With more unpredictable weather patterns, from downpours and cold snaps to extreme heat and drought, we’re seeing a trend towards tougher, more resilient planting that will cope with extreme weather.
The trend towards gravel gardens and the plants that cope with hot dry weather, such as salvia, cistus and ornamental grasses, will continue. But we’re also seeing designers and gardeners looking to plants that will cope with cold snaps too. Plants with a higher RHS hardiness rating of 6 or 7, such as dwarf pines (Pinus mugo), Potentilla fruticosa, deutzia, Rosa rugosa, and Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’ are worth considering if you found that plants such as hebes, pittosporum, euphorbia, rosemary and trachelospermum suffered last year. The ever-popular Trachelospermum jasminoides may also begin to make way for other evergreen climbers such as Akebia quinata.
And while some perennials such as Erigeron karvinskianus copes well in drought, it suffered in the cold snap, while brunnera, Geranium ‘Rozanne’, actea, ajuga, stachys and Thalictrum ‘Black Stockings’ fared better.
Charlie Harpur, Head Gardener of Knepp Walled Garden, has found plants such as the tall white-flowered sanguisorba cultivar ‘Korean Snow’ to be very tough. While Tom Massey, author of ‘Resilient Garden’ recommends Papaver dubium subsp. lecoqii ‘albiflorum’ (Beth’s poppy) and Sorbus aucuparia (rowan).
We can’t predict what this winter will bring, but we can monitor how plants cope and seek out the varieties that will weather whatever the future may throw at us.