Understanding the soil and natural conditions in your garden can help you organise and plan the type of garden that will be successful. I am going too offer tips on gardens with a sandy soil and in particular where there is a heat trap. To make a colourful impact in a tricky situation chose plants that grow naturally in those conditions.
For structure in a hot sandy area we think about palm trees and deserts but for trees in the garden I would opt for Cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana) . A golden variety called Golden Spire or a blue green variety ‘Columnaris Glauca’ . Also in the larger shrub category there is a good selection including Golden Holly Ilex aquifolium or Spotted Laurel (my wife’s favourite) Aucuba japonica with green and gold glossy leaves plus scarlet berries on female plants.
Annual bedding in Sandy Soil
- Petunias do well in fast draining soil try the Merlin series if you can find them or any seed variety of petunia plants.
- Mesembryanthemums the Livingstone daisy is a semi succulent and will do well in quick draining conditions. the bright daisy flowers can add a big splash of colour.
- Nasturtiums like Empress of India flower well when there isn’t too much fleshy leaf growth.
- Impatiens the Busy Lizzie is probably the colourful flower of choice for sandy soil.
- Senecio cineraria ‘Silver Dust’ offers a cool grey with deeply cut leaves. I alloew them to act like biennials and flower yellow in the second year but you can treat them as annuals
Shrubs for Sandy Soil
- Ceanothus x delileanus ‘Topaze’ is a rounded, mid-sized, deciduous shrub with dark-green leaves. It bears dark-blue flowers from mid-summer to autumn.
- One of our favourites Elaeganus pungens Oleaster is a tough evergreen shrub, with small but highly scented creamy white flowers in autumn ideal for shady, dry, seaside or windy sites. Think of this as a possible hedge to protect against strong winds.
- Cytisus or common broom is at home in sandy soil and colourful varieties are available.
- Lavender and Rosemary are traditional low growing shrubs for these conditions.
- My personal favourite is Cistus in pink or white forms with grey green leaves prone to be sticky. I grew to like these shruby plants after I met Bob Page a National Collection Holder with his own Cistus & Halimium Website.
- Pieris japonica, Calluna (Heathers) and Camellia are also possible plants for a site like this with a preference for a slightly acid soil