden Style then that changes your Plant Selection Process
Garden Style
Infill Plants
...12 Bloom Colours per Month Index
12 Foliage Colours per Month Index
All Plants Index
Cultivation, Position, Use Index
Shape, Form

Further details on Bedding from the
Infill Plants Galleries of the above topic:-
for Spring
for Summer
for Autumn
for Winter
for Sandy Soil
for Acid Soil
for Chalky Soil
for Clay Soil
...Flower Colour:-
...Use of Bedding:-
Aromatic Fol
Scented Flo
Long Flo
Coloured Fol
for Bees, etc
Cut Flos
Hanging Pot
Pots/ Troughs
Window Box
Bedding Out
Filling in
Further details on Annuals from the Infill Galleries:-
Uses of Annuals
Exposed Sites
Sheltered Sites
in Greenhouse
Extra Poor Soil
Very Rich Soil
Gap Filling
Patio Pots
Cut Flowers 1, 2
Everlasting Flos
Attract Insects
with Fragrance
Bee Pollinated
Annual Pairing
Tall Growing
...Flower Colour:-
for its Foliage
in Moist Soil
in Shade
as Houseplants
Edging Beds
Hanging Basket
Vining Annuals

13b. Plants tolerant of
Formal Gardens

Herb -
Thymus serpyllum 'Pink Chintz'.

Alpine -
Alchemilla alpina.

Shrubs -
Daphne cneorum.
Santolina chamaecyparissus.
Vinca minor variegata.

14a. Plants best for
Around Swimming Pools and Tennis Courts

Climber -
Hedera hibernica.

Alpine -

Herbaceous perennials -
Aegopodium padagraria 'Variegata'.

Shrub -
Vinca major

Quite often it is desirable to have an area of soft landscaping in the vicinity of a swimming pool to soften the traditional paved zone that surrounds it. Grass is not ideal close to the water, as some of the mowings are inevitably carried into the water by wind or bare feet, and will necessitate daily hoovering to remove them. Thorny and spiky-leaved plants should also be set well back. Evergreen material will provide year-round structure without dying leaves blowing into the pool, and quick-growing plants to cover the soil are a must. The design should also allow for some plants that will appear to raise the temperature such as Yucca flaccida. If the pool is in full sun, lavenders, cistus and helianthemums will all do well.

Tennis courts are often built into the side of sloping land, resulting in a steep bank at one end and partly round 2 sides. Such banks are difficult to maintain as mown grass and yet the grass has to be kept short or balls cannot be found. The answer is to plant the slope with extremely low-growing vegetation that won't conceal the ball and will withstand trampling and bashing with the racquet. A very forgiving plant that comes to mind is variegated ground elder Aegopdium podagraria 'Variegata'. It tends to die down in winter and is quite as aggressive as its big brother the green-leaved weed pest ground elder or bishop weed, but it still needs to be kept under control and well back from an all-weather surface.

Good Combination:-

  • Helianthemum 'Wisley Primrose' and Erica carnea 'Springwood White' provide late spring colour. Low-growing and evergreen, their combination of yellow and white flowers are great spring colours.
  • A riot of ground covering for summer show around a swimming pool - hostas, roses (tucked well away from bare feet) violas, campanulas, delphiniums, Lychnis, Verbascum and Hypericum.
  • Erica carnea 'Springwood White' is low-growing and can tolerate a lot of trampling over if you have to retrieve tennis balls.

14b. Plants tolerant of areas
Around Swimming Pools and Tennis Courts

Heather -
Erica carnea 'Springwood White'.

Shrubs -
Cotoneaster dammeri.
Cotoneaster 'Skogholm'.


Why grass/lawn should never be used as a groundcover in a flower/ topfruit/ vegetable or a single specimen bed, because it takes all the rain that falls on it and any nutrients applied onto it, leaving nothing for the roots of the plants under it.


Remove any grass - using a fork - in the shaded area because it absorbs most of the rainfall before it can reach either the tree roots or the roots of your groundcover:-
"Most turf grass roots are concentrated in the first 6-8 inches (15-20 cms) of soil. Try to irrigate only one or two inches of water per week during the turf growing season. You could irrigate the whole amount of water at one time, however most folks have better results splitting the amount into two separate applications.  Please note however in sandy soils where the water percolates more rapidly it may benefit you to split the applications into three separate irrigation cycles.  You do not want to irrigate more than three times a week because you would be applying so little water the outcome would be shallow roots."

"Native Grass Meadow
MARSHALL SILTY CLAY LOAM (HEAVY SUBSOIL PHASE) These plots (18-20) were located in an area that is in native grasses and has never been plowed, but being within a cemetery area has had frequent mowing. It adjoins the Agronomy Farm at Lincoln, Nebraska. T ests on these native grass plots (Table 1) showed that they absorbed over 2 inches of water during the first 1.5 hours with an absorption rate of about 1.4 inches per hour at the end of this time. Following a delay of 10 days during which there was no rain-fall, water was again applied to the test areas with practically the same results as for the previous test. It will be shown later that if the second test is made only 1 day after the first, the rate of intake will be materially reduced. This seems to be due to the settling of soil immediately after wetting. Upon longer standing the soil seems to resume its original condition."


Why seaweed is a necessary ingredient for gardens - It contains every trace element that any plant requires and it also has other ingredients to aid your plants.


I have used Maxicrop and its benefits of using seaweed extracts for the garden are great,
and so I asked Mike Garner of Maxicrop to produce the following:-
Post: Maxicrop (UK) Limited, P.O.Box 6027, Corby NN17 1ZH
Telephone: 08700 115 117   Fax: 08700 115 118  
Registered Office: Oakley House, Headway Business Park, 3 Saxon Way West, Corby, Northants NN18 9EZ. Registered in England No. 03818182

Weblink is https://maxicrop.com with its product range.

Maxicrop Original

The original seaweed extract plant growth stimulant. Approved for organic growing by the Soil Association.
Maxicrop Original helps stimulate natural plant growth and boosts healthy root development. It can help improve seed emergence and establishment, aids rooting, alleviates transplant shock and helps build resistance to pests, diseases and drought stress.
Maxicrop Original can be used on all plant types and can be used on seeds, young plants, at planting out and on mature plants. It can be used all round the garden, including lawns, from early spring right through until the autumn.






Maxicrop Seaweed Meal

This is a dried seaweed, milled into powder form and is approved by the Soil Association for use in organic growing systems.
Seaweed meal helps improve soil condition, supplies minerals and trace elements and can be used to activate compost heaps. It can help make valuable compost, encourages fertiliser uptake and helps increase the plant’s tolerance of pests and disease. Seaweed meal can be used on all garden soils, as a soil conditioner, as well as being used on lawns and compost heaps. Apply anytime from spring to autumn.

Maxicrop Cal-Sea-Feed
This can be used as a sustainable alternative to calcified seaweed and is a blend of seaweed meal and natural calcium compounds. Cal-Sea-Feed helps neutralise acid soils, improves soil structure and supplies minerals. It is formulated to give the benefits of calcified seaweed without the

environmental concerns. Approved by the Soil Association.

Cal-Sea-maxicroplettuce1Feed can be used on heavy clay soils, to help improve soil structure and on soils where acidity needs to be reduced. Apply anytime from spring to autumn.

Maxicrop Take Root
Natural seaweed extract rooting liquid and transplant aid. Take Root helps improve survival and rooting of cuttings and transplants. It helps improve root mass, boosts plant survival and health and is approved for organic gardening (Soil Association approved). Take root can be used on all cuttings and transplants.


Maxicrop Compost Maker
A unique liquid formulation, made from natural seaweed and land plant extracts. Compost Maker boosts the activity of naturally occurring composting microbes. This highly efficient liquid application helps produce rich compost in weeks from garden and kitchen waste. Soil Association certified product.






