Our borders are full of so many withered stumps this year, including a few plants that are usually resilient. I’m all for staying the spade a little since some will start in to growth later than normal. But after last winter we can be sure there will be candidates for the compost heap.

Climate change makes many more plants succumb to the weather’s increasingly unpredictable patterns. So it’s time to harden your heart and take stock. One plant’s death is another’s birth, so plan carefully.

Cherish the survivors and think of getting more of them or others from the same species or possibly genus. However much you liked what’s now a wizened stump, don’t simply replace it as this could become a yearly task.

Weather conditions vary so dramatically throughout Scotland and although a gardening expert can point to what could or should work for you, only you can see what actually has.

Choosing replacements is very personal and here are some recommendations of plants that in my experience handle most adverse conditions.

Perhaps surprisingly, herbaceous peonies are high on my list of winners. These delightfully exotic looking plants are much tougher than you’d imagine and can keep going for decades with virtually no maintenance.

There’s a specimen to suit whatever you want. Different varieties flower any time between April and July.

Choose singles or doubles and enjoy watching bees roll in their huge boss of yellow stamens. I can’t pass a flowering peony without pausing and soaking up its beauty.

Hemerocallis is another of my “can’t pass” plants. Like peonies, different varieties of what are often misleadingly called “day lilies”, flower any time between late spring and mid-summer and come in a dazzling array of colours including strong reds and oranges to rather insipid pinks and lilacs.

I reckon the spidery flower shapes of Chesapeake Crablegs and Crimson Pirate take some beating. Hemerocallis do spread but are easy to divide. Hardy geraniums are another failsafe choice. Derived from our native Meadow Cranesbill, Geranium pratense grows to 60-90cm with blue-grey flowers.

Look out for Mrs Kendall Clark – it’s a beauty. G. sanguineum, Bloody cranesbill, is also native and is very resilient to the elements.

And again there are many others to suit every taste.

Other reliable survivors include Aquilegias, Polemoniuns and some foliage grasses, all making attractive trouble-free features. Not all grasses are equally tough but those in the Deschampsia genus and the tufted Festucas are reliable.

Sedges Carex pendula, C. muskingumensis and C. elata all thrive in sun or partial shade and wetter soils.


Plant of the week

Kerria japonica ‘Golden Guinea’ is an upright shrub growing to about two metres. In early spring it bears large single yellow flowers with slightly reflexed petals, showing off the yellow stamens; much prettier than the pompoms of the double forms. Kerrias are tough plants coping with hard frosts, dry summers, sun, partial shade and a range of soils. Anything but waterlogged.