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way. Having visited a number of garden centres (admittedly mainly in London) there’s no doubt that where space is at a premium, plant choices are restricted. You might be lucky to find two varieties of the same plant – a couple of the taller border anemones, a peony or two and a clutch of lavenders. Inevitably, potted bay and small box balls seem to run as standard – if you’ll pardon the pun. So you know what sells easily, however, challenge your customers now and again by offering cultivars that are a bit more unusual. A quarterly plant-fest displaying invigorating new plants might give you the edge you need. I’ve been invited to do a few of these and they go down really well with customers. Perfect time for them to seek advice on the garden answers front; throw in a glass of wine/cup of tea and a sticky bun and job done, happy customers! One such plant you might

suggest for the tricky areas is a fabulous new introduction for 2014 Sedum Sunsparkler ‘Blue Pearl’ (H: 50cm x W: 25cm). Enjoying well-drained soil in either sun or partial shade, this opulent succulent provides a thoroughly contemporary dash of style. With rounded matt damson foliage, self-supporting smooth black-purple stems topped with starry clusters of rich cherry flowers, it’s the sort of plant that should appeal to city slickers in spades. Hydrangeas are a must for

Alchemilla mollis

town gardens providing compact, rounded shrubs exploding with floral hugs as folks return from their summer holidays. Give them something shocking! Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Hot Red Violet’

(H: 1m x W: 1m) greets them with whopping great floral footballs of vibrant purple-red and is also a great cut flower to bring indoors. There you go, you’re offering home and garden décor in one plant. Most urban garden centres

seem to offer Alchemilla mollis (H: 60cm x W: 75cm) and why not? It’s an outstanding, proven plant with undeniably fabulous scalloped foliage, frothing airy sprays of acid- yellow flowers and obligingly tolerant of sun and partial shade. However, the fetching glaucous blue-grey- leaves of Alchemilla erythropoda (H: 25cm x W: 35cm) with perfect lime-green orbed flowers blushing with cherry hues as August

Alchemilla erythropoda WWW.GARDENCENTRERETAIL.COM 35

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