What Would UK Head Gardeners Plant This Fall?

When Gardens Illustrated asked several British head gardeners to recommend plants for a January 2020 article titled “Head Gardeners’ 100 Beautiful and Useful Plants,” eleven bulbs made the cut, including these three heirlooms.

Byzantine gladiolus – “A designer favorite that is changing the perception of this genus,” says Michelle Cain, head gardener at the iconic Sissinghurst Castle Gardens. “Its vivid magenta color partners well with so many other things. I love it with acid greens, such as Euphorbia palustris.”

Elwes snowdrop – “Snowdrops are priceless in any garden,” says head gardener Tom Coward of Gravetye Manor, and “this is one of the earliest, showiest, and easiest to establish. It has proved most vigorous at Gravetye” which was once the home of wild garden advocate William Robinson and today is a posh hotel.

‘Gravetye Giant’ snowflake – “This very good form of a beautiful [UK] native was selected at Gravetye Manor by William Robinson,” Coward explains. “Particularly robust and long-flowering, it will accept almost any soil but seems to thrive in our damp meadows.”

All of these treasures have won the RHS Award of Garden Merit, too – and you can order them now for planting this fall!