I love a sprinkling of Nigella at the front of the border. It tends to self seed but I often add more seeds as well direct to the ground. I like 'Persian Jewels mixed', Miss Jeykll' and 'Moody Blues' which has a lovely deep cornflower blue in it too.


I love Nemesia, they flower all year and many are scented especially 'Wisley Vanilla' which I now keep in the kitchen window sill pot. They survive the harshest winters and just keep on coming.

Myosotis palustris 'Alba'

As an alba this should be white but the flowers are definitely light blue so it may have been mislabelled. Very pretty forget-me-not anyway.

Miscanthus sinensis

Fabulous, very tall (2m) strong grass that doesn't spread too much, comes up every year and has beautiful silvery coloured seed heads which start purplish and which look wonderful when out with the sun behind them. The heads last through most of the winter too and are then stripped in early Spring by the birds for their nests. I cut it back to the ground once they've done this. Great value and as good as or better than Stipa gigantica in my book because it has striped green and white leaves as well.

Mimulus luteus

This is really a weed. It went everywhere. It has big leaves and nice yellow flowers but needs strict control. It even jumped out of the pond into the red bed. I have removed all but very little from both places.

Magnolia stellata

A pretty, small shrub it did well in its pot 2008 and 2009 and then only had three flowers in 2011 so I fed it better and it was good in 2012 and 2013.

Lupinus chamissonis

Fabulous foliage and small purple, broom/pea-like flowers.

Lonicera americana

This is a fabulous honeysuckle. The small buds are purple, they go red and then open pink and yellow in May and June and then fade to nearly white. It is heavenly scented, vigorous and scrambles over my square arch across the side passage. Some are evergreen but mine isn't and it has black not red berries. More basic but far superior to L. 'Graham Thomas' in my humble opinion.

Lonicera 'Graham Thomas'

It flowered well originally but became poorer and some of it died in 2012 so I tidied it up and fed it and it is flowering well and smelling fab in July 2013.

Lobelia cardinalis

Bright red with purple foliage this one likes its feet wet - and that's what it gets on the pond shelf.