Hmm, a few of my Facebook fans got me thinking the other day. There are lots of listings and advice for slug-proof plants, rabbit-proof plants, and so on. But, how about PEOPLE-proof plants. Plants that don’t fail, even when you and your garden do..
I have used my experience and knowledge to choose 10 plants that I would consider ‘people-proof’! Here are the first 5! So whether you’ve got a poor soil which has ghastly rubble, an awkward shady spot, or perhaps you neglect your garden and it’s well-trodden by pets.. these are the plants for you! As usual, click the text or photo to buy.
ONE. Hardy Geraniums. These come in almost every shape, size and colour and are almost impossible to kill! Hardy Geraniums are strong growers in any type of soil, sun or shade, most temperatures.. need we go on? They’ll grow better than your weeds do, and thats what we want, right? You can also give them regular haircuts, and they’ll reward you with fresh flourishes of bloom too, sometimes totalling 5 months.
I particularly recommend ‘Rozanne’, which was voted Plant of the Centenary at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show a few years ago. Found at the bottom of the garden in deep English countryside by two perennial enthusiasts, ‘Rozanne’ quickly become the matriarch of the plant world, and even has it’s own website! 1.7 million plants have been sold worldwide!
TWO. Lily of the Valley. Oh, it might seem so delicate, but Lily of the Valley is a tough cookie. Despite the usual advice of it loving a moist, shaded spot, it’s actually super adaptable and has become the go-to for people with awkward, dry shady corners.
Convallaria majalis (it’s grown-up name!) gives 3 seasons of interest too; from the moment the fresh spring leaves unfurl, to the sweetly fragrant blooms, to the oft-unnoticed red berries in the autumn. Once established, it’ll spread quickly too. Whilst some may see this growth as occasionally thuggish, it can soften old paving when it pokes it’s sweet heads through. And, remember, it isn’t as strong as bamboo, so won’t actually LIFT any paving…!! It isn’t Geoff Capes.
THREE. Day Lily (Hemerocallis). Now, whilst there are 1,000’s of varieties out there, I’ve chosen to recommend the toughest, which performs in warmer and cooler climates. Be careful you don’t select some of the gorgeous, yet tricky to grow, Californian hybrids..! The big daddy of the Day Lilies is this one, Hemerocallis fulva. As the name suggests, each flower lasts just a day! However, they keep coming all summer long, sometimes reaching a count of 500 per plant!
The fleshy roots actually grab moisture and nutrients when they can, and store it, which means they need less attention from YOU! You’ll find plants will establish super quick, and create clumps of handsome grassy foliage, which looks good enough, even without that yearly carnival of orange blooms! Oh, and if your cat sits on it, it’s strong enough to recover too!
FOUR. Mahonia (Oregon Grape). Here’s a plant that isn’t just easy to grow, but it’ll also keep your pets off the borders, thanks to the holly-like foliage. Mahonia is a regular sight in landscape planting, which is a fact that shouldn’t make you turn your nose up.. Moreover, it should tell you it’s so easy to grow that they plant it where it’ll be forgotten!
Whilst Mahonia is often seen as one of the first shrubs to flower in the year, it actually surprises many gardeners by pumping out blooms at other times of year too. It’s not unknown for the fence-covering, upright shrubs to flower in the autumn too! The flowers have a potent fragrance that you’ll be itching to put in a small vase, and the berries are actually edible. They contain Vitamin C, but it isn’t recommend to consume large quantities, just a nibble to try is okay! Unfussy about soil, and they don’t give a •••• if you prune them back hard at any time of year either!
FIVE. Antirrhinums (Snapdragons). You must know Snapdragons? If you don’t, then what was your childhood! I have lovely memories of the little blooms that you can turn them into puppets between your fingers (go try it!) They’re also a bit of a ‘bullet-proof’ plant too, and whilst technically an annual, the plants often come back for a performance in their second year too.
Coming in almost every colour of the rainbow, they are easy to grow from seed or plant and will grow in any soil, even on rubble, I bet! Loving the sun, but also putting up with shade, Antirrhinums flower for many months and originate in Mediterranean countries, so know how to look after themselves. For many years, the flowers were thought to have supernatural powers and could protect you from witchcraft. However, on a lighter note, they are edible, and will shock your summer dinner guests when you serve them as part of the salad!!
So, that’s Part One of my ‘people-proof plants. If you have some more suggestions for the un-killable, un-shakable, un-stampable, then please do comment below. Thanks!