Sea Magic Organics wrote the majority of the following on their website about seaweed:-
The use of seaweed in farming and agriculture has a long history. Seaweed has always been harvested in coastal areas to be used as mulch in vegetable gardens and to supplement feed for animals.
It was not until after World War II that systematic research into the benefits of seaweed took place. Even though seaweed has been researched for over 50 years now, the exact mechanism through which seaweed exerts its positive influence is still not fully known.
Initially, the thought was that the benefits derived from seaweed use were mainly caused by the trace elements.
Seaweed contains all elements. Some in substantial amounts like potassium, but most only in trace amounts. Minerals leach out through the effect of weathering from all landmasses. In the long term these elements invariably find their way into the sea, where they are used by the plants growing there. In seawater you find a natural blend of all the minerals available on earth. Unfortunately seawater contains levels of Sodium Chloride (Salt) that are too high for land-based plants to tolerate in any substantial amount, otherwise seawater would be an ideal fertiliser.
Sandy soils are leached of most of their trace elements and therefore gardeners can have the most potential benefit of using sea minerals in the form of seaweeds and fish. These nutrients are high in the same elements that have been steadily leached and eroded from the soil.
Seaweeds, unlike plants growing in soil, take up the majority of their nutrients from the medium they live in: the seawater. They absorb nutrients directly into their tissues. The 'roots' on seaweed have the main function of anchoring the plant. Seaweed takes up all the trace elements, and stores them in a bio-available, or chelated form. This means that when the breakdown products of seaweed are presented to a plant it will be able to utilise these nutrients. Chelation is a process of incorporating a mineral element in a protein molecule to stop it from reacting with its environment. This means it is in a stable form, and won't react with other elements in the soil, which could make it unavailable to plants.
For most of the trace elements scientists have not worked out exactly what role they play in human, animal or plant nutrition. Until fairly recently only the trace elements Zinc, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum and Copper were considered to be relevant for human and plant health. Now this list has been expanded to around 20 elements, but the majority of trace elements are still 'irrelevant' according to major nutritionists.
It is not inconceivable that in future the role of more elements might be discovered. The same goes for plant nutrition. The role of most chemical elements is unknown, but supplementation of even the most obscure elements in trace amounts give substantial boosts in yields and in plant health. It is therefore a good idea to provide the widest range of elements to plants that you can think of. Even elements that are considered to be toxic might play an important role if they are provided in trace amounts. In this way seaweed fertilisers act as a 'nutrition insurance', you know that all the trace elements, even the ones you don't know exactly the function of, are provided. Liquid concentrates are usually applied in such limited amounts that there is no fear for toxicity.
Liquid seaweed concentrate is used either as a soil conditioner or as a foliar fertiliser. It can be applied in concentrated form or much diluted. Use of liquid concentrate for soil conditioning gives quick results, but not necessarily long lasting. For problem soils; a seaweed meal might be more beneficial in the longer term. The cost of seaweed meal applications are considerably higher than for concentrate applications, which is a point that has to be taken into consideration for larger gardens.
Liquid extract is used for almost immediate effects. When applied as a foliar spray the nutrients are directly available to the plant, but as a foliar application also causes the plants to increase its uptake of soil nutrients through the roots there is a longer term effect as well.
The importance of trace elements lies mainly in their role in the formation of enzymes. Enzymes play an important role in all living organisms because they act as catalysts, without which many important functions such as the sugar production in plants would not take place. Most enzymes contain an inorganic compound. Often there is just one atom of a metal in the complex molecules with dozens and sometimes hundreds of atoms of Carbon and Hydrogen. Without this one metal atom in each of these enzymes it would not be able to function at all. Without these atoms of metals the enzymes could not function, the organism would not function properly either and start to show signs of disease. Sometimes these elements are only needed in concentrations of 1 in one-million or one in ten-million or even less. They are still needed and if not provided the whole system could be harmed.
Another major component in liquid seaweed extracts are the hormones. The main hormones in seaweed are auxins, gibbelerins, cytokinins and betaines. The roles of these hormones are also essential to plant health.
Most of them are required in only very small proportions. They occur naturally. Plants are sometimes able to produce these hormones themselves. There are many different auxins and they all have their specific roles. Their main functions are the balanced control of speed of growth. They have both growth stimulating as well as delaying functions. They stimulate root-growth, prevent bud-forming or opening at the wrong times.
Seaweeds can even play an important role in the production of the plant's own auxins, because the enzymes formed with the help of trace elements from the seaweed often play an important role in the formation of these auxins.
Cytokinins are another powerful group of plant hormones. They initiate and activate basic growth processes. The cytokinins available in seaweed stimulate growth with greater vigour, because they mobilise nutrients in the leaves. They also provide protection from marginal frost (to -3 C). Cytokinins also retard the senescence (aging processes) in the plant.
Betaines play an important role in the osmotic processes in plants. They help to increase the water uptake in plants and are extremely helpful in dry or saline conditions. Betaines are particularly helpful to plants in stress.

Soil conditioner
Seaweed and especially the alginates in the seaweed act as soil-conditioners. The alginates react with metals in the soil and form long and cross-linked polymers in the soil. These polymers improve the crumbing in the soil, and swell up when they get wet, and retain moisture for a long period.

Foliar feeding
Nutrients are absorbed through leaves more speedily than through its roots. A foliar spray can also work as a stimulant for the plant to take the nutrients up through its root system.
Seaweed and /or fish emulsion sprayed on a bed can have an almost instant effect on the health of the plants. A dramatic increase can be achieved overnight.
Many farmers use the fish and/or seaweed as soon as they find the start of a pest infestation. The day after the foliar application the pest have usually disappeared or are not feeding.

Seaweed should not be seen as a panacea for every ill. On some gardens, especially the ones with low pH (Highly Acidic) or extremely low Calcium levels (Peaty soils), there has been hardly any benefit in applying seaweed and fish.

Combining seaweed extracts with fish emulsion
Fish emulsion, with its high Nitrogen content complements seaweed extracts well. Fish emulsion also supplies bulk organic matter, which helps to buffer the nutrients available in seaweed. In combination they provide both the trace elements, main nutrients and essential hormones.
In recent research, fish emulsion by itself has been shown to increase the growth of plants through the stimulation of some bacteria strains. The bacterial and actinomycete isolates were capable of producing auxins, gibberellins and cytokinins and appeared to use fish emulsion as a source of nutrients and precursors for these Plant Growth Regulators( PGR). PGR levels in plants following combined treatments of the bacterial and actinomycete isolates and fish emulsion were found to be significantly enhanced over other treatments. The effect of fish emulsion appeared to be more related to its role as a nutrient base for the bacterial and actinomycete isolates rather than to the increased activity of the general microflora of treated soil. According to the research report this was the first report of fish emulsion as a nutrient base for plant growth promoting rhizobacteria. These results also indicate that the successful treatment can be effective and economical for horticultural production, especially in sandy soils (Khaled A. El-Tarabily: Fish emulsion as a food base for rhizobacteria promoting growth of radish (Raphanus sativus L. var. sativus) in a sandy soil).
At Sea Magic Organics we use mainly shark as input for our liquid fish fertiliser, and use a natural, enzymatic digestive process to hydrolyse the fish. Because we use mainly shark, we have to avoid using the fatty tissues and the livers, as sharks are at the top of the food chain and tend to accumulate the toxins in their livers and in fatty tissue. Our product therefore does not have the thick consistency of other fish emulsions, but as the meat is completely digested the final product is completely liquid and still contains a considerable amount of oil.
The enzymatic digestive process is anaerobic. Because of this the final product has a distinctive anaerobic smell. We are currently working on different microbial cultures that are still anaerobic, but produce a less offensive smell. The process needs to be anaerobic, because in an aerobic process too many nutrients would become volatile, and in an anaerobic environment a substantial content of auxins is preserved/created.

PO Box 251,Coffs Harbour. 2450, Ph 02 6652 3131 • Fax 02 6652 3132, enquiries@seamagic.com.au








Height in inches (cms):-

25.4mm = 1 inch
304.8mm = 12 inches
12 inches = 1 foot
3 feet = 1 yard
914.4mm = 1 yard

I normally round this to
25mm = 1 inch
300mm = 30 cms = 12 inches =1 foot,
900 mm = 3 feet = 1 yard and
1000mm = 100 cms = 1 metre = 40 inches


Site design and content copyright ©December 2006. Page structure changed September 2012. Height x Spread in feet changed to Height x Spread in inches (cms) May 2015. Data added to existing pages December 2017. Zone and Companion Data added April 2022. Chris Garnons-Williams.

DISCLAIMER: Links to external sites are provided as a courtesy to visitors. Ivydene Horticultural Services are not responsible for the content and/or quality of external web sites linked from this site.  















































































Site Map

Plant Selection
Level 1
Bee Forage Plants
Attracts Bird/Butterfly
Photos - Butterfly

Bee Pollinated Plants for Hay Fever Sufferers
0-24 inches
(0-60 cms)
24-72 inches
(60-180 cms)
Above 72 inches
(180 cms)
Photos - Bloom per Month
Blooms Nov-Feb
Blooms Mar-May
Blooms Jun-Aug 1, 2
Blooms Sep-Oct

Poisonous Cultivated and UK Wildflower Plants with Photos
Cultivated Poisonous Plants

Wildflower Poisonous Plants

Rabbit-Resistant Plant
Flower Arranging
Photos - Wildflowers


Plant Selection
Level 2
Info - Any Soil
Any Soil A-F
Any Soil G-L
Any Soil M-R
Any Soil S-Z

- Chalky Soil
Chalky Soil A-F 1
Chalky Soil A-F 2
Chalky Soil A-F 3
Chalky Soil G-L
Chalky Soil M-R
Chalky Soil Roses
Chalky Soil S-Z
Chalky Soil Other

Info - Clay Soil
Clay Soil A-F
Clay Soil G-L
Clay Soil M-R
Clay Soil S-Z
Clay Soil Other

Info - Lime-Free (Acid) Soil
Lime-Free (Acid) A-F 1
Lime-Free (Acid) A-F 2
Lime-Free (Acid) A-F 3
Lime-Free (Acid) G-L
Lime-Free (Acid) M-R
Lime-Free (Acid) S-Z

Info - Sandy Soil
Sandy Soil A-F 1
Sandy Soil A-F 2
Sandy Soil A-F 3
Sandy Soil G-L
Sandy Soil M-R
Sandy Soil S-Z

Info - Peaty Soils
Peaty Soil A-F
Peaty Soil G-L
Peaty Soil M-R
Peaty Soil S-Z

Following parts of Level 2a,
Level 2b,
Level 2c and
Level 2d are included in separate columns
together with
Acid Soil,
Alkaline Soil,
Any Soil,
Height and Spread,
Flowering Months and
Flower Colour in their Columns,
and also
Companion Plants to aid this plant Page,
Alpine Plant for Rock Garden Index Page
Native to UK WildFlower Plant in its Family Page in this website

Level 2cc
in the Comment Column
within each
of the Soil Type Pages of
Level 2

Explanation of Structure of this Website with User Guidelines Page for those photo galleries with Photos (of either ones I have taken myself or others which have been loaned only for use on this website from external sources)


Plant Selection by Plant Requirements
Level 2a
Sun aspect, Moisture

Plant Selection by Form
Level 2b
Tree Growth Shape
Rounded / Spherical
Flattened Spherical
Narrow Conical
Broad Pyramidal
Ovoid / Egg
Broad Ovoid
Narrow Vase
Broad Fan
Narrow Weeping
Broad Weeping
Single-stem Palm
Multi-stem Palm
Shrub/Perennial Growth Habit
Prostrate / Trailing
Cushion / Mound
Spreading / Creeping
Erect or Upright

Plant Selection by Garden Use
Level 2c
Photos - Bedding
Bog Garden
Coastal Conditions
Containers in Garden
Front of Border
Edibles in Containers
Hanging Basket
Photos - Hedging
Pollution Barrier 1, 2
Rest of Border
Rock Garden
Photos - Rock Garden
Thorny Hedge

