Did you say old fashioned?

1 comment May 23, 2024

By Veronica


 Why these classics stand the test of time

Gardening does not escape trends and fashion. The big garden shows, like Chelsea, set the new trends and highlight some of the best varieties to plant for guaranteed results. How are they chosen? They need to perform well, be reasonably resistant to pests and diseases, widely available and of good constitution, in other words, sturdy.

In the last few years, a few plants have become hits, like the Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’ with its extra-large heads of pure white flowers or the Verbena Bonariensis with its small, purple, flowers on very tall stems. On another hand, other plants remain undefeated, and we can never get enough of them. These more traditional plants may remind you of your grandparent’s garden and if they are still bestsellers nowadays, it is for very good reasons: they are great plants!

So, if you want a garden bursting with colour this summer with minimum effort, pack it up with geraniums, begonias and the likes. They will not disappoint! For a sunny or shady spot, for dry soil or for pots… they will not let you down.


Long Flowering Season

Classified as summer bedding and most often grown as annuals, these plants will flower for months on end. It’s no wonder why they are still preferred for large hanging baskets and planters around town. Geraniums can easily be kept from one year to the next in a frost-free area, although they tend to become a bit woody after the second year. Begonia tubers (the one with very big, double flowers and trailing varieties) can be lifted and stored in a shed for the winter.

Begonias with Coleus. Photo by Rebecca Niver 


You may also like the surfinias (trailing petunias) and bacopa for your hanging baskets along with the ever-popular blue lobelia. All these will bloom from the beginning of the summer until the first frost, relentlessly flowering through the season.


Million Bells (callibrachoa) are trailing plants with small petunia-like flowers. Photo by Emma Henderson 


Showy Blooms

Much like an Irish postcard showcasing the front of a pub adorned with vibrant hanging baskets, these plants appear to be an integral part of Irish culture.

The small white flowers of the alyssum are also highly scented. Photo by Al Soot 


From seas of thousands of tiny blooms (alyssum) to large flowers (dahlias), you would sometimes forget that these plants also bear foliage! From the border to the vase, create wonderful displays with dahlias, cosmos or snapdragons. They are available in array of colours to suit your planting scheme.

Different varieties of Dahlias by Photo by Earl Wilcox 

Add scent to it with sweet pea, nemesia or carnations, for borders and pots that welcome you with gorgeous fragrances.

Bicolour carnation by Anastasiya Romanova 


From bold yellows and oranges (marigolds) to soft pinks and mauves (lobelias), colour will be everywhere!


African marigolds by Julia Kwiek 


Easy to Grow

No need to be green fingered to be successful with these beauties. If they remain so popular, it is because they are really easy to grow. Some, like the geranium, will even be quite forgiving if you forget to water it once in a while. In general, success relies on a few good practices: water regularly, feed every two weeks and keep deadheading for a profusion of flowers for months.


Trailing geranium in a window box by Hermann Wittekopf 

If you have very little time (or are very forgetful), opt for the begonia as it doesn’t need to be deadheaded, the flowers will simply fall off. It is also the best (with Fuchsia) for shadier areas.

You can also add Stay wet granules, mixed in the compost, in your containers so they do not dry out as fast in the sun, and slow-release fertiliser, so you won’t need to feed fortnightly.


So rather than old-fashioned, these blooms are simply timeless thanks to their outstanding qualities. Make a bit of room for them in your planting scheme: white geraniums look great with box topiary and ornamental grasses for a contemporary, slightly formal look. Nemesias, osteopermums and lobelias will suit a more natural/wild garden. In other words, they still have their place in our gardens today!

1 comment

  • Annie Mccllough May 31, 2024 at 2:48 pm

    Just love you guys ! You are so very helpful ! And what I love is that you take the time to help and chat ! It makes dads day 87 years old ! 🥰

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