Key plants in the Flood Re: The Flood Resilient Garden

The colour scheme for the planting is very green and lush, lots of ferns and foliage from acers, with pops of jewel colour provided by flowers, in shades of rich purple and pink, orange, a touch of pale yellow

Quince tree

Flood Resilient Garden features a quince, Cydonia oblonga, but whatever the variety, a tree on a larger rootstock, will have strong, deep roots, providing good anchorage and an ability to better tolerate both temporary wet conditions and drought. Fruit trees tend to like well-drained soil and they dislike boggy ground, so planting on top of a mound means that water runs harmlessly away following heavy rain. Rain caught in the canopy reduces the rate at which water hits the ground, ‘slowing the flow’. A large tree also casts shade and cools the environment around it, providing benefits beyond sheer flood resilience.


The garden will include a range of ferns to colonise areas that are habitually damp and shady, as well as those that are relatively well-drained. A number of species will be used, both evergreen and deciduous, to provide lushness and continuity of structure.


One of several families chosen for their adaptability within the species and harmonious looks. Ranunculus are naturally extremely widespread, and tend to be tolerant; R. acris is an attractive wildflower of meadows and the double form is sterile, while R. flammula is a pond plant. Trollius will live on cliff ledges as well as damp meadows and stream-sides, while Caltha palustris will tolerate considerable wet alongside relative summer dryness.

Pollarded willow

Willows are versatile, attractive, and resilient; they are it is quite happy with moist ground, making it ideal to add structure in the lower levels of the garden. In a smaller garden regular pollarding can keep willow compact, but with established roots it has the advantages of a ‘big tree that looks small’, while the trunk adds vertical interest and the fresh growth has good winter colour.

Annuals and biennials

While many larger plants within the garden are flood resilient or can tolerate occasional wet feet, including attractive filler plants can make a huge difference to the speed at which a flooded garden will bounce back. Annuals and biennials are quick and cheap both to grow and to replace after a flooding event, when they will rapidly cover the ground, provide nectar and food for insects, and improve the view for the homeowner.

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