Plant Selection by Garden Use
Level 2cc Others
Back of Shady Border
Crevice Garden
Desert Garden
Raised Bed
Scree Bed
Specimen Plant
Trees for Lawns
Trees for Small Garden
Photos - Wildflowers

Plant Selection by Plant Type
Level 2d
Photos - Evergr Per
Photos - Herbac Per
Photos - RHS Herbac
Photos - Rock Garden
Photos - Bamboo

Photos - Bulb
Photos - Climber
Deciduous Rhizome
Deciduous Shrub
Photos - Decid Shrub
Evergreen Perennial
Photos - Evergr Per

Evergreen Shrub
0-24 inches 1, 2, 3
24-72 inches 1, 2, 3
Above 72 inches 1, 2

Semi-Evergreen Shrub
Photos - Evergr Shrub
Photos - Fern
Fruit Plant
Herbaceous Perennial
Photos - Herbac Per
Remaining Top Fruit
Soft Fruit
Top Fruit
Photos - Vegetable


Photos - with its link; provides a link to its respective Plant Photo Gallery in this website to provide comparison photos.
Click on required comparison page and then centre of selected plant thumbnail. Further details on that plant will be shown in a separate Plant Description webpage.
Usually the Available from Mail Order Plant Nursery link will link you to the relevant page on that website.
I started this website in 2005 - it is possible that those particular links no longer connect, so you may need to search for that plant instead.

When I started, a click on the centre of the thumbnail ADDED the Plant Description Page, now I CHANGE the page instead. Mobile phones do not allow ADDING a page, whereas stand alone computers do. The User Guidelines Page shows which Plant Photo Galleries have been modified to CHANGE rather than ADD.


Plant Selection by
Flower Colour
Level 3a

Blue Flowers
Photos -
Evergr Per
Evergr Shrub
Wild Flower

Orange Flowers
Photos -
Wild Flower

Other Colour Flowers
Photos -
Evergr Per
Evergr Shrub
Wild Flower

Red Flowers
Photos -
Decid Shrub
Evergr Per
Evergr Shrub
Herbac Per
Wild Flower

White Flowers
Photos -
Decid Shrub
Decid Tree
Evergr Per
Evergr Shrub
Herbac Per
Wild Flower

Yellow Flowers
Photos -
Decid Shrub
Evergr Per
Evergr Shrub
Herbac Per
Wild Flower

Photos - 53 Colours in its Colour Wheel Gallery

Photos - 12 Flower Colours per Month in its Bloom Colour Wheel Gallery

Plant Selection by Flower Shape
Level 3b

Photos -
Evergr Per
Herbac Per

Plant Selection by Foliage Colour
Level 3c

Aromatic Foliage
Finely Cut Leaves
Large Leaves
Non-Green Foliage 1
Non-Green Foliage 2
Sword-shaped Leaves

Plant Selection by Pruning Requirements
Level 4

Pruning Plants

Plant Selection Level 5

Plant Name - A from Ground Cover a thousand beautiful plants for difficult places by John Cushnie
ISBN 1 85626 326 6

Plant Name - B
Plant Name - C
Plant Name - D with Ground Cover. How to use flowering and foliage plants to cover areas of soil by Mineke Kurpershoek.
ISBN 1 901094 41 3
Plant combinations for normal garden soil.
Plant combinations for sandy soil.
Plant combinations for clay soil.
Plant combinations for Woodland, heaths and wet soil.
Shrubs for slopes and large beds.

Plant Name - E
Plant Name - F
Plant Name - G
Plant Name - H
Plant Name - I How about using staging in your unheated greenhouse and stock it with bulbs and ferns for looking at from the house from autumn to spring, before using it for salads during the spring/summer from The Culture of Bulbs, Bulbous Plants and Tubers Made Plain by Sir J. L. Cotter.
Plant Name - J
Plant Name - K
Plant Name - L If you have no garden but only a concrete or tarmac area why not use 1 of the 8 Garden on a Roll garden borders and then maintain your garden using their Maintaining your border instructions.
Plant Name - M Importance of providing a mulch with the ground cover
Plant Name - N
Plant Name - O
Plant Name - P
Plant Name - Q
Plant Name - R
Plant Name - S
Plant Name - T
Plant Name - U
Plant Name - V
Plant Name - W
Plant Name - XYZ with 14 Special Situations. Ground cover plants for:-
1 Dry Shade
2 Damp Shade
3 Full Sun
4 Banks and Terraces
5 Woodland
6 Alkaline Sites
7 Acid Sites
8 Heavy Clay Soil
9 Dry Sandy Soil
10 Exposed Sites
11 Under Hedges
12 Patios and Paths
13 Formal Gardens
14 Swimming Pools and Tennis Courts
Why grass/lawn should never be used as a groundcover
Why seaweed is a necessary ingredient for gardens

Groundcover Height
0-24 inches
(0-60 cms)
24-72 inches
(60-180 cms)
Above 72 inches
(180 cms)

Then, finally use

aid your plant selected or to
deter Pests
Plant Selection Level 6


To locate mail-order nursery for plants from the UK in this gallery try using search in RHS Find a Plant.

To locate plants in the European Union (EU) try using Search Term in Gardens4You and Meilland Richardier in France.

To locate mail-order nursery for plants from America in this gallery try using search in Plant Lust.

To locate plant information in Australia try using Plant Finder in Gardening Australia.

To see what plants that I have described in this website see
Plant Botanical Index
...A, B, C, D, E,
...F, G, H, I, J, K,
...L, M, N, O, P, Q,
...R, S, T, U, V, W,
...X, Y, Z



Top ten plants that are bad for bees from Countryfile Magazine

"Lavender, alliums, fuschias, sweet peas - keen gardeners know the very best flowers to entice bees to their gardens. But what about plants that are  bad for bees? Here is our expert guide to the top ten plants that you should avoid to keep bees happy and buzzing, plus the perfect alternatives.

1. Rhododendron
Spectacular and beautiful, not many people know the common rhododendron hides a poisonous secret – its nectar is toxic to bees. It’s common practice for beekeepers to keep their hives closed until the flowering season is over. The resulting honey from rhododendrons has also been known to contaminate honey, making it unsafe for humans to eat.
Alternative: Clematis have beautiful, wide flowers and are 100 per cent bee-friendly.

2. Azalea
Rhododendron’s sister, azaleas are also toxic to bees.
Alternative: Foxgloves (Digitalis) are a bee favourite and despite being poisonous if consumed by humans, they are both honey and bee safe.

3. Trumpet flower, or angel’s trumpet (Brugmansia suaveolens)
Though ornamental and sweet smelling, the trumpet flower’s nectar can cause brood death in bees and is best avoided.
Alternative: Try honeysuckle (Lonicera) instead for deliciously scented results.

4. Oleander (Nerium oleander)
Harmful to butterflies as well as bees, oleander has a severe effect on hives. Nectar taken to the hive concentrates as it dries out, which increases the amount of toxins and usually results in a mass hive wipeout. 
Alternative: Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) are equally as bright and arguably more attractive in small or large gardens.

5. Yellow Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens)
Pleasantly aromatic and attractive as they are, bees are often poisoned by the vines and flowers of the yellow jessamine and its toxins are said to be as severe as hemlock.
Alternative: Plant Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) in tubs and along fences for a pretty, easy-to-grow substitute.

6. Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)
Part of the blueberry family, the mountain laurel is an evergreen shrub with sweet, white or pink flowers when in bloom. Pretty they may be, but the honey produced by mountain laurel is toxic to humans and is often bitter tasting.
Alternative: Lilacs (Syringa) are both beautiful and wonderfully sweet smelling. Easy to grow and are loved by bees and butterflies. 

7. Stargazer lily (Lilium 'Stargazer')
Stunning but deadly to cats, stargazer lilies’ pollen is poisonous to bees.
Alternative: Hollyhocks (Alcea) are impressive and just as beautiful as the stargazer but bee-friendly.

8. Heliconia Exotic and interesting, heliconia, or lobster-claws as its sometimes called, is very toxic to bees. You should not prune your heliconias, as the 'stem' is actually made up of rolled leaf bases and the flowers emerge from the top of these 'pseudostems'. However, each stem will only flower once, so after flowering you can cut that stem out. This is recommended, to encourage more flowering, to increase airflow in between the stems of your plant, and also to generally tidy it up and improve the appearance.
Alternative: Although not quite as exotic, hyacinths are fragrant, gorgeous and easy to grow. Hyacinth bulbs are poisonous; they contain oxalic acid. Handling hyacinth bulbs can cause mild skin irritation. Protective gloves are recommended.

9. Bog rosemary (Andromeda polifolia -
All parts of the plant contain andromedotoxin and are considered poisonous)
Not to be confused with the herb, bog rosemary is acutely poisonous and the honey produced from the nectar of Andromeda polifolia contains high enough levels of grayanotoxin to cause full body paralysis and potentially fatal breathing difficulties due to diaphragm paralysis.
Alternative: Why not try planting a classic rosemary bush (Rosmarinus officinalis) – aromatic, resilient and favoured by bees.

10. Amaryllis (Hippeastrum)
Now most commonly recognised as decorative Christmas flowers, amaryllis are gorgeous in bloom but their pollen produces toxic honey. Bulbs, chewing or ingestion of the bulbs, leaves or flowers poisons goats and sheep with Lycorine (An emetic) and small amounts of alkaloids.
Alternative: Dahlias are a highlight of late summer gardens. Beautiful and simple to grow, dahlias often flower until the first frosts of the year."

This is another list of Plants toxic to bees, which includes:-
Aesculus californica,
Astralagus species,
Cuscuta species,
Cyrilla racemiflora,
Solanum nigram,
Veratrum cailfornicum,
Zygadenus cenesosus,
Corynocarpus laevigata,
Angelica triqueta,
Astralagus lentiginosus,
Camellia thea,
Ochrama lagopus,
Sophora microphylla,
Tillia species,
Verartrum californicum,
Asclepias species,
Astralagus miser v. serotibus.


