Garden colours

With their diversity of form and colour it is sometimes easy to forget that the main purpose of flowers is to attract pollinators.

Colchicum autumnale

Crocus-like but a member of the Lily family, autumn flowering and useful in providing seasonal interest in meadows. The flowers are preceded by a rather untidy rosette of strap-shaped leaves.

Pasque flower

A rare British native and still to be found on a few chalk downland slopes. Easy to grow with beautiful flowers in March / April followed by attractive seed heads.

Lady's smock

Also known as cuckoo flower: a dainty British native thriving in damp meadow conditions, seeding about when happy but never invasive.


A spring flowering bulb possibly one of our most beautiful wild flowers. Loves damp meadow conditions and multiplies freely when happy.

Fritillary meadow

Planting Fritillary bulbs in an area of grass / lawn together with cowslips and cuckoo flowers provides a stunning combination for a spring meadow. Make sure the grass / lawn area is of low fertility and adopt an appropriate mowing regime to ensure flowering each year. No mowing from January to mid-late June then cut and keep grass to about 2-3 inches from then on.

Allium 'Purple Sensation' and Stipa tenuissima

Stipa / Allium: an unusual combination of the feather grass (Stipa tenuissima) and Allium 'Purple Sensation'. The Allium's pom-pom like flowers seem almost to be suspended above the waves of grass.

Crocus tommasinianus

A spring favourite: small but reliable flowers open wide in the spring sunshine revealing the orange stamens.


Difficult to get garden tulip varieties (but not species tulips) to provide a repeat performance in their second year of flowering, particularly if planted out in the garden in a clay soil. I plant mine in pots and use fresh bulbs each year.

Iris reticulata

There are lots of different varieties, and growing them in pots enables the exquisite flowers to be studied close-up.