Gardening / Hardy plants for small gardens

ONE of the hardiest plants for small gardens are Ericas.

Cedric Bryant.

I planted groups of Erica darleyensis pink at our coast house 15 years ago and they have been neither watered nor fed. Temperatures drop to zero and reach 42C in summer at Malua Bay and yet, despite all this, they survive and continue to flower year after year.

Erica darleyensis is available with pink or white flowers and is a cross between Erica carnea and E. erigena. They are acid-loving plants and particularly suitable for coastal gardens, being salt tolerant with a long life.

Erica… a good choice for a hedge border.

Ericas are winter flowering, so now is the time for planting or potting up containers.

No respectable garden in Britain or Europe would be without Ericas as border plants, in window boxes and as the perfect container plant. An example of the variety in Holland is illustrated here.

A superb cultivar to look out for is Erica “Mrs. D.F. Maxwell” with deep cerise flowers and dark green leaves, growing to 40-50 centimetres. Erica carnea, or winter heath, is one of the most widely planted shrubs in cultivation growing as hummocks covered with rosy-red flowers.

JOSEPH Wedgwood, the English potter founded the now famous company with his eldest son John (1766-1844). John was also passionate about horticulture and circulated a paper proposing to start a society for the purpose of encouraging horticulture in all its facets.

As a result on March 7, 1804, John Wedgwood met with six other like-minded people to plan for the creation of a new horticultural society, to be known as the Royal Horticultural Society. He became its first treasurer.

Wedgwood is famous for decorating its pottery with floral motifs and will introduce a new collection this year called “Wonderlust”, inspired by the grand European tours of the 18th century, featuring nature and cultures that inspired many great gardens of that period.


  • Max Bourke will speak on “Early days of Cavan, Westbourne etcetera” at the Horticultural Society meeting at the Wesley Church Centre, National Circuit, Forrest, 7.30pm, on August 21. No charge, all welcome with supper after the talk.
  • Plant seed potatoes now.
  • When planting a hedge, dig a trench rather than individual holes to enable roots to spread out sideways.
  • Prune wisteria back to three nodes (leaf joints) on all long shoots.
  • Prune summer-flowering shrubs such as Buddleia or butterfly bush. Prune this plant very hard, even down to one metre irrespective of height.

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