The following details come from Cactus Art:-

"A flower is the the complex sexual reproductive structure of Angiosperms, typically consisting of an axis bearing perianth parts, androecium (male) and gynoecium (female).    

Bisexual flower show four distinctive parts arranged in rings inside each other which are technically modified leaves: Sepal, petal, stamen & pistil. This flower is referred to as complete (with all four parts) and perfect (with "male" stamens and "female" pistil). The ovary ripens into a fruit and the ovules inside develop into seeds.

Incomplete flowers are lacking one or more of the four main parts. Imperfect (unisexual) flowers contain a pistil or stamens, but not both. The colourful parts of a flower and its scent attract pollinators and guide them to the nectary, usually at the base of the flower tube.



Androecium (male Parts or stamens)
It is made up of the filament and anther, it is the pollen producing part of the plant.
Anther This is the part of the stamen that produces and contains pollen. 
Filament This is the fine hair-like stalk that the anther sits on top of.
Pollen This is the dust-like male reproductive cell of flowering plants.

Gynoecium (female Parts or carpels or pistil)
 It is made up of the stigma, style, and ovary. Each pistil is constructed of one to many rolled leaflike structures.
This is the part of the pistil  which receives the pollen grains and on which they germinate. 
This is the long stalk that the stigma sits on top of ovary. 
The part of the plant that contains the ovules. 
The part of the ovary that becomes the seeds. 

The colorful, often bright part of the flower (corolla). 
The parts that look like little green leaves that cover the outside of a flower bud (calix). 
(Undifferentiated "Perianth segment" that are not clearly differentiated into sepals and petals, take the names of tepals.)"




The following details come from Nectary Genomics:-

"NECTAR. Many flowering plants attract potential pollinators by offering a reward of floral nectar. The primary solutes found in most nectars are varying ratios of sucrose, glucose and fructose, which can range from as little a 8% (w/w) in some species to as high as 80% in others. This abundance of simple sugars has resulted in the general perception that nectar consists of little more than sugar-water; however, numerous studies indicate that it is actually a complex mixture of components. Additional compounds found in a variety of nectars include other sugars, all 20 standard amino acids, phenolics, alkaloids, flavonoids, terpenes, vitamins, organic acids, oils, free fatty acids, metal ions and proteins.

NECTARIES. An organ known as the floral nectary is responsible for producing the complex mixture of compounds found in nectar. Nectaries can occur in different areas of flowers, and often take on diverse forms in different species, even to the point of being used for taxonomic purposes. Nectaries undergo remarkable morphological and metabolic changes during the course of floral development. For example, it is known that pre-secretory nectaries in a number of species accumulate large amounts of starch, which is followed by a rapid degradation of amyloplast granules just prior to anthesis and nectar secretion. These sugars presumably serve as a source of nectar carbohydrate.

WHY STUDY NECTAR? Nearly one-third of all worldwide crops are dependent on animals to achieve efficient pollination. In addition, U.S. pollinator-dependent crops have been estimated to have an annual value of up to $15 billion. Many crop species are largely self-incompatible (not self-fertile) and rely almost entirely on animal pollinators to achieve full fecundity; poor pollinator visitation has been reported to reduce yields of certain species by up to 50%."


The following details about DOUBLE FLOWERS comes from Wikipedia:-

"Double-flowered" describes varieties of flowers with extra petals, often containing flowers within flowers. The double-flowered trait is often noted alongside the scientific name with the abbreviation fl. pl. (flore pleno, a Latin ablative form meaning "with full flower"). The first abnormality to be documented in flowers, double flowers are popular varieties of many commercial flower types, including roses, camellias and carnations. In some double-flowered varieties all of the reproductive organs are converted to petals — as a result, they are sexually sterile and must be propagated through cuttings. Many double-flowered plants have little wildlife value as access to the nectaries is typically blocked by the mutation.


There is further photographic, diagramatic and text about Double Flowers from an education department - dept.ca.uky.edu - in the University of Kentucky in America.


"Meet the plant hunter obsessed with double-flowering blooms" - an article from The Telegraph.



Explanation of Structure of this Website with User Guidelines Page for those photo galleries with Photos
(of either ones I have taken myself or others which have been loaned only for use on this website from external sources)

Choose 1 of these different Plant selection Methods:-


1. Choose a plant from 1 of 53 flower colours in the Colour Wheel Gallery.


2. Choose a plant from 1 of 12 flower colours in each month of the year from 12 Bloom Colours per Month Index Gallery.


3. Choose a plant from 1 of 6 flower colours per month for each type of plant:-

Deciduous Shrub
Deciduous Tree
Evergreen Perennial
Evergreen Shrub
Evergreen Tree
Herbaceous Perennial
Odds and Sods
Rhododendron nectar and the nectar from the plants in the fifth row above are toxic to bees
Soft Fruit
Top Fruit
Wild Flower


4. Choose a plant from its Flower Shape:-

Shape, Form

Flower Shape


5. Choose a plant from its foliage:-



6. There are 6 Plant Selection Levels including Bee Pollinated Plants for Hay Fever Sufferers in Plants Topic.




7. when I do not have my own or ones from mail-order nursery photos , then from March 2016, if you want to start from the uppermost design levels through to your choice of cultivated and wildflower plants to change your Plant Selection Process then use the following galleries:-

  • Create and input all plants known by Amateur Gardening inserted into their Sanders' Encyclopaedia from their edition published in 1960 (originally published by them in 1895) into these
    • Stage 1 - Garden Style Index Gallery,
    • Stage 2 - Infill Plants Index Gallery being the only gallery from these 7 with photos (from Wikimedia Commons) ,
    • Stage 3 - All Plants Index Gallery with each plant species in its own Plant Type Page followed by choice from Stage 4a, 4b, 4c and/or 4d REMEMBERING THE CONSTRAINTS ON THE SELECTION FROM THE CHOICES MADE IN STAGES 1 AND 2
    • Stage 4a - 12 Bloom Colours per Month Index Gallery,
    • Stage 4b - 12 Foliage Colours per Month Index Gallery with
    • Stage 4c - Cultivation, Position, Use Index Gallery and
    • Stage 4d - Shape, Form Index Gallery
    • Unfortunately, if you want to have 100's of choices on selection of plants from 1000's of 1200 pixels wide by up to 16,300 pixels in length webpages, which you can jump to from almost any of the pages in these 7 galleries above, you have to put up with those links to those choices being on
      • the left topic menu table,
      • the header of the middle data table and on
      • the page/index menu table on the right of every page of those galleries.

There are other pages on Plants which bloom in each month of the year in this website:-



Topic - Over 1060 links in this table to a topic in a topic folder or page within that folder of this website
Case Studies
...Drive Foundations
Ryegrass and turf kills plants within Roadstone and in Topsoil due to it starving and dehydrating them.
CEDAdrive creates stable drive surface and drains rain into your ground, rather than onto the public road.
8 problems caused by building house on clay or with house-wall attached to clay.
Pre-building work on polluted soil.

Companion Planting
A ,B ,C ,D ,E ,
F ,G ,H ,I ,J ,K ,
L ,M ,N ,O ,P ,Q ,
R ,S ,T ,U ,V ,W ,
X, Y, Z
...Pest Control
...using Plants
to provide a Companion Plant to aid your selected plant or deter its pests


with ground drains
Garden Design
...How to Use the Colour Wheel Concepts for Selection of Flowers, Foliage and Flower Shape
...RHS Mixed

......Bedding Plants
......Her Perennials
......Other Plants
......Camera photos of Plant supports

Glossary with a tomato teaching cauliflowers
Library of over 1000 books
Offbeat Glossary with DuLally Bird in its flower clock.

...Groundcover A,
B, C, D, E, F, G, H,
I, J, K, L, M, N, O,
P, Q, R, S, T, U, V,
W, XYZ with 14 Special Situations.
...in Chalk (Alkaline) Soil A-F1, A-F2,
A-F3, G-L, M-R,
M-R Roses, S-Z
...in Heavy Clay Soil A-F, G-L, M-R, S-Z
...in Lime-Free (Acid) Soil A-F, G-L, M-R,
...in Light Sand Soil
A-F, G-L, M-R, S-Z.
...Poisonous Plants.
...Extra Plant Pages
with its 6 Plant Selection Levels

Interaction between 2 Quartz Sand Grains to make soil
How roots of plants are in control in the soil
Without replacing Soil Nutrients, the soil will break up to only clay, sand or silt
Subsidence caused by water in Clay
Use water ring for trees/shrubs for first 2 years.

