Genista lydia

This cheerful shrub is ideal-’for a small, sheltered garden where winters are mild. A dwarf species from eastern Europe, it is smothered with yellow pea-flowers in early summer. Its nature is to tumble downhill, so plant it on a low wall or by steps and it will make a waterfall of colour for several weeks.

Genista lydia needs full sun and well-drained, even dry soil. Clip the tips of the grey-green shoots after flowering, but give it no serious pruning. It will grow in time to 2 feet (60 cm) in height, and 4 or 5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 m) in width, but not for several years, when it will have reached old age and may need replacing.

It is not an exciting plant when the flowers are over, so hardy annuals might be grown nearby to provide colour later in the season. Shirley poppies like the same conditions, and flower continuously through late summer and autumn in marvellous shades of red. Pink and white. One of the pleasures’of summer is to watch the crumpled buds bursting from their woolly coats, to smooth out within hours into handsome satiny flowers.

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