15 plants

If we had to choose plants to start a new garden with and was limited to 15 they would be:

1. Allium - I especially love the tall purple and white varieties, they look great poking through evergreen shrubs or contrasted with acid greens.  We tend to leave these in the ground when they have died as we like the seed heads.  This year we learn't from a that you may cut the foliage right back if it starts to look tatty and this won't harm the remaining flower spike.  

2. Cosmos - My preference is bipinnatus over sulphureus as I prefer the wispy fern-like bright green foliage that accompanies the bright flowers.  The foliage on the latter is much darker and more defined and in my view, less striking.

3. Dahlia - I have my Dad to thank for introducing me to these and I am so thankful.  Excellent mixed with Cosmos and they flower around the same time - at least they do here in Zone 9. 

4. Delphinium - I just really like these, I think they are underrated and they look great in a mixed cottage border.

5. Euphorbia - I always think of Loreen singing Euphoria at the Eurovision Song Contest when I look at a Euphorbia, I love them (especially when wearing protective gloves). 

6. Fern - I have said before, there is something quite magical about ferns that return me to my childhood and holidays in Wales visiting various national parks and other areas of outstanding beauty.   

7. Foxglove - Good old digitalis.  Everything about them is poisonous but their structure and beauty totally outweighs their toxicity.  Even when the flowers have all faded and fallen their spikes remain splendid in the mixed border.  

8. Geranium - Despite only just discovering these over the last few months from visiting various show-gardens we are already hooked and can see their potential at the front of a wide and deep flower border.

9. Geum - These have been the star of the borders by continually flowering throughout the late spring and summer months.  This is the first time in my life that I have been bang-on-trend with the Guardian raving about them recently referring to them as a must-have at Chelsea.  Don't mistaken these for the common yellow variety that self-seed everywhere (Geum aleppicum), go for the bright oranges of Geum coccineum like Totally Tangerine and Borisii pictured below.

10. Heuchera - I have sang the praises of these beauties before, they are so versatile and look great wherever we have put them. Cutting back the dead growth in the Spring rejuvenates them and they burst back into life providing new colour and later spurts of tiny flowers that the bees really love.

11. Hosta - I just love the rubbery appearance of the foliage and the flower spikes and the fact that they take up lots of room appearing from nowhere in the Spring.  If kept healthy around the pond slugs don't munch on them too much either (our numerous frogs probably have something to do with that too).  

12. Lavender - These don't do well on clay as they become woody and have a short life-span unless you continually cut them back.  However that said, Munstead seems to do pretty well in our garden.  

13. Rudbeckia - We love these as they brighten up the main garden and the front garden mid-to-late summer and last for absolutely ages.  Next year we are going to partner them with a selection of orange and yellow Heleniums that we are going to grow from seed.  

14. Verbena - of the bonariensis variety.  Despite there being around 250 species in the Verbena family we have only raised this particular type from seed.   They look great planted in drifts in any part of a flower border, bees, butterflies and dragonflies love them too. 

15. Viburnum - Great for providing structure and autumnal foliage colour.  After flowering some of them provide berries in the winter for wildlife we have nudum, opulus and tinus which all have different characteristics that set them apart from each other making them special.


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