Tool Shed with 3 kneeling pads
Useful Data with benefits of Seaweed

Topic -
Plant Photo Galleries
with Plant Botanical Index

...A, B, C, D, E,
...F, G, H, I, J, K,
...L, M, N, O, P, Q,
...R, S, T, U, V, W,
...X, Y, Z

If the plant type below has flowers, then the first gallery will include the flower thumbnail in each month of 1 of 6 or 7 flower colour comparison pages of each plant in its subsidiary galleries, as a low-level Plant Selection Process
...by Flower Shape

Bulb Index
A1, 2, 3, B, C1, 2,
D, E, F, G, Glad,
H, I, J, K, L1, 2,
M, N, O, P, Q, R,
S, T, U, V, W, XYZ
...Allium/ Anemone
...Colchicum/ Crocus
...Gladiolus with its 40 Flower Colours
......European A-E
......European F-M
......European N-Z
......Eur Non-classified
......American A
......American B
......American C
......American D
......American E
......American F
......American G
......American H
......American I
......American J
......American K
......American L
......American M
......American N
......American O
......American P
......American Q
......American R
......American S
......American T
......American U
......American V
......American W
......American XYZ
......Ame Non-classified
......Australia - empty
...Hippeastrum/ Lily
...Late Summer
...Each of the above ...Bulb Galleries has its own set of Flower Colour Pages
...Flower Shape
...Bulb Form

...Bulb Use

...Bulb in Soil

Further details on bulbs from the Infill Galleries:-
Hardy Bulbs



...Forcing Lily of the Valley



...Hyacinths in Pots


...Lilium in Pots
...Narcissi in Pots



Half-Hardy Bulbs



Uses of Bulbs:-
...for Bedding
...in Windowboxes
...in Border
...naturalized in Grass
...in Bulb Frame
...in Woodland Garden
...in Rock Garden
...in Bowls
...in Alpine House
...Bulbs in Greenhouse or Stove:-




...Plant Bedding in

...Bulb houseplants flowering inside House during:-
...Bulbs and other types of plant flowering during:-
...Selection of the smaller and choicer plants for the Smallest of Gardens with plant flowering during the same 6 periods as in the previous selection

Climber in
3 Sector Vertical Plant System
Deciduous Shrub
...Shrubs - Decid
Deciduous Tree
...Trees - Decid
Evergreen Perennial
...P-Evergreen A-L
...P-Evergreen M-Z
...Flower Shape
Evergreen Shrub
...Shrubs - Evergreen
...Heather Shrub
...Heather Index
......Erica: Carnea
......Erica: Cinerea
......Erica: Others
Evergreen Tree
...Trees - Evergreen

...Diascia Photo Album,
...UK Peony Index

...P -Herbaceous
...Flower Shape
...RHS Wisley
......Mixed Border
......Other Borders
Odds and Sods

...RHS Wisley A-F
...RHS Wisley G-R
...RHS Wisley S-Z
...Rose Use - page links in row 6. Rose, RHS Wisley and Other Roses rose indices on each Rose Use page
...Other Roses A-F
...Other Roses G-R
...Other Roses S-Z
Pruning Methods
Photo Index
R 1, 2, 3
Peter Beales Roses
RV Roger

Soft Fruit
Top Fruit

Wild Flower and
Butterfly page links are in next row

Topic -
Butterflies in the UK mostly use native UK wildflowers.

Butterfly Species.

Egg, Caterpillar, Chrysalis and Butterfly Usage
of Plants.

Plant Usage by
Egg, Caterpillar, Chrysalis and Butterfly.

Wild Flower
...Flower Shape and Landscape Uses

with its
flower colour page,
Site Map page in its flower colour NOTE Gallery
...Blue Note
...Brown Botanical Names
...Cream Common Names
...Green Note
...Mauve Note
...Multi-Cols Note
...Orange Note
...Pink A-G Note
...Pink H-Z Note
...Purple Note
...Red Note
...White A-D Note
...White E-P Note
...White Q-Z Note
...Yellow A-G Note
...Yellow H-Z Note
...Shrub/Tree Note

Wildflower Plants.

You know its name, use
Wild Flower Plant Index a-h, i-p, q-z.
You know which habitat it lives in, use
Acid Soil,
(Chalk) Soil
Marine Soil,
Neutral Soil,
is a
is a
is a
Rush, or
is a
You have seen its flower, use Comparison Pages containing Wild Flower Plants and Cultivated Plants in the
Colour Wheel Gallery.

Each plant named in each of the 180 Wildflower Family Pages within their 23 Galleries may have a link to:-
1) its Plant Description Page in its Common Name column in one of those Wildflower Plant Galleries and will have links,
2) to external sites to purchase the plant or seed in its Botanical Name column,
3) to see photos in its Flowering Months column and
4) to read habitat details in its Habitat Column.

(o)Adder's Tongue
(o)Bog Myrtle
(o)Cornel (Dogwood)
(o)Crucifer (Cabbage/Mustard) 1
(o)Crucifer (Cabbage/Mustard) 2
(o)Daisy Cudweeds
(o)Daisy Chamomiles
(o)Daisy Thistle
(o)Daisy Catsears (o)Daisy Hawkweeds
(o)Daisy Hawksbeards
(o)Dock Bistorts
(o)Dock Sorrels
(o)Filmy Fern
(o)Royal Fern
(o)Figwort - Mulleins
(o)Figwort - Speedwells
(o)Grass 1
(o)Grass 2
(o)Grass 3
(o)Grass Soft
Bromes 1

(o)Grass Soft
Bromes 2

(o)Grass Soft
Bromes 3

(o)Jacobs Ladder
(o)Lily Garlic
(o)Marsh Pennywort
(o)Melon (Gourd/Cucumber)
(o)Orchid 1
(o)Orchid 2
(o)Orchid 3
(o)Orchid 4
Clover 1

Clover 2

Clover 3

(o)Peaflower Vetches/Peas
(o)Pink 1
(o)Pink 2
Rannock Rush
(o)Rose 1
(o)Rose 2
(o)Rose 3
(o)Rose 4
(o)Rush Woodrushes
(o)Saint Johns Wort
Saltmarsh Grasses
(o)Sea Lavender
(o)Sedge Rush-like
(o)Sedges Carex 1
(o)Sedges Carex 2
(o)Sedges Carex 3
(o)Sedges Carex 4
Tassel Pondweed
(o)Thyme 1
(o)Thyme 2
(o)Umbellifer 1
(o)Umbellifer 2
(o)Water Fern
(o)Water Milfoil
(o)Water Plantain
(o)Water Starwort

Topic -
The following is a complete hierarchical Plant Selection Process

dependent on the Garden Style chosen
Garden Style
...Infill Plants
...12 Bloom Colours per Month Index
...12 Foliage Colours per Month Index
...All Plants Index
...Cultivation, Position, Use Index
...Shape, Form


Topic -
Flower/Foliage Colour Wheel Galleries with number of colours as a high-level Plant Selection Process

All Flowers 53 with
...Use of Plant and
Flower Shape
- page links in bottom row

All Foliage 53
instead of redundant
...(All Foliage 212)

All Flowers
per Month 12

Bee instead of wind pollinated plants for hay-fever sufferers
All Bee-Pollinated Flowers
per Month

Rock Garden and Alpine Flowers
Rock Plant Flowers 53
A, B, C, D, E, F,
G, H, I, J, K, L,
M, NO, PQ, R, S,
...Rock Plant Photos

Flower Colour Wheel without photos, but with links to photos
12 Bloom Colours
per Month Index

...All Plants Index

Topic -
Use of Plant in your Plant Selection Process

Plant Colour Wheel Uses
1. Perfect general use soil is composed of 8.3% lime, 16.6% humus, 25% clay and 50% sand, and
2. Why you are continually losing the SOIL STRUCTURE so your soil - will revert to clay, chalk, sand or silt.
Uses of Plant and Flower Shape:-
...Foliage Only
...Other than Green Foliage
...Trees in Lawn
...Trees in Small Gardens
...Wildflower Garden
...Attract Bird
...Attract Butterfly
, 2
...Climber on House Wall
...Climber not on House Wall
...Climber in Tree
...Pollution Barrier
...Part Shade
...Full Shade
...Single Flower provides Pollen for Bees
, 2, 3
...Covering Banks
...Patio Pot
...Edging Borders
...Back of Border
...Adjacent to Water
...Bog Garden
...Tolerant of Poor Soil
...Not Fragrant
...Standard Plant is 'Ball on Stick'
...Upright Branches or Sword-shaped leaves
...Plant to Prevent Entry to Human or Animal
...Coastal Conditions
...Tolerant on North-facing Wall
...Cut Flower
...Potted Veg Outdoors
...Potted Veg Indoors
...Raised Bed Outdoors Veg
...Grow in Alkaline Soil A-F, G-L, M-R,
...Grow in Acidic Soil
...Grow in Any Soil
...Grow in Rock Garden
...Grow Bulbs Indoors

Uses of Bedding
...Bedding Out
...Filling In
...Pots and Troughs
...Window Boxes
...Hanging Baskets
...Spring Bedding
...Summer Bedding
...Winter Bedding
...Foliage instead of Flower
...Coleus Bedding Photos for use in Public Domain 1

Uses of Bulb
...Other than Only Green Foliage
...Bedding or Mass Planting
...Tolerant of Shade
...In Woodland Areas
...Tolerant of Poor Soil
...Covering Banks
...In Water
...Beside Stream or Water Garden
...Coastal Conditions
...Edging Borders
...Back of Border or Back-ground Plant
...Fragrant Flowers
...Not Fragrant Flowers

...Grow in a Patio Pot
...Grow in an Alpine Trough
...Grow in an Alpine House
...Grow in Rock Garden
...Speciman Plant
...Into Native Plant Garden
...Naturalize in Grass
...Grow in Hanging Basket
...Grow in Window-box
...Grow in Green-house
...Grow in Scree
...Naturalized Plant Area
...Grow in Cottage Garden
...Attracts Butterflies
...Attracts Bees
...Resistant to Wildlife
...Bulb in Soil:-
......Lime-Free (Acid)

Uses of Rose
Rose Index

...Bedding 1, 2
...Climber /Pillar
...Cut-Flower 1, 2
...Exhibition, Speciman
...Grow In A Container 1, 2
...Hedge 1, 2
...Climber in Tree
...Edging Borders
...Tolerant of Poor Soil 1, 2
...Tolerant of Shade
...Back of Border
...Adjacent to Water

Topic -
Camera Photo Galleries showing all 4000 x 3000 pixels of each photo on your screen that you can then click and drag it to your desktop:-

RHS Garden at Wisley

Plant Supports -
When supporting plants in a bed, it is found that not only do those plants grow upwards, but also they expand their roots and footpad sideways each year. Pages
, 2, 3, 8, 11,
12, 13,
Plants 4, 7, 10,
Bedding Plants 5,
Plant Supports for Unknown Plants 5
Clematis Climbers 6,
the RHS does not appear to either follow it's own pruning advice or advice from The Pruning of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers by George E. Brown.
ISBN 0-571-11084-3 with the plants in Pages 1-7 of this folder. You can see from looking at both these resources as to whether the pruning carried out on the remainder of the plants in Pages 7-15 was correct.

