Plant of the Month – Euphorbia amygdaloides 'Purpurea'

A striking architectural perennial is a good choice for a large winter or spring container, and this bushy euphorbia is perfect. 'Purpurea' has lovely purple tipped foliage that contrasts with the lime green flowers that appear in spring. These last into summer when you can prune the whole flowering stem back to the base to tidy the plant.

If your garden soil is poor or dry and in partial shade, this hardy euphorbia will cope! It makes a good evergreen backdrop in the shady garden and reached 60cm high. Try with phormiums for contrasting shapes, or with alchemilla mollis for similar coloured flowers in early summer and contrasting foliage.

One note of caution for all euphorbias, they have milky white sap, which is poisonous and a potential skin irritant so always wear gloves when working near them.

What soil do I have?

Every garden soil is different. All are mixtures of sand, clay and silt, but in differing quantities.

To determine what your soil is, take a piece of soil about the size of a golf ball and roll between your fingers removing any large stones. Now try to roll into a ‘worm’ shape.

A sandy soil will not form this shape, it simply falls apart. If you can form this shape easily and when rubbed, the surface turns shiny, this is clay soil.

However, if the ‘worm’ can be crushed in the palm of your hand, then you have a loam soil, perhaps the most desirable of soil types. Very similar is a silty soil, which possesses a silky feel.
You can improve every soil by adding organic material such as compost or manure. This helps bind particles together in a sandy soil, or helps clay soil become more workable.

Knowing your soil will help you choose the right plants for your garden and enjoy more success growing healthy and happy plants.