Are we sometimes garden snobs? If you think you’re not, then sit there and tell me that you don’t cringe when you see this photo…

Marigold- traditional mixture!

Marigold- traditional mixture!










But, why…? Have we all become Laura Ashley-style, tasteful garden choosers? Are we always desperate to find an über unusual plant? Don’t let the thought that a certain plant is “chavvy” crowd your whole judgement of the genus!

Now, I’m not telling you what to like here. But I am suggesting there may be some gentle alternatives to the “common” plants we already know! Don’t overlook Marigolds when there are some delightfully freeform, airy, cottage garden ones that might well fit into your scheme. Step forward ‘Pots of Gold’ mix! The plants are branching, architectural, with elegant blooms, and are certainly not sat like neat plastic soldiers..!

Marigold 'Pots of Gold'

Marigold ‘Pots of Gold’










And, begonias, I bet you cower when you see those bulky plants festooned with cartoon-like flowers, in colours so bright they could be wearing health and safety jackets!


Begonia- traditional mixture!










But, stop and look for a minute. Plant breeders have taken hold of Begonia boliviensis and transformed it into a modern, contemporary, slender-bloomed gem of a plant! It’s Begonia ‘Starshine’!

Begonia 'Starshine Mixed'

Begonia ‘Starshine Mixed’










…and lastly, Lobelia, how you ache with 1980s style like no other plant!

Lobelia- traditional mixture!

Lobelia- traditional mixture!









But, have you tried the extremely elegant and really quite rare, “Kathleen Mallard”? The blooms are double and, even though they’re only a centimetre across, look just like little roses!

Lobelia 'Kathleen Mallard'

Lobelia ‘Kathleen Mallard’










Or, for an every day Lobelia alternative, try some Laurentia, longer flowering but giving that same, frothy, blue effect for your baskets!

  • Jean Long

    Where can I buy Kathleen mallard plants in royal blue.

    May 6, 2016
    • very hard to find… i am trying myself!!

      May 6, 2016

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