Before & After

A small sunny corner


Many properties have several small sunny areas scattered throughout the landscape. In particular in frequently used or viewed areas, they can be used as great little accent pockets.


A small sunny corner


The brief for the area in the photograph is to suggest a planting scheme consisting predominantly of flowering shrubs that grow happily in sun for most of the day, and include some that are suitable for picking.


A small sunny corner


The lime-green foliage of the existing Coleonema pulchrum 'Sunset gold' would create a lovely contrast with purple flowers of for example Lavandula stoechas (Spanish lavender) or the more strongly scented Lavandula angustifolia (English lavender). Purple in turn combines well with blues and pinks. This gives a relaxing and soothing colour scheme that is quite easily achieved with many plants to choose from. A hint of yellow or lime-green adds a little spark and prevents it from becoming dull and unexciting.

Plants that can be used include Hydrangea, Delphinium and Echinacea purpurea (cone flower). Ageratum houstonianum (floss flower) produces beautiful purplish blue, fluffy flowers that last well on water. The species itself is very free-flowering and flowers for a long time until the frosts set in.The plant will usually survive medium frosts if you delay cutting the plant back until early spring. Many Ageratum houstonianum cultivars are dwarf plants that are more suitable for the front of a border (but not for picking). Other suggestions for the foreground include low-growing Centaurea (corn flower) cultivars, Armeria maritima (thrift), and the existing Ophiopogon (mondo grass).

In general, try to select flowering plants with strong colours; for example choose deep purple rather than soft lilac. Lighter colours tend to wash out in bright sunlight and as a consequence soft lilac will appear nearly white.

To give the area year-round appeal and structure, add some evergreen shrubs, such as an additional Coleonema pulchrum 'Sunset gold', Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Golf balll', and a Daphne odora near the side-wall where it receives some shade. Viburnum tinus 'Eve Price' would brighten up the corner with winter flowers that have a wonderful scent, and are followed by dark blue berries.