The main entrance to our cottage is within a small courtyard. It faces north-west here and because of a taller neighbouring cottage on our right the only sun to reach the edge is in mid-summer when it’s higher enough to be above the roof! We have a granite ledge running along the face of the cottage in which all sorts of things self-seed – dog violets, crocosmia, hogweed, valerian (centranthus rubra), hebes, native ferns and many weeds. There is a rather elderly pink climbing rose which is definitely past its best, a climbing hydrangea and a rather rampant Virginia Creeper which clothe the wall.
This is my container garden, though finding plants suitable has proved to be a challenge. Acers hate the wind that swirls around the courtyard, tall flowers get flattened and many plants hate the wet as the pots don’t dry out quickly. I have also tried clematis in containers, but failed.
- Osmunda regalis ‘Purpurascens’ (Royal Fern)
- Athyrium filix-femi
- Athyrium Silver Fall
- Athyrium Vidalii
- Cyrtomium fortunei
- Hakonechloa mac. ‘Aureola’
Skimmia japonica ‘rubella’ (male), has particularly decorative, dark green foliage margined with red, and produces red flower buds in autumn that look attractive all winter, opening to white flowers in spring.
Skimmia japonica ‘nymans’ (female) is wide-spreading in habit with slender leaves and bright red berries as long as a male variety is planted close by (‘Kew Green’, ‘Rubella’ or ‘Fragrans’ would be ideal).
These slow-growing shrubs are excellent for structure in the border or in pots, forming rounded mounds of oval, leathery, dark green or reddish green leaves. Large clusters of white or greenish flowers, borne in spring, are often very fragrant. Keep pots well watered.
Hydrangea – white mop-head.
Heuchera ‘Ginger Ale’
Hardy Fuchsias including ‘Beacon Rosa’ (pink), ‘Hawkshead’ (white), ‘Genii’ (golden foliage and cerise/violet flowers), ‘Garden News’ (magenta and pale pink), ‘Tom Thumb; (fuchsia pink and purple) and ‘Alice Hoffman’ (pink and white)
In the spring I have containers of dwarf narcissi, tulips and irises. In summer I use begonias and impatiens to add colour.