It was extremely strange to welcome visitors back into my garden this past week. Over the bank holiday weekend, I decided that it looked pretty good and it would be safe to have small numbers of visitors to check it out.

A couple from Sutton Coldfield, on holiday in Sussex, came just before the bank holiday and a local couple booked to have tea and cake in the garden on the Monday. I had certainly missed visitors seeing the garden and chatting to them. I still maintained a safe distance but it felt good that the garden was being appreciated by others again and, more importantly, raising money for charity once more.

That said, the garden is now open until August 12 for pre-booked, private visits only. Anyone wishing to view must call me on 01323 899296 to book slots, which cost £6 each or £8.50 including a talk by me during the visit. All the gate money raised will go to Macmillan Cancer Support. You can have tea and home-made cake too, with 24 hours’ notice – £4.50 each, with all proceeds going to charity too.

Over the years I have planted many different heucheras in the garden. They are shade-loving plants, native to the woodlands of North America and grown for their foliage. Their leaves come in a huge range of colours from red, purple, vivid green and even silver, and they bear attractive flowers in summer. They make excellent ground cover plants and work well in winter pot displays. Most are fully hardy in this part of the country and can be relied upon to dazzle all summer long. Most prefer semi-shade. As a rule of thumb, the darker coloured Heucheras withstand full sun better than lighter ones. Most produce flowers, typically beginning in late spring or early summer. To help prolong the flowering period, snip off the flower stems just below foliage level when the flowers die.

Spring is the best time to refresh your heuchera. Remove dead or damaged leaves and at the same time check temperature changes haven’t caused the plant to lift out of the soil. If this has occurred, fill in gaps with crumbly soil or dig up the plant and replant at the correct depth. A couple of favourites in my garden are Marmalade and Palace Purple which are in a large trough beside the pond area. The former is stunning with rich, shiny, undulating foliage in a full array of marmalade colours, with contrasting hot pink undersides. The foliage is bright and colourful in all seasons and will even look good in winter.

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