In this story, I'll recommend 5 of the very best flowers for big blousy garden blooms. These are best planted in a sunny spot!**
Find plants for sunny gardens in our collection:
Double tulip Abba
Double early tulip bulbs are certainly no shrinking violets!
Short, sturdy and definitely blousy, this group of tulips are among the very best.
Blooms are fully double and very colourful.
In my experience, this type of tulip can be relied upon to perform year after year and often without the bulbs having to be lifted, dried off and stored before replanting again.
As with all tulip bulbs, it is best to plant them later than you would plant most other spring-flowering bulbs. So plant from late October to January.
Double early tulips are perfect for growing in pots and very suited to patio or balcony gardening.
Good varieties to look out for are 'Abba' (red), Hero (darkest purple), Peach Blossom (pink), Angelique (baby pink), Mount Tacoma (white) and Monte Carlo (yellow).
It's hard to beat the 'ordinary' Chinese Wisteria sinensis but there's no shortage of rivals.
Many selections of this Far Eastern classic climbing plant have been made, and colours range from deep violet through lavender to pink and even pure white!
Wisteria climbing plants do best when trained on a south or west-facing wall where they will get plenty of sunshine and radiated heat from the wall.
Avoid plants that have been grown from seed and always look for those that have been grafted or rooted by the propagation technique of layering.
The way and time that you prune wisteria influences flowering. You can find out more here
, or, watch my how-to video here:
You can train Wisteria to climb and cover pergolas or even allow them to climb into a large tree.
When planting close to old houses, ensure that the house foundations are good as a Wisteria will live for over 50 years and can grow to large sizes during this time.
Add a climber to your garden trellis, wall or train them to climb a tree trunk?
Ceanothus Concha and gazebo one of the author's gardens
Ceanothus plants are also known as Californian Lilac, and you won't be surprised to know that they love the sun!
Most Ceanothus are evergreen and fast-growing. A few drop their leaves in winter (deciduous), but these varieties flower later in the summer.
Because they are used to the heat of California, this is a blousy bloomer that is best grown in a sunny sheltered garden spot.
Of the many available varieties, I have found 'Concha' to be the most reliable in terms of hardiness and depth of blue flowers.
Tip: If your garden is small and space is limited, I recommend the more compact variety Ceanothus impressus 'Puget Blue'.
Whichever variety you plant, make certain that the soil is well-drained and that your plant will get the maximum amount of sun possible.
Ceanothus resent being pruned, but if you do need to prune, then do it straight after the blooms fade and avoid cutting into the old wood that has no leaves. Pruning a little and often is best!
4. Flowering Crab
In May, Crab Apples are full of blousy blooms!
There's absolutely no shortage of varieties to choose from, and if you think there's another just as good as Malus floribunda then I won't argue with you!
I like Malus floribunda because it blooms profusely and like clockwork every year. It also has beautiful red buds before the flowers open to soft pink, and so you get both colours together.
Many crab apple trees produce crab apple fruits and can be made into delicious crab apple jelly. These fruits are also great for attracting birds and other wildlife into your garden.
Tip: when buying a crab apple for a small garden, it is worth seeking out a supplier that can sell you a tree with a dwarfing rootstock.
Malus Jelly King
Malus Evereste is one of my favourite varieties
Papaver orientalis Mrs Perry
Papaver orientale 'Mrs Perry' is a very old variety as indeed are many of these great big blousy oriental poppies!
With bristly stems and leaves, oriental poppies grow rapidly in spring and then open huge delicate-looking blooms that look sensational!
Most blooms are red, orange or white, but I'm especially fond of the soft pink that 'Mrs Perry' or 'Cedric Morris' provides.
This is a hardy perennial plant that is tough and long-living.
It's not fussy about soil types or even soil pH. However, it does not like very wet soil.
Keep an eye on your poppies as they grow in spring since those big blousy blooms are heavy and might need support.
After flowering oriental poppies die down and become dormant for the rest of summer. For this reason, it's good to have another plant ready in a pot to pop into the gap that it leaves. Lilies
are perfect for this!
Oriental poppies can easily be propagated by taking root cuttings
Shop Dahlias from the award-winning grower, Brighter Blooms: