Episode 115 - Show Notes & Advice

episode 115 | show notes & advice

episode description

This week, Sarah catches up with returning guest, Gary Newell. As the Senior Horticultural Buyer at Sarah Raven, Gary is a fount of knowledge when it comes to finding plants with royal charm. From the most patriotic colour combinations to flowers loved by pollinators, the pair discuss their top 12 regal flowers for marking the coronation this spring. 

in this episode, discover

  • Gary and Sarah’s top picks for celebrating the coronation
  • The best varieties to encourage biodiversity 
  • What to sow and grow for the most regal colour combinations

advice sheet

Rudbeckia ‘Enchanted Series’ (2:30)

Introduced to the Sarah Raven catalogue this year, Gary says he loves these rudbeckias for their golden tones and how, as they age, they change colour, which Gary says is a real spectacle. 

He has also counted 50 blooms from one plant, which makes it a really strong producer due to its naturally branching nature. Nectar-rich, these flowers are well-loved by pollinators, from early summer up to the first frost. 

Sara says they are really good for picking and are super long-lasting in the vase. Take a small plug in May and by mid-June, you will have a huge pot full of flowers.

Delphiniums (5:42)

After studying pictures of High Grove, Gary noticed that dramatic varieties of plants always seem to be on display, such as delphiniums and lupins, with minaret blooms that protrude out of a border and provide height and structure. 

Lupin ‘Noble Maiden’ in striking white looks brilliant alongside the Delphinium Border Collection, which includes Delphinium x 'Benary's Pacific Black Knight' and ‘Delphinium x 'Benary's Pacific Summer Skies' along with new, Delphinium ‘Red Lark’ for the perfect ‘Union Jack’ colour combination. 

Ultimate Flower Meadow Mix (7:04)

Reflecting on the walled garden at High Grove, Sarah says that wild flowers are often present. A gorgeous collection of annuals that starts with cornflowers, ammi, and poppies. It’s wafty, meadow-like, and isn’t at all crammed together. Cosmos then follows with vibrant pinks, carmine reds, and whites. 

Unlike many meadow mixes, this has been designed to transcend the seasons, for a much longer flowering period. Totally excellent for the year of the coronation or for filling a bare patch of ground with something colourful. This mix will flower from late June to around October time.

Pelargoniums (10:11)

Inspired by last year’s dry and hot summer, Gary says a lot of people struggled with their gardens in the heat. Pelargoniums thrived however, which means a lot of people will be introducing this variety into their gardens this summer.

In particular, Gary says Pelargonium 'Trend Lasse White' (Zonal) is a great variety, along with the Pelargonium 'Moonflair Burgundy' (Ivy). Ideal for window boxes as you get both trailing and upright flowers. Also, it’s a patriotic display of red and white flowers. 

Plant out in May to mark the coronation for flowers from June. 

Hazel and sweet peas (11:25)

Again, revisiting the notion of the walled garden, Sarah recalls visiting High Grove and seeing the hazel, and other natural coppiced materials throughout the garden, woven into arches. 

Running east to west, Sarah says they have beautiful colonnades of hazel arches interwoven with sweet peas. There are a few varieties of sweet peas that Sarah explains nicely align with the coronation theme. 

Sweet Pea ‘Princess Elizabeth’, in a soft coral-pink, looks gorgeous along with regal and royal ‘Blue Velvet’ – which flowers right into September. The latter will beat a clematis for flowering time and is grown as a border plant with hazel teepees. 

Finally, Sweet Pea ‘Matucana’ – bicolour, blue-purple, and burgundy, with tremendous scent and a long-flowering period finishes off this majestic display.

Clematis ‘Blue River’ (13:30)

There are a number of clematis bearing royal names such as Clematis ‘Prince Charles’ and Clematis ‘Princess Kate’ but Clematis ‘Blue River’ is excellent for cutting. It also doesn’t climb; it rambles and can be grown with a support alongside sweet peas. 

Sarah explains that ‘Blue River’ was part of the clematis trial last year, and was also highlighted as a favourite by Rachel Siegfried, in a recent podcast episode. Listen back to this episode here:  

This variety has a particularly long flowering time, from early summer until early autumn. 

Chasmanthium latifolium (North America wild oats) (16:10)

Passionately recommended by Sarah, this grass sits within the golden theme at the start of the episode. Sarah loves to use it for its golden tones on the Christmas table. For extra burnish, Sarah suggests lighting spraying with gold spray paint. 

Quite large, incredibly elegant, and incredibly architectural in stature, they dry fantastically and last forever. 

Sarah explains that they do take around five months to germinate, so patience is essential. This grass also works really well in flower arrangements due to its incredibly regal and robust nature

Bupleurum longifolium 'Bronze Beauty' (17:30)

Individual flowers that look like jagged-topped crowns in copper or gold. It self-seeds gradually and was first planted at Perch Hill around 10 years ago. 

Thrives in sun or dappled shade with incredibly elegant foliage, it’s majestic, delicate, and fit for a king! Great for any gardener or florist who likes to grow herbaceous perennials. 

Nemesia 'Sunmesia Tropical' (18:30)

Superb for guaranteeing flowers in May, Nemesia is often grown as an annual and even a perennial in recent years thanks to advanced breeding methods. In recent years, Gary has come to consider Nemesia 'Sunmesia Tropical' as the most magnificent variety. 

Campari red flowers with flecks of orange, it’s rich looking and en masse would look incredible. Beautiful in Leaf Planters, this is also one of Sarah’s absolute favourite container plants. 

Sarah also loves Nemesia ‘Lady Anne’ which Gary introduced to her a little while ago. Striking navy blue with a purple nose, you’ll see it in the garden from late April through to September.