Gardening: Expert shares top choice of plants for a ‘pop of colour’ – ‘all year round!’

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Alan Williams, creative director at Form Plants, will be designing The Parsley Box Garden at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which takes place later this month. He spoke exclusively to and shared his top choice of plants to feature in a garden.

To ensure a garden features a good variety of plants, it is important to choose plants which have different tones and leaf structures.

“You have to make the most of what a plant can give you all year round,” said Alan, who suggested planting a Nepeta, or Catmint, which is a perennial. 

“It has silver leaves and blue, purple and white flowers, so it usually fits into most colour schemes,” said Alan.

 Alongside the Nepeta, Alan suggested placing an Alchemilla Mollis, or Lady’s Mantle, as it’s also known.

For a plant which provides height and a vibrant colour, Alan suggested planting a Perovskia atriplicifolia, which is a sub-shrub.

“They get quite tall and they have these beautiful spheres of colour,” he said. 


Hostas are shade-loving plants which provide plenty of foliage.

“Hostas are really great in a garden and are also edible,” said Alan.

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“The tonal leaves and the flowers stay all year round until they die back in the winter and need to be cut back.”

Geraniums not only offer good texture in a garden, but they also provide effective ground cover.

“A Geranium Rozanne has this amazing purple flower, and it just keeps flowering and it’s a plant that just keeps on giving,” said Alan.

“It also has a good leaf structure so you always have something through the year and the flowers in the spring and summer, but in the winter, you can just cut it back and forget about it.”


When choosing which bulbs to plant, Alan suggested a Camassia, which is a hardy perennial, or tulips “to give that pop of colour in the early spring”, he said.

“You’ll know that the season is coming and your garden is going to start to flourish.”

It is important to choose varying heights of plants to ensure you achieve “nice swathes of planting”, advised Alan.

“I never liked tier planting where it starts tall at the boundary and comes down to the front,” said Alan.  

“I always think there should be swathes of planting so it’s not all 2D and instead becomes very 3D, so there’s always a movement to the planting.

“I always look at it like a ribbon, so there’s a natural flow to everything.”

Advising on a group of perennials to pair together, Alan suggested planting Nepeta, a Perovskia atriplicifolia, a variety of Aster, Persicaria, Agastache, along with an Agapanthus or a type of tulip.

“You will get a rhythm of different colours popping through, which will also make the mauves, the blues and the greens, pop,” he added.

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