‘So easy’ – Katie Rushworth shares top tips for perennial ‘rewarding with flowers’

Love Your Garden: Alan Titchmarsh on growing roses in 2011

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The garden designer will join Alan Titchmarsh and his team on ITV’s Love Your Garden tonight. During a previous episode, the group transformed a neglected outdoor space into a charming tea garden.

Alan’s team revamped the green space in Birmingham for retired nurse Kath Ryan who had provided vital support to thousands of veterans. 

Fondly known as the “cake lady”, Kath had baked dozens of cakes for service men and women, with some veterans having been seriously injured during deployment.

Humbled by her generosity, the veterans appointed the help of Alan’s team to create a tea garden which offered an area for baking, socialising and relaxing.

To gain inspiration for the tea garden, Alan visited Admington Hall Gardens in Warwickshire to explore its extensive grounds.

During his visit, Alan pointed out the tall evergreens, which he described as “elegant focal points”.

Reflecting on the tea garden design, Alan highlighted that a range of pots and planters would be best suited for the low maintenance green space, while achieving a “striking” result. 

Katie, who is a garden designer, planted an Astrantia, a perennial which she praised for its low maintenance and ability to provide flowers in abundance.

While planting one, she said: “They are so easy to look after and they reward you with flowers for such a long time.” 

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She described the herbaceous plant as having “elegant” stems, which “float in amongst other planting”.

“You can really make it flower for a good lot longer,” said Katie, adding that an effective technique was to trim the plant when its first set of flowers emerged, which would help promote both leaf and flower growth to last through the autumn.

Katie advised planting Astrantia in moist soil in an area which is partially shaded.

She also planted low maintenance shrubs, including a Pittosporum and a Viburnum Tinus, which flowers for a long time and bears berries during the winter. 

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After installing a water fountain, whose style had been inspired by the visit to Admington Gardens, Alan showcased some ferns which were ideal for planting under a water feature.

He chose a Crested fern and a Hart’s-Tongue fern.

Alan recommended planting ferns in a rich, moist soil to ensure they “thrive”.

“They have a wonderful aromatic moorland tang, they’re a great addition to a sensory garden as well as looking good,” he said.

While showcasing a Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’, Alan praised the perennial’s low maintenance.

“Few plants have more impact than hydrangeas for very little care and attention,” he said. Alan described them as having “lovely delicate mopheads of creamy white and lime green.”

Other features of the revamped green space included an edible garden, which had incorporated colourful planters to provide a “classic tea time feel”.

Love Your Garden airs tonight on ITV at 8pm.

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