Summer Solstice: My 10 favourite garden plants of the Year so far.

In the northern hemisphere, the Summer Solstice takes place between June 20 and 22.

This year (2016), it’s on Monday, June 20. and the sun will rise at 4.45am and sunset will happen at 10.34pm.

I just thought in order to celebrate the halfway point through the year I’d show you the 10 plants that have performed nobility well in my garden up to this point.

Its not been easy picking just 10, but I hope you enjoy seeing my selection.

So lets begin….

The year started quite unseasonably warm then followed quite wet, eventually the snow fell and inconvenienced some users of my garden more than others.

Freddy the Cat not impressed with the snow.
Freddy the Cat not impressed with the snow.

In no particular order,

my First plant of note is:

No.1 Sarcococca hookeriana humilis. (Christmas Box).

Sarcococca hookeriana humilis. (Christmas Box).
Sarcococca hookeriana humilis. (Christmas Box).

Early flowers in the year were accompanied with gorgeous scent.

This Shrub is planted along a North West facing fence and does not see any sun, yet it grows well, and produces every year without fail an amazing spicy scent that carries across my garden, when the flowers fade it then produces an abundance of black shiny berries that the blackbirds sometimes try.

My 2nd plant of note is: Crocus tommasinianus

Crocus tommasinianus
Crocus tommasinianus

This little plant always comes as a surprise in my garden in the Spring, I always think its not got through the winter because of its lateness in making an appearance.

However it always just manages to put on a decent show despite my pathetic efforts to nurture it and spread it about the garden. Also a welcome nectar source for any early pollinators.

My 3rd plant of note is: CamelliaAce of Hearts

Camellia 'Ace of Hearts'
Camellia ‘Ace of Hearts’

When I first moved to this House, one of the first plants I wanted to get was a Red Camellia, however it took me about 5 years to actually get round to choosing one I liked then actually buy it.

About 3 years ago I chose Ace of Hearts because it was on offer at a local Garden Centre, now Camellias tend to sulk after planting and refuse to flower for a year or two, and that’s what happened with my Ace of Hearts, its been a bit lack lustre until this Spring when it went on to produce many lovely red flowers, a very pleasing display in a gloomy corner.

Its now putting on some new growth, So i’m hoping for a bigger and brighter display next year.

My 4th plant of note is: Hamamelis mollis

Hamamelis mollis. (Witch Hazel)
Hamamelis mollis. (Witch Hazel)

When I moved to this house this plant came with me in a pot.

It had been living in the pot unhappily for a few years, and now it continues to live unhappily in the garden here.

However it produces an abundance of highly scented flowers every late winter/Early Spring.

I love this plant so much that since I moved here I purchased and planted two other Hamamelis. They all live unhappily together producing amazing strongly scented flowers. I’ve decided I must always have a Hamamelis.

My fifth Plant of Note is: Narcissus ‘Tete a Tete’

Narcissus 'Tete a Tete'
Narcissus ‘Tete a Tete’

A surprising addition you may think..? well its a very good ‘do’er’, and fairly cheap to buy as its so readily available in shops etc…

I particularity like this plant, as its short flowering stems with occasional multiple blooms per stem stand up well to the weather vagaries during the early part of the year. It does well in containers and planted in clumps around the garden.

My sixth plant of note is:  Magnolia-x-loebneri-Leonard-Messel

Magnolia x loebneri Leonard Messel
Magnolia x loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’

I’ve always like Magnolias, and I often wondered where I could squeeze one into my garden, you see they have a tendency to grow, and grow a bit big.

So I’ve always put off buying one, however a garden blogging friend showed me their plant in their garden growing away nicely, and more importantly not growing too big, but flowering each spring. So I purchased to same species of Magnolia and planted it in a area of my garden where it would east likely need trimming back and let it get on with it.

And I’m glad I stopped thinking too much and just got one, every spring i’m treated to many lovely white and pale purple flowers and the plant has stayed a nice manageable size throughout.

My seventh plant of note is : Apple

Apple Blossom on James Grieve
Apple Blossom on James Grieve
Fruitlets on James Grieve.
Fruitlets on James Grieve.

This Apple tree is now in its 3rd year with me, In its first year it produced one flower, then one fruit which promptly fell off undeveloped.

In its second year year it produced masses of blossom and two fruits which promptly fell off undeveloped.

Now in its third year, I read it the riot act in early spring and gave it a yellow card as a warning, if I did not receive one decent edible Apple this Autumn, then I was digging it up.

So far its produced a mass of wonderful fragrant blooms, and loads of little fruitless have set….. watch this space.

My eighth plant of note is: Primula pulverulenta

primula pulverulenta
primula pulverulenta

I love this plant for two reasons, firstly its a really good do’er, its coming back stronger each spring and it will soon need dividing, which in turn gives me more plants to spread about the garden, and secondly I got the seed for this plant free through the Members seed list from the Hardy Plant Society.

I think this Autumn I will be sending plenty of seed back to the Hardy Plant Society for other members to grow.

My ninth plant of note is: Acer

Acer Palmatum
Acer Palmatum

The Acer in this picture is an unknown cultivar.

I found it as a seedling at the gardens where I work and dug it up to save it from the hoe.

I particularly like the fuller leaf types and this is a nice example. at the last count I have 7 Acers in various places in my garden, and several are in pots and get moved around depending on the seasons. When Acers are young they tend to suffer from wind burn, but a bit of protection or careful planning at planting time can help easily over come this.I’m hoping for some excellent Autumn foliage colours later in the year.

Finally, my 10th Plant of note is: Hosta.


These where my late mums favourite plants, and they have also become a favourite of mine as well.

I prefer the really striking leaf markings, however growing them in my garden is quite a challenge due to the amount of slugs in residence.

Over the years I’ve adopted various growing techniques to discover the best way to thwart a sluggy attack,  the picture above shows the lowest two Hostas with some sluggy leaf damage, but these plants are newly purchased an awaiting potting up and placing into their final positions up off the floor.

Its a sort of a Hosta theatre effect with plants placed on a planks over breeze blocks to raise the plants off the ground, the location is a shady part of my garden, by the back door and it suits the plants really well.

Problem is, I keep buying news plants and i’m seriously struggling for room, time for some more building me thinks.


Thanks for reading, and tell me in the comments below which plants have really stood out for you in your garden this year.

11 thoughts on “Summer Solstice: My 10 favourite garden plants of the Year so far.

Add yours

  1. Good choices! I wish we could reliably grow the upright primroses here but I’ve never had any luck. I went ga-ga for hostas a while back and at one point had eighty-some varieties throughout the garden. It won’t work for ones in pots, but I found the slug damage stopped completely when I stopped cleaning up the fall leaves. I know, counter-intuitive. My hypothesis is that with so much other stuff to eat they don’t have to venture out onto the hosta leaves.


  2. Crocus tommasinianus is my favourite crocus, just gets on with it and always delights. For me this year it’s Alliums, in particularly christophii and purple sensation. I only got around to planting these last winter and now I cannot believe I’ve lived without them for so long. The bees are happy too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fantastic choices. I bought a sarcococa this year, too late for flowering in situ but still with enough blooms on it from the garden centre to fill the car with perfume. Hostas have been especially good this year – I guess it’s all that rain.


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