A cool look for hot summer gardens

To all, of you keen gardeners just itching for better weather to start planting, here is a cool look for hot Summer gardens.

For all the bright colours of summer, it’s always nice to have some quiet corners of the garden tenderly stippled with greens and whites – the sparkle of sun and cool shadows of crimped ferns – which are the most enchanting.

A walled garden benefits from being draped in a frosting of climbers which look like privet-scented powder-puffs.

Pileostegia is a fantastic evergreen climber and makes a nice change from the hard-to-beat star jasmine.

The August Lily has classy scented blooms like small bunches of lilies. In the heat of summer, all this lovely green foliage and white flower can remind you of a dish of vanilla ice cream on a hot day.

climbing hydrangea relative

climbing hydrangea relative

Why not try Queen Anne’s Lace, a tall summer annual, you will have to plant a fleet and they are easiest raised as a group where you can sow them in twos or threes.

The biggest challenge with creating a summer snowstorm garden is that white, planted too liberally, can take on the glare of car headlights – almost bleached out in strong sunshine. So if you want to add some cool milkiness, go easy on the big impact flowers such as ‘Annabelle’ hydrangeas and delphiniums, and tuck your frosting away into shaded corners where it can quietly pulsate and add much-needed illumination.

Ethereal perennials

Ethereal perennials

Imagine not a dinner-room of mashed potato but instead, an English flower meadow in midsummer – all foaming with cow parsley and dandelion clocks – with seahorses of hogweed and meadowsweet rippling through swaying grasses. Meadowsweet would grow happily over here but classier still would be white thalictrums, though again you need to go for the effect wholeheartedly, throwing a truckload of plants into your patch.

Any white self-seeders are always to be made welcome such as sweet tobacco with its evening scents. I love the way it, too, puts itself about the place, settling into corners and looking perfectly at home just as real snow would. A lime green euphorbia has the same nomadic habit and when the two get together, the effect is as cooling but invigorating as a peppermint sundae.

Jerusalem sage

Jerusalem sage

Silver foliage is another good way to create a bit of frosty summer effervescence and is easy to find on various variegated plants, but it’s worth sniffing out some more unusual specimens which have strong leaf shapes as well as ghostliness. Just resist going overboard as white flowers are best seen against plenty of green and not confused with too many stripes and streaks.

Valerie Finnis

Valerie Finnis

‘Valerie Finnis’ is one of the few perennial plants with a silver leaf that makes itself noticed from a distance, similar to Jerusalem sage it really shines but this is a big beast so you will need a large garden to use it to best effect.

We hope this has inspired you to start dressing the garden for the Summer ahead.