When I built our built-in seating on the patio I put in a small raised bed running along the wall opposite the kitchen doors. The plan was to have lots of tropical style plants to create a lush oasis that we could enjoy even if we weren’t outside.
I’d put in some plants last year that I already had, but it wasn’t cohesive so I put a bit of planning into what I wanted it to look like so I could add some plants that would give me the look I was after.
on Houzz provided a lot of inspiration; lots of tropical looking plants that would thrive in the British climate.
I started off by gathering together the plants I already had; heucheras, sedums, a cordyline, lobelia, two grasses and canna lilies.
I wanted some nice structural plants so I purchased two hardy palms from Wilkinsons and some crocosmia lucifer and a red hot poker from Morrisons to give a hit of colour (I’ve found both places to be really good for plants and neither are expensive).
My parents bought back a couple more cannas from holiday, and I adopted the fern and solomon’s seal from their garden.
Lastly, I added in some plants purchased from their local garden centre; two black eye susan vines, another fern and a cigarette plant.
Phew, that’s a lot of plants! What I spent probably all come in at around £35 though, including buying the plants I’d already purchased last year, with the palms the most expensive at £5 and £6 respectively – so it’s quite a lot for the money.
I set all of the plants, still in their pots (or bags!) out to get an idea of what worked.
One end gets the sun and the other is in the shade most of the day, so I put the ferns in the shaded area and the more exotic plants, like the red hot poker, in the spot that gets the most sun. Even though our garden is north facing during the summer the patio does get sun for most of the day.
Once I was happy with the arrangement of the plants I put them all in and put some slate chippings down. I’m still in the process of rendering the rest of the seating which is why the wall at the end is still bare blocks.
The photo below was taken a couple of weeks after everything had been planted.
And this is what it looks like after another two and a half weeks! Everything has gone crazy – we’ve put the green plastic mesh up for the black eye susan vine to climb over. It’s held in place with tiny zinc hooks so in the winter when everything dies back we can take it down. I’m pretty pleased with how it’s started to look. Hopefully once everything starts to flower it will look even more tropical and the plants like the grasses and palms will give interest during the winter months.