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Plants for chalky soil

There are many lovely cottage garden plants that will grow in chalky soil so you can make a stunning English garden.

There are the beautiful wildflowers such as poppies, cornflowers, cowslips and chamomile and herbs such as lavender, rosemary and bay.

Don’t make the mistake of buying plants that prefer moist woodlands and heaths such as rhododendrons, camellias, azaleas and heathers - they will only turn up their toes and die - unless of course you are prepared to grow them in tubs of ericaceous compost. Look carefully at the plant label before you buy and check the soil they like.

Here is my selection of plants that will do well on chalky soil

Alchemilla mollis – hardy perennial

Alyssum – Lobelia maritime – is trouble free plants that germinate easily from seed

Anemones - hardy perennials that grow from tubers. Like well drained soil and part shade.

Campanulas – hardy perennials that will grow in sun or part shade in fairly well drained soil. Their flowers come in purple, pink, blue and white.

Centaurea scabiosa - greater knapweed – this has big shaggy red-purple flowers from late June to September followed by silvery seed heads. Likes a sunny spot and well-drained soil.

Cowslips - have nodding lemon-yellow flowers from April to May. It self-seeds but it is not too invasive. Likes a sunny spot or partial shade and a moist soil

Dianthus – or border pinks – like a sunny spot and come in a range of beautiful colours with the added bonus of a wonderful scent

Gladioli – come in a wide range of colours – like a well drained sunny spot. They grow from corms which should be lifted before the first frosts.

Geraniums such as ‘Johnson’s Blue’ – they are hardy perennials that prefer part shade.

Peonies are hardy perennials that love moist soil and a sunny spot.

Sidalcea - a hardy perennial with white, pink or red spires of flowers. Likes a sunny or part shaded spot with moist soil – easy to grow.

Valerian – a hardy perennial that has red or pink small flowers and likes a sunny spot and thrives on poor soil.

Verbascums - tall perennials (or can be biennials)that love poor soils that are well drained and a sunny spot.They come in a range of colours from yellow, whites, purple, pink and brown.

Enjoy your garden!

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