Narcissus (Daffodil) 9,
Phlox Plant Supports 14, 15

Coleus Bedding Foliage Trial - Pages
1, 2, 3, 4, 5,
6, 7, 8, 9, 10,
11, 12, 13, 14, 15,
16, 17, 18, 19, 20,
21, 22, 23, 24, 25,
26, 27, 28, 29, 30,
31, 32, Index

National Trust Garden at Sissinghurst Castle
Plant Supports -
Pages for Gallery 1

with Plant Supports
1, 5, 10
2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9,
11, 12
Recommended Rose Pruning Methods 13
Pages for Gallery 2
with Plant Supports
Plants 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Dry Garden of
RHS Garden at
Hyde Hall

Plants - Pages
without Plant Supports
Plants 1
, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Nursery of
Peter Beales Roses
Display Garden

Roses Pages
1, 2, 3, 4, 5,
6, 7, 8, 9, 10,
11, 12, 13

Nursery of
RV Roger

Roses - Pages
V76,Z77, 78,

Damage by Plants in Chilham Village - Pages
1, 2, 3, 4

Pavements of Funchal, Madeira
Damage to Trees - Pages
1, 2, 3, 4, 5,
6, 7, 8, 9, 10,
11, 12, 13
for trees 1-54,
14, 15,
16, 17, 18, 19, 20,
21, 22, 23, 24, 25,
for trees 55-95,
26, 27, 28, 29, 30,
31, 32, 33, 34, 35,
36, 37,
for trees 95-133,
38, 39, 40,
41, 42, 43, 44, 45,
for trees 133-166

Chris Garnons-Williams
Work Done - Pages
1, 2, 3, 4, 5,
6, 7, 8, 9, 10,
11, 12, 13

Identity of Plants
Label Problems - Pages
1, 2, 3, 4, 5,
6, 7, 8, 9, 10,

Ron and Christine Foord - 1036 photos only inserted so far - Garden Flowers - Start Page of each Gallery
AB1 ,AN14,BA27,

Plant with Photo Index of Ivydene Gardens - 1187
A 1, 2, Photos - 43
B 1, Photos - 13
C 1, Photos - 35
D 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,
Photos - 411
with Plants causing damage to buildings in Chilham Village and Damage to Trees in Pavements of Funchal
E 1, Photos - 21
F 1, Photos - 1
G 1, Photos - 5
H 1, Photos - 21
I 1, Photos - 8
J 1, Photos - 1
K 1, Photos - 1
L 1, Photos - 85
with Label Problems
M 1, Photos - 9
N 1, Photos - 12
O 1, Photos - 5
P 1, Photos - 54
Q 1, Photos -
R 1, 2, 3,
Photos - 229
S 1, Photos - 111
T 1, Photos - 13
U 1, Photos - 5
V 1, Photos - 4
W 1, Photos - 100
with Work Done by Chris Garnons-Williams
X 1 Photos -
Y 1, Photos -
Z 1 Photos -
Articles/Items in Ivydene Gardens - 88
Flower Colour, Num of Petals, Shape and
Plant Use of:-
Rock Garden
within linked page



Topic -
Fragrant Plants:-

Sense of Fragrance from Roy Genders

Fragrant Plants:-
Trees and Shrubs with Scented Flowers
, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Shrubs bearing Scented Flowers for an Acid Soil
, 2, 3, 4
Shrubs bearing Scented Flowers for a
Chalky or Limestone Soil
, 2, 3, 4
Shrubs bearing Scented leaves for a
Sandy Soil
, 2, 3
Herbaceous Plants with Scented Flowers
, 2, 3
Annual and Biennial Plants with Scented Flowers or Leaves
, 2
Bulbs and Corms with Scented Flowers
, 2, 3, 4, 5
Scented Plants of Climbing and Trailing Habit
, 2, 3
Winter-flowering Plants with Scented Flowers
, 2
Night-scented Flowering Plants
, 2

Topic -
Website User Guidelines

My Gas Service Engineer found Flow and Return pipes incorrectly positioned on gas boilers and customers had refused to have positioning corrected in 2020.

Table of this Page has moved to the right hand side.




Look for:-
Topic - Camera Photo Galleries showing all 4000 x 3000 pixels of each photo on your screen that you can then click and drag to your desktop:-
in a row of the Topic Table on the right hand side for more than 2000 informative photos to aid your plant choice using the:-
Plant with Photo Index of Ivydene Gardens -
A 1


This table was copied from
Case 3 Drive Foundations in Clay
to aid you in understanding what so called soil you are left with when a builder leaves your new home and hands it over to you, especially when this new building has been built in a new estate on reclaimed land - boys school knocked down and new buildings built on the rubble or old buildings knocked down and replaced with ones built on the rubble.
On the same Case 3 Drive Foundations in Clay page you will find information on Rainwater Drainage followed by Drive Foundations. I continue to see new drives being built where the rainwater is allowed to exit down the drive to the outside road or down the drive to be collected in a drain from the roof guttering and that drain leads to the public storm drain in the road. Not only does this overload the water companies sewage system and flood other peoples homes, but because more of your land is now waterproof, then the rain cannot sink into your soil and in Medway's case be directed into the chalk and be pumped from there to your home for drinking etc. As Southern water has explained - the amount of rain that is going to fall in the Southeast of England is likely to drop by 30% within the next 30 years since we are progressing to a climate more like the south coast of France. We are building more dwellings on more land and that reduces the land for water collection, so we are going to run out of water. Fuel costs have gone up so creating desalination plants is going to be very expensive. Southern Water which provides the water for Kent, Hampshire, Dorset, Surrey and Sussex is going to build one new reservoir in Havant. By 2030 these counties will not have enough water.

Case Studies Pages
Site Map

1 - Prepare for Sale

2 - Structural Design
.....2a - New Garage
.....2b - Redesign for My Back Garden



3 - Drive Foundations
.....3a Clay on Sand Subsidence of New House and
...........there are Other Factors causing subsidence. Part
..............of solution is to use
...........Aquadyne Drainage System to transport
..............rainwater within garden area to evergreen
..............plants that can use it.

Pages about soil and why clay causes problems:-
How Soil is created with organic matter and
why Organic Matter is important to Soil?

Soil Formation combines Rock Particles, Humus, Water and Air into Soil Texture with
Soil Structure, which is the interaction between clay domains, organic matter, silt and sand particles. So
How is Clay created? ,
How is Humus made? and
How does Water act in the Soil?

What are the Soil Nutrients besides
the Carbon Cycle and
the Nitrogen Cycle.

What types of organisms are found in the soil? and
how do soil microbes recycle nutrients?

What Pysical changes occur in Soil because of weather? and what Chemical changes occur in Soil because of weather? leading to
how are Chemicals stored and released from Soil? with
how is material lost from the soil?

This leads to an
Action plan for you to do with your soil and

3b Pre-Building Work for Builders to treat polluted soil using phyto-remediation plants.
Perhaps after Builders have read the following section:-


Then, they could follow my following Suggested Action Plan for Builders after they have built their houses:-
Lay the
Aquadyne Drainage System round the perimeter of the new garden areas.
Next to it then plant 1 of these Instant Hedges on the non-house wall sides to absorb the rainwater collected by that drainage system:-

  • Screening Boundary Hedge
  • Stock Boundary Hedge
  • Thorny Barrier Hedge
  • Anti-graffiti Hedge or
  • Security Hedge

And finally on the same day pour a depth of 11 inches (27.5 cms) depth of the builders soil mixture detailed below onto the remainder of the new garden areas and alongside the Instant Hedging.

To provide a different requirement from the current plants used in the above Instant Hedges, plants for each of the following could be used instead:-

  • Thorny Hedge
  • Windbreak
  • Use as Garden Hedge
  • Use in Coastal Conditions
  • Use in Woodland Garden
  • Pollution Barrier

A fortnight later the following type of turf containing RTF (Rhizomatous Tall Fescue), bred by Barenbrug Research USA, could be laid over the proposed lawn areas.

The roots of that grass will reach the clay below and stabilise the new builders soil mix, before the proposed owners view the property a month later.

The builders soil mix should within 3 months become roughly the same proportion of clay, silt and sand which is within a Sandy Clay Loam to create a sweet spot for growing plants as shown on How is material lost from the soil? Page, since it will mix with the clay below.


4a - Garden Uses
......4b - Garden Plant Plan

5 - Wildlife Garden

6 - Vegetable Garden

7 - Repair of Concrete Pond

8 - Creation of Pond


Design Cases

When designing a garden, it is vital to know who and for how long the resulting designed and landscaped garden is going to be maintained by. The book 'The One Hour Garden' describes what maintenance work can be done in the time that you have allotted; and therefore what besides a lawn, you can have in your garden. My redesign and construction work to be done on my 3 gardens - as shown by Case 2 - must be to reduce the maintenance time required to the time I have available. If the gardens are first weeded, pruned, mulched, mown and bare earth converted to lawns using grass seed, then construction can take place in the future - as free time allows during a week or fortnight after the maintenance has been done.

In Case 4, the combination of the Structural and Planting Designs would create a garden that I would be able to maintain in one day a fortnight. I would install a 3" deep mulch in the spring on the beds, so that I can prune the shrubs/trees and hoe the odd weed; whilst the father mows the lawns, the mother tends the vegetable garden and their teenage daughters play football!!

The children in Case 5 loved to look at creepy-crawlies and wildlife, so that together with low-cost the design for different areas in a terrace house garden was created.


Construction Cases

Case 3 is building a drive on clay and it is important to get the part you will not see - the foundations - done correctly.

Case 8 is creating a pond with its pitfalls for foundations.


