Football Soccer Proof Garden Plants

posted in: Gardening | 10
Katherine Dykes was one of the best goalkeepers in the leavesnbloom garden. In fact, she could cope so well with the impact of a football from any of my three boys.

She’s a football soccer proof garden plant. Likewise, for years she proudly showed off her canary yellow blooms every summer and early autumn.  Furthermore, she’s a tough, hardy, and an adaptable shrub for so many situations. Including a garden that turns into a football pitch every now and then!

Football Soccer Proof Garden Plants - Potentilla fruticosa 'Katherine Dykes' | Shrubby Cinquefoil bloom refraction
Potentilla Bloom Refraction – