Posted 30th Aug 2016
What are the best plants for water areas? Award winning garden designer Kate Gould tells us all we need to know
"Water and plants are a magical combination but not all plants like damp feet so when planning a natural water feature take your time and research what will work best in your particular situation.
Plants for damp shade: think leafy types here. Ferns, Hosta and the wonderfully named Farfugium all provide a foil in terms of leaves for more showy plants. Hosta and ferns in particular when planted in bold swathes are impressive in their own right but could be partnered with shrubs such as Cornus and Salix which although bare in the winter will add colour in the form of bright stems.
Plants for waterside edges in sun: here you will find the palette of plants is more colourful. Astilbe in shades of red and pink, Iris in blues and yellows, Primula in all manner of hues, white Aruncus and Zantedeschia. Hemerocallis also work well as do Lobelia cardinals varieties and somehow clashy colours that wouldn't work elsewhere work around water.
The big and the bold: some plants grow to monsters and Gunnera, Rheum, Ligularia and Persicaria varieties can easily reach 8'. In the case of a Gunnera planted in the right place with the right degree of shelter each leaf could reach 8' across so unless you have plenty of space it is one to avoid!
Water in the garden is a joy and will encourage wildlife therefore no matter what you plant it should be grown organically to allow wildlife to live in harmony with your scheme and help provide natural pest control."
Kate Gould is an award winning garden designer with more than a decade’s hands-on experience transforming gardens of all sizes and a regular exhibitor at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show where she has been awarded three Gold medals.