Maintenance Cases

If you are asking someone to maintain your garden, then do provide the complete picture. If as in Case 1, you intend to sell the property, then look at this - as not a maintenance but as a selling job - and get that job done instead.

Case 6 is creating a vegetable garden in a back garden during the maintenance program of one day a fortnight to maintain it and the remainder of the back and front gardens. This was done over 7 years using a crop rotation system

Concrete ponds are likely to crack open due to movement in the ground levels due to being in clay or vibration caused by road traffic if it is fairly close. Case 7 shows no planting shelves for the pond plants.





Section below on Problems for Houseowners and Builders when the new home is surrounded by clay and how to solve them.




Problems for Houseowners and Builders when the new home is surrounded clay and how to solve them.

8 problems caused by clay:-

  • In creating a new driveway for a client you can see (from the top photos) that when it rains, that the indentations in the clay caused by my boots do fill with water and then that water does not drain away.
    Solution -
    Had I installed a soakaway under the drive or elsewhere in the back garden below the drive, then it would have filled with water and not drained.
    If the ground is clay, then that soakaway will fill and never empty. In that case if you create that soakaway as a continuous one about 2 feet away from the boundary with it starting 3 feet from house and continuing round to meet the entrance of the drive, then planting privet or yew evergreen hedge in that 2 feet gap between it and the boundary will absorb the water from that driveway. The 2 feet depth of existing clay soil between that extended soakaway and the boundary should be replaced by the following mixture of 1 part existing soil and 1 part sand to provide a soil where the soakaway water can move from the soakaway through the soil to the hedge roots. The french drain used to transport the water should be surrounded by 4 inches of coarse pea-shingle inside an envelope of geotextile to stop that pea-shingle from mixing with the mixed soil.
  • The same happened to a client's house, which subsided after 6 years from being built. The builder had run out of top soil and instead of putting sand as the rest of the back garden was composed of where it had been growing a forest, they put 24 inches (60 cms) of blue clay the full width of the back of the house which sloped up and met the upward sloping lawn laid by the builders. The lawn prevented much of the rainwater from entering the sand underneath and thus draining away and ended up on the 144 inch (360 cms) wide slabbed patio before hitting the house wall and soaking into the blue clay below the slabs. Clay can absorb 40% of its own volume before it turns from a solid to a liquid. When the clay absorbs the water, then the suction on the housewall is sufficient to raise that wall. When it dries out then the wall subsides and so it subsided. The 6th photo down the Case 3a Clay on Sand Subsidence of New House Page shows the blue clay as the dark section at the top of the trench with the sand being dark yellow below it.
    Solution 1 -
    Instead of the patio sloping up the back garden, I installed a concrete foundation for a conservatory with the concrete going 12 inches (30 cms) deeper than the 24 depth of blue clay. Then, t
    he foundation for the new Path/Patio at the back of the house was sloped away from the house at 1:40 and the rain drained to the Gully, thence to the Sump in the middle of the garden. I then bought a powerful Cultivator Tiller and rotovated the back lawn. Using an asphalt rake and a spade with wheelbarrow; I then levelled the remaining back garden lawn in both directions, with the conservatory/path areas sloping away from the house to allow rainwater to be collected and taken to the sump, instead of causing further damage to the house. The levelled lawn then needed a Patio wall to stop the earth from being unsurported. A builder than built the conservatory, the restraining patio wall and the new path/patio.
    Solution 2 -
    If that area of blue clay had been surrounded by the Aquadyne Drainage System (details at bottom of this page) by the original builders to a 36 inches depth, then the problem would never have arisen as all the rainwater would have been transferred to the surrounding sand soil and the underlying sand. Thus the suction power of the clay would have been on the Aquadyne and not the house wall. Since the Aquadyne is plastic it would if it moved up and down and not taken the house wall with it.
  • There are other factors causing Subsidence of Buildings, especially Tree Roots in Clay Soils.
  • I spent some months maintaining the grounds within 5 acres of a new Care Home. The previous use for these 5 acres had been as a boys school. This had been demolished and the rubble then built on for the 5 new residential Care Buildings with its Administration/Kitchen Building. 5000 shrubs and trees were planted and at the end of the first year, I audited what remained - 2000 out those 5000 had died. The builders had generously added a 2 inches (5 cm) depth of topsoil before planting into that and the rubble under it.
    Solution -
    I bought an American Super Tomahawk Chipper/Shredder and shredded the tree/shrub prunings during the winter and applied the shreddings as a mulch in the further beds on the 5 acre estate during the winter to provide nutrients for the surviving plant.
    I did suggest putting a 4 inch mulch of bark on top of the ground in the beds at a trifling cost of £19,000, since digging up the plants and transfering them to a nursery bed, before excaving a further 12 inches (30 cm) and replacing the 14 inch (35 cm) depth with good soil mixed with manure; and then its plants; would have been extremely time consuming and expensive. This money was not forthcoming, so when I started cutting the lawns, I added the mowings to the beds as a mulch. I was told that this was unsightly and to stop doing that - at this point I resigned since the contract for the original planting only included making up the losses in the first year, I could not see that many of the plants would survive in the succeeding years.
    You need a minimum of a spade depth of at least 8 inches (20 cms) of topsoil with a 4 inch mulch of bark or spent mushroom compost surrounding each plant after the planting, plus an irrigation system - that means 12 inches below the top of the bed edging, so that the mulch does not flow out onto the lawn, patio, drive or paths after it has been laid.
  • In maintaining a client's lawn, I found that after rain that their lawn was squelchy. The lawn was laid on a clay topsoil.
    I mowed the lawn quite low and applied
    Top Dressing at the recommended rate. I repeated this twice more once a month. After that, the problem was sorted.
  • I received this from a client - An unsuccessful planting scheme had left bare areas of garden as plants failed to survive winter in the waterlogged clay soil. The loss of numerous plants and the cost of replacing them had left us disheartened.
    Solution -
    A 150mm (6 inch) deep mulch of mixed peat, sharp washed sand and horticultural grit was applied on top of a heavy clay soil to improve its structure, and stop the plants therein from drowning, at £10 a square metre. The mix was:
    • 4 cubic metres of Peat (to provide the Organic Polymers/Organic Matter and Carbon.)
    • 2 cubic metres of Sharp Washed Sand (to provide the sand for the production of microaggregates)
    • 2 cubic metres of Horticultural Grit (to provide larger particles for aggregation)
    • 25kg of Garden Lime (to provide Calcium for the plants and allow clay minerals to bond together to form domains. Once clay minerals are stacked together to form domains, they can then bond with organic matter to form microaggregates)
    • 25 kg of Sulphate of Iron (to provide Iron to act as a trace element and to create soil colloid for buffering chemical nutrients in the soil for later use by plants)
    • 25Kg of Sulphate of Potash ( to provide fertilizer for the plants)

      and the following was sent to me in October 2004:- An unsuccessful planting scheme had left bare areas of garden as plants failed to survive winter in the waterlogged clay soil. The loss of numerous plants and the cost of replacing them had left us disheartened. It was evident that remedial action was needed in the form of a mixture of gravel, sand and peat to create an organic loam. Approximately six inches was added in April and left to settle and do its job. By July there was a noticeable difference in the quality of the soil and the plants. Shrubs with sparse, mottled leaves were looking glossy and robust, overall growth had increased (including the weeds!) and the soil was holding its moisture well. But the biggest difference came in the confidence it gave us to transform the garden. The borders used to be a no-go area between May and September as the clay baked and cracked, but the new soil was easy to handle and weeds could be successfully removed. We realised that there are no quick fixes - the key to a healthy garden is rich, nutritous soil. Once our plants began to thrive we were optimistic that, with good advice, we could create a garden to be proud of.
  • I visited a prospective client whose second laid lawn sloping up from the house in the back garden was needed to be replaced. The turves had dried and the clay soil had also dried with the result that the turves separated. She had had the builder lay a horizontal patio at the back of her new house and the lawn went from there up to the next house. Her home and garden were on clay. I did point out to her that when it rained, then the patio would become a lake and her house would subside, since not only the rain falling on the patio but the rain falling on the lawn would also end up at the patio. I refused to quote for her lawn replacement.
    Solution -
    in next row.
  • When requested by a builder, I visited his site where huge excavators were used to dig the trenches for the drains and utilities. The garden at the back of the showhouse had a downward slope from the garden wall to the house and moss was already growing round the french windows facing the back garden.
    Solution -
    in next Row.



Builders do sell the original topsoil including

  • the grass,
  • the zone of organic matter and the
  • zone where mineral and organic matter are mixed

where the new building and its garden areas are to be built.


The consolidated parent material (bedrock) is usually sand, chalk or clay with flint possibly. At the end of building; the builders rubble is covered with possibly only a 2 inch (5 cms) depth of imported topsoil, which might be the washings from the sugar beet in the sugar industry. This is covered with turf and the unsuspecting public is offered the result. As likely as not one of their gardens slopes towards the house and even with the modern depth of foundation wall, there is no guarantee that subsidence will not occur.


If every garden of a new house had a 12 inch depth of soil removed from its new garden area, then at the end of the building work, the Aquadyne Drainage System would be laid round the entire boundary. Next to it then plant the relevant Instant Hedge on the non-house wall sides to absorb the rainwater collected by that drainage system


The mix to change clay soil into a friable useful soil in less than 4 months for the above domestic garden problem was in royal blue colour typing. Using the burgundy colour typing components, the builder could create the following soil mix for his gardens:

  • 4 cubic metres of Peat (to provide the Organic Polymers/Organic Matter and Carbon.)
  • 2 cubic metres of Sharp Washed Sand (to provide the sand for the production of microaggregates).
  • 2 cubic metres of Horticultural Grit (to provide larger particles for aggregation)
    752,000 tons of glass are now recycled annually in the UK. Crushed glass (cullet) is used in Agriculture and landscape applications, such as top dressing, root zone material or golf bunker sand, so builders could replace the Sharp washed Sand and the Horticultural Grit with cullet.
  • 25kg of Garden Lime (to provide Calcium for the plants and allow clay minerals to bond together to form domains. Once clay minerals are stacked together to form domains, they can then bond with organic matter to form microaggregates).
    Poultry litter -
    Uric acid and organic nitrogen (N) in the bird excreta and spilled feed are converted to ammonium (NH4+) by the microbes in the litter. Ammonium, a plant-available N form, can bind to litter and also dissolve in water. Ammonium is a highly reactive ion that bonds with sulfates, nitrates and phosphates to form ammonium salts that improve the nutrient value of litter when land applied as fertilizer.
    Plasterboard (is gypsum - Calcium sulfate dihydrate normally pressed between a paper facer and backer)
    wastage in the UK is estimated to be 300,0000 tonnes per year
    . Builders could replace the Garden Lime with the reaction of the poultry litter on the gypsum.
    The recommendations stated in the RHS article are for the finely ground garden lime (calcium carbonate) sold in garden centres in kilograms (kg) per square metre or ounces per square yard. They are based on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) recommendations for incorporation into the top 20cm (8in) of soil and are enough to raise the soil pH to pH6.5. This is considered the best all-round pH for the majority of garden plants.
  • 25 kg of Sulphate of Iron (to provide Iron to act as a trace element and to create soil colloid for buffering chemical nutrients in the soil for later use by plants)
  • 25Kg of Sulphate of Potash ( to provide fertilizer for the plants)

If water with 150 kgs of clay was first added to the Concrete TruckMixer and then the required volume of cullet followed by the required volume of waste plasterboard, the mixture is then mixed for an hour. If the cullet/waste plasterboard mixture is passed through the poultry houses to mix with the poultry litter on the litter floor before being collected into the next Concrete TruckMixer, then the houses would be cleaner and smell less. The required volume of waste from beer making could replace the Peat above and the requisite Sulphate of Iron and Sulphate of Potash could be added to the Concrete TruckMixer before that mixture from the Poultry Farm litter floor is added.

That soil mixture could then be mixed for 30 minutes before applying it to the garden areas of the new houses built by the builder to an 11 inch (27.5 cms) depth. The resulting mixture would then integrate with the clay and create a deep topsoil within 3 months.

All the requirements for a soil as shown in the figure above would then have mixed together and time will increase the bacteria and get a new soil structure created.

The following type of turf could then be laid over the proposed lawn areas a fortnight later:-

RTF (Rhizomatous Tall Fescue), bred by Barenbrug Research USA, produces rhizomes (an underground stem) that send a shoot up to the soil surface while extending new roots downwards. In fact, RTF can root to 1.5 metres deep giving it a chance to tap into water reserves that normal lawn turf cannot reach.
Because RTF is suited to almost all soil types and needs little maintenance and minimal irrigation, gardeners will be rewarded with beautiful lawns, rich in colour and disease resistant, not only in the summer but all year round. During the winter months, the lawn will hold its lush green colour and can resist frost and darker corners. With the onset of spring the rapid germination and quick spring green-up means that lawns are greener earlier.



There is other compostable waste that could be used in the above mixture - The following is from a farmer who runs Riverford Organic Farmers who deliver weekly boxes of vegetables, meat etc from their farms to the homes of members of the public in Britain in his weekly epistle dated Monday 4th December 2017:-



"So why now, in my 57th year, have I seen the light?

  • Firstly, given the environmental impact of livestock, we need a more sustainable source of fertility than muck.
  • Secondly, I met a man who sent 10 tonnes of cooked crab waste, packed with valuable nutrients, to landfill every week at huge cost to him and the environment,
    then another bloke in the pub looking for a home for 1000's of tonnes of wood chip;
    the perfect high carbon material to mix with the nitrogen-rich crab.
  • Thirdly, our agnostic and practical farm team attest to compost soil and its crop improving properties.
  • Fourthly, I met Milan, a highly practical Bulgarian organic grower and compost expert who, with alchemist wizardry, seems to be able to make compost from almost anything given a thermometer and loader. Milan brewed up a little crab, wood chip and spent wool insulation and tried some of the resulting compost on my cardoons and artichokes; they love it.

So, I have seen the errors of my youth and come inside. Milan tells me we have only just started.

It is shocking how much compostable material is wasted at such cost to our environment:

  • food waste,
  • sewage sludge,
  • whey,
  • wood chip,
  • hedge trimmings,
  • seafood waste,
  • abattoir waste.

The reasons are:-

  • Partly the unintended consequences of well-meaning environmental and health legislation;
  • partly the chronic failing of businesses and our market economy to solve complex long-term problems involving bulky, perishable, highly variable and locally specific raw materials; and
  • partly that the alternatives are just too cheap.

Time is running out; we cannot afford 100% safety when environmental destruction is 95% certain if we continue on our current path."


If the above waste was turned into compost that would last as a mulch like spent mushroom compost, which lasts for 2-3 years with 25-35% loss replenishment each year in the autumn, then it could be sold to the above home owners in bags to put alongside their hedges, in planted pots and in the flower beds throughout the year.
The present system of commercial composting of the garden waste taken from the domestic Brown Bins by the refuse collectors each week in England produces a soil conditioner to provide nutrients for the soil instead of a mulch material. The weeds as well as the purchased cultivated plants happily eat it and it is treated as a richly fertilized earth under it instead of a seaparate mulch; as I discovered in a client's garden. It does not provide the benefits that a mulch does of stopping the germination of weed seeds and a reduction of moisture loss.
Jersey Royals Potatoes are grown using seaweed harvested from Jersey beaches as a natural fertilizer. If the soil conditioner detailed in the previous paragraph was spread first and natural non-dried seaweed was added on top as a mulch, then the advantages of a mulch would occur and reduce the garden owner's time in weeding his/her garden. This mulch could be added - onto the new soil created from the waste ingredients above - after 2 months from when that soil had been installed and annually after that. Jersey seed potatoes could be planted in this mulched area to provide many health benefits to its garden owners in the form of their own organically grown food.
Builders could then sell new houses with healthy soil by

  • including red clover green manure seeds sown 2 months after the new soil has been installed to fix nitrogen from the air, weed suppression and improve the soil structure and
  • the promise of the new owners producing their own potato crop!!!

If you cannot be bothered to buy the commercially produced soil conditioner and collect your own seaweed to be harvested from beaches, then the following could still provide these other benefits in the same time slots as in above paragraph:-
To promote healthy growth of potted indoor and outdoor plants and to provide the trace elements (that other soil stimulants do not provide) ; you might consider using the following from Burncoose Nurseries:-
"All-purpose Seaweed Stimulant
All-purpose organic concentrated seaweed feed that is a ready to use, derived from sustainable harvested kelp, that can be used on all outdoor and indoor plants, except acid loving plants, use our Ericaceous seaweed stimulant instead.
The product contains very high levels of auxins and cytokins that are naturally plant growth promoters.
The natural hormones in Empathy All Purpose Seaweed are taken up by the plant and promote faster and stronger root and shoot growth. They will also promote the development of beneficial bacteria, microbes and the Mycorrhizal Fungi in the soil."

You can incorporate seaweed into your own diet to give you Iodine for proper thyroid function, if nothing else appeals.


China sells a lot of seaweed.

The Cornish Seaweed Company sells edible Cornish Seaweed and
Maine Coast Sea Vegetables in America sells edible seaweeds harvested from the North Atlantic.
It would appear that if you want seaweed as a mulch for your garden, then you will have to go and collect it yourself as the farmers do on Jersey.

The following is from No Dig Vegetable Garden Website:-
"Seaweed in the garden, how do I love thee... let me count the ways:

  • 1 Seaweed fertilizer is actually a bit mis-named. It is more of a tonic, due to the low quantity of nitrogen and phosphorus... although it does have the full range of properties in it to improve your soil. As well as supplying bulk to condition the soil, seaweed contains around 60 trace elements, growth hormones and nutrients, and fungal and disease preventatives. Interestingly any soil imbalances, such as a deficiency of nitrogen, will be corrected by adding seaweed which will balance the soil environment so that nitrogen fixing bacteria are helped along.
  • 2 Seaweed stays put if you put it on the garden. It doesn't blow away or clump together or roll away.
  • 3 Seaweed deters pests. Birds don't like to get hurt with it when it's hard and scratchy and don't like getting tangled with it when it's wet and slinky.
  • 4 Same with dogs, cats and many other critters. It's just too darned awkward, and for some animals the smell is off-putting.

What's the best way to use seaweed on the garden?

  • Firstly, there is no need to wash seaweed because the sand and salt water clinging to it contains essential elements that will benefit plants. Unless you happen to have a high sodium content in your soil, remember, there is no need to wash seaweed before using it in or on your garden.
  • Secondly, don't try cutting seaweed up with a mower because there are stones, sand and shells hiding in it.
  • Thirdly, dry and hard seaweed is just as phenomenal for plant growth as when it's wet and soft. The older and harder it is, obviously the longer it will take to break down and supply nutrients to the soil for feeding your plants.
  • Fourthly, many countries have rules about protecting their marine coastlines, which includes the harvesting of seaweed. Commercial operators you are not, so it's unlikely you will deplete this resource by strolling along the local beach and filling up a bag with seaweed.
    However check beforehand, and if you can't find any information about your area, or there are no notices on the beach, follow these guidelines:
  • It is fine to pluck floating seaweed and seaweed below the high tide mark. Seaweed that has washed up above the high tide mark often makes a valuable contribution to the biodiversity of the beach and surrounds. It helps stops sand erosion and provides a habitat for local plant and insect life."


Finally, we should not forget about Noise Reduction for the new residents of the estate just built.

See last row in the midlle table for further details.

Nor should we forget about the changes required for the infrastructure (see Pre-Building Work for Builders with Polluted Soil Page)