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What to plant in your garden: Mark Lane's '7 principles' for choosing and placing flowers


Every plant has an optimum height and spread, so consider this when planting. If the label on the plant reads “40cm spread”, space them around 30cm apart. This way they’ll blend into each other beautifully creating a larger-looking plant.

It also means that weeds will be kept down to a minimum as the merging plants will block out any light to the likes of common daisy, dandelion and white clover. Remember though that some weeds are great for pollinators.

When it comes to the height of a plant you can, of course, cut back some perennials the third week of May, around RHS Chelsea Flower Show, known as the ‘Chelsea chop’ to prolong flowering. Good examples are phlox, aster, achillea and echinacea.

The flowers will not be as high as those left uncut, but the variance in height gives a much more naturalistic feel to the garden.

Shrubs can be pruned to size, but if it’s a flowering shrub ensure you don’t cut off the flowering branches by mistake.



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