I went to the garden centre to have look and see what’s new  in ,couldn’t resist buying this polyanthus  Lots of  tubers& bulbs in their  colourful packets  but I think i’ll do my homework on them before I buy them -might try a Dahlia or two this year  I also bought a shrub Weigela ‘Candida’,a white one .I’ll save the picture of that until it’s in flower later in the year.

Watsonia  with Humulus lupus aurea .

My golden hop scrambles over an obelisk providing an attractive back drop to the Watsonia

Watsonia with Golden hop

Let’s make life easier and  work with Nature ,she will get her own way in the end .

Here is a list of plants I have found particularly like my garden.

Roses ,all varieties ,well you could have a garden made out of just these and it would be attractive ,fragrant and apart from a bit of pruning quite low maintenance .But wont be much to look at in the winter and not very child friendly(or to footballs)

Viburnum tinus shrub (Evergreen white flowers)

Cornus (dogwood)lots of varieties ,deciduous (meaning leaves fall off in winter)lovely coloured stems of red,yellow orange depending on variety.

Hosta

Acer(maple)wonderful Autumn leaf colour

Betula (silver birch)

Alchemilla mollis (acid green foamy flowers excellent for picking to add to flowers like sweet peas for a beautiful effect)

Astrantia

Brunnera (perennial like forget me not)

Dicentra (Bleeding heart plant)

Hemerocallis(Day lily)flowers last one day  but more keep being produced

Heuchera(fantastic maroon and sometimes marbled leaves)

Iris(most varieties)

Myosotis(forget me not)

Clay soil is made from very small particles of about 2mm.It is slow to drain ,holds on to the cold- making it warm up slowly as the season changes.It makes  the lawn slippery to walk on  It bakes solid to a crazy paving effect in summer and you cant even get the trowel in to plant anything Oh !and then its difficult to wet ,the rain just runs off it .But before you want to give up and say’ What did I do to deserve such a garden’ lets look at the positives .

It can be very fertile ,it can be improved with organic matter to open up the air spaces in it ,you can use a no dig method letting the worms and soil organisms do the work for you ,lots of plants positively thrive in it and anything planted isn’t going anywhere !Wind can rock trees and plants in loose sandy soil but anchored in clay are there to stay. A little tip is to plant them a little bit proud of the soil level to avoid the ‘sump’ effect (when they sit in a little puddle  for a long time and stay wet longer than neccessary )at the base .Short of moving house you have to make the most of what you’ve got .

The soil can be improved vastly by digging in well rotted horse manure ,grit ,and make a compost heap in a spare corner of the garden to utilise those house hold peelings ,tea bags,old vegetables,dust ie,contents of your vacuum cleaner.

We want to encourage a layer of humus breaking down on the soil but we dont want to compact it by walking on it .The rich brown organic layer will contain material in various stages of composition providing nutrients to the soil .You can buy and add spent mushroom compost but this can make it more acidic .

As time goes by you will find the structure of the soil improves and you can add to the list of plants that prefer these conditions .

contrasting colours have more impact

mespilus germanica 'Nottingham'

An example of a small tree suited to clay soil with attractive flowers ,interesting fruit and autumn coloured leaves Mespilus Germanica'Nottingham' Medlar tree

Cobaea Scandens (cup & saucer vine)