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Cultivating Your Colours: A Parliamentarian's Guide to Summer Gardening

Horticultural Trades Association

6 min read Partner content

During the election campaign, the tranquillity of the garden offers a refreshing escape from the rigours of political life. You can show your favourite political colours this Summer with some top tips on how to bring vibrance and life to your garden, courtesy of the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA).

Gorgeous Greens

Embrace the refreshing tones of green with fantastic foliage that brings a sense of renewal and vitality to your garden. Introduce a touch of elegance to your garden by planting green-leafed trees this summer. One example of many is the green-leafed Catalpa. These trees are known for their large, heart-shaped leaves and with their distinctive foliage and rapid growth, they can quickly become a stunning centrepiece in your garden landscape. Planting more trees can provide shading which can act to reduce outdoor temperatures, the Office of National Statistics reports that the shade of urban trees saved £248 million in 2017 alone. As explained in our recent Manifesto, the HTA wishes to improve planning to ensure green spaces can deliver on urban cooling, flood resilience and much more.

For structure and privacy for your garden, consider hedges such as beech, yew and hornbeam. These can be shaped to suit your garden’s aesthetic, giving you another way to express yourself through your garden.  You can add visual interest with foliage plants like hostas, known for their striking leaves that come in all shapes and sizes. They are versatile and thrive in shaded areas, making them perfect for filling in garden borders. Their lush foliage adds depth to your garden, create a serene woodland-like atmosphere. Who wouldn’t want to emulate the beauty of the woods in their garden? Trees are marvellous and one report estimates that all the trees across Great Britain currently remove over 16 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) per year.

Radiant Reds

Add a passionate touch to your garden with vibrant red blooms. Red hot pokers, red roses and red Lobelia cardinalis can infuse your garden with warm and intensity, creating a bold statement that attracts pollinators. Studies have found that more bee visits are recorded in domestic gardens than most other land uses. They are important spaces to encourage the provision of pollen, nectar and habitat for many species.

These flowers are perfect for adding a dramatic flair to any garden space, drawing the eye and creating focal points that are both vibrant and elegant. Red roses, with their timeless beauty and variety of forms, can be planted in beds, borders or containers, providing continuous colour and fragrance throughout the season. Red hot pokers add architectural interest with their tall, fiery spokes and Lobelia Cardinalis offers a splash of colour near water features or in partially shaded areas.

Brilliant Blues

Introduce the calming serenity of blue to your gardens with flowers like delphiniums, caryopteris salvias and blue bedding lobelias. These cools tones compliment any garden and evoke a peaceful atmosphere that invites relaxation in the busy election period.

Delphiniums with their tall spires of brilliant blue blossoms, add vertical interest to any garden borders or floral arrangements, Caryopteris, also known as bluebeard, charms with its clusters of tiny blue flowers that attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, bringing life to your garden. Salvias are not only visually stunning, but also drought tolerant and low-maintenance, making them ideal for busy gardeners. This will become increasingly important in the coming years where droughts have become more common. The HTA wish to introduce a grant scheme to help counter this by investing in reservoirs and other water saving innovations more information can be found in the HTA Environmental Horticulture Manifesto for the next government of the UK: hta.org.uk/manifesto

Outstanding Oranges

Brighten your garden with cheerful hues of orange flowers, which add a burst of energy and joy to your outdoor space. Marigolds with their bold and bright blooms, come in shades of vibrant orange, gold and yellow, creating a striking display that instantly lifts the spirits. Additionally, apricot-coloured roses exude elegance and sophistication, infusing your garden with a touch of romance and charm.

Consider incorporating other orange-themed elements into your garden design, such as decorative pots, garden ornaments or outdoor furniture. A trip to your local garden centre can provide additional inspiration and a variety of summer bloomers to enhance your garden’s aesthetic. Compliment your garden with late summer performers like echinaceas or rudbeckias. If you need any advice, HTA member garden centres have experts who would be happy to offer suggestions on the right plants to complement your garden masterpiece. We have nearly 1400 members across the UK.

Youthful Yellows

Illuminate your garden with the radiant glow of yellow blooms infusing your outdoors with warmth and cheerfulness.

Embrace the brilliant beauty of sunflowers, whose bold, golden petals create a striking focal point and attract pollinators like bees and butterflies. Add a touch of elegance with delicate coreopsis, known for its dainty, daisy-like flowers. Additionally, consider vibrant gaillardias, their sunny yellow flowers can add bursts of colour to any beds or borders. These hardy perennials are not only easy to grow but consistently deliver gorgeous blooms throughout the summer months.

General Guide for Summer Garden Bliss
  • If herbaceous perennials become floppy, insert twig or plant supports to keep them upright and looking their best. Plants not only add value to our gardens, they deliver huge economic benefits. Ornamental plant production in the UK is worth over £1.6 billion. One of the HTA’s aims is to take this success and make the UK a global leader in environment horticulture through increasing sector productivity and accessibility.
  • To keep summer flowers vibrant feed your plants with a special flowering plant fertiliser to help replenish essential nutrients. Regularly dead-heading flowers, by removing faded blooms, will encourage continuous growth and the production of new buds, allowing you to enjoy their serene beauty all summer long.
  • Ensure your plants are adequately watered, especially those in containers, where soil can dry out more quickly. However, you don’t have to get out the garden hose every day! Mulching the soil helps to retain moisture, crucial during the hotter months, and provides essential nutrients as it breaks down. Consider installing water storage systems to collect water so that it is never wasted. 50% of UK HTA ornamental growers use rainwater capture systems, however, there is an appetite for this to increase to help improve the health and abundance of water available in the UK.

The HTA represents nearly 1400 members across the entire Environmental Horticulture supply chain in the UK. The industry footprint covers 567 constituencies and underpins goals in the Environmental Improvement Plan. Millions of people in the UK are regular garden enthusiasts and enjoy physical and mental health benefits as a result. For more information on the industry read our manifesto hta.org.uk/manifesto, visit https://hta.org.uk/policy/political-stakeholder-briefings or email policy@hta.org.uk

We are the ‘original green industry’ helping to deliver on net-zero by growing and planting trees to absorb carbon dioxide, help clean the air and cool urban settings. Public green spaces and parks are key to this with the majority of the UK population living in towns and cities. Such green spaces have also been proven to return on investment in terms of social, health and well-being.

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