Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland




Gardening Focus on shrubs

PARTICULAR plants provide perfect solutions. Here's a closer look at some special shrubs you can plant now to solve your garden problems.

Firstly, herbs are the most useful little plants you can grow.

A great fly repellant is Tansy. and if you have a problem with ants plant Pennyroyal. It works.

To help keep those furry fiends at bay try the cat repellant Rue.

Feverfew is an easy herb to grow. curing headaches and Migraine, and for depression there is of course St.Johns Wort (a form of Hypericum).

Just for relaxation there is the obvious Camomile, which does not form a satisfactory lawn despite the rumours, but does provide tea. Likewise, the easily grown Fennel. Nasturiums and Bergamot (Monarda) are great in spicy salads. Both flowers and foliage are safe to eat.

Secondly, for the garden pond or just for that permanently sodden corner, there are some species that are sold as garden plants which do well such as Joseph's Coat (Houttuniya cordata) and the marsh marigold (Caltha palustris).

Grasses can look great in a pond too and these include Acorus gramineus, with fresh shoots of green every year. Really outstanding is the architectural curly-whirly sedge (Juncus effusus'Spiralis') which speaks for itself.

Thirdly, more suggestions for planting those particularly impossible areas.

A rather special plant is Leymus Arenarius. This little delight is planted en-mass around the edges of African deserts to hold back encroachment. It reaches 5ft tall and has an indefinite spread.

An outstanding shrub, again invasive and ideal in that area populated only by the worst kinds of weeds and used not only by your dog as a toilet but by the dog next door and their extended family is Aegopodium podagraria 'variegatum'.

Now, they say a weed is a plant in the wrong place and how right they are, because this is a form of ground elder.

Yet in the right setting this is transformed from pernicious weed to welcome wonder, capable even of surviving in the dryest. stoniest soil under the densest tree canopy. This looks great in a container: it's best in a restricted border and has light foliage and white flowers.

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