Plants for damp soils
Beat the weather Last February it was snowy and very cold. This February so far has been pretty warm but very wet and windy. A crystal ball would definitely be a useful gardening tool! Of course if you have suffered through the terrible floods then all you can do is wait for the water to subside and consider improving drainage in subsequent years.
If your garden is regularly waterlogged then look for ways to improve drainage permanently with drainage ditches, earth bunds or even land drains if the problem is severe. The only consolation is a probable increase in fertility next year.
But if your garden is still visible, albeit wet and muddy there are ways to beat the weather. Help improve drainage by digging in grit and grow crops in raised beds, start veg plants off indoors to plant out when soil dries out and use gro-bags for salads and for potatoes.
Plants for Damp Soil If you want to plant trees, shrubs and bare root roses and perennials, moist soil and warm weather is a good combination. If soil is workable at planting time these plants won't mind being kept moist at their roots, they'll establish quickly and flower earlier in the year. Cornus (dogwood) and salix (willow) are both good shrubs for planting into soil that stays damp.
Spring bedding plants such as primulas and pansies thrive in reliably moist soil. Warm, wet weather will suit them, especially if they are planted in containers. Primulas can droop alarmingly if they dry out but plants will soon perk up once soil is watered. Both these plants cope well with windy conditions too because they are relatively short.
Many woodland plants such as Primula vialii and Anemone nemerosa thrive in damp shady sites and bog plants such as Caltha palustris (marsh marigolds), Lobelia cardinalis, zantedeschia (calla lilies) and mimulus (Monkey Flower) will all enjoy dipping their feet in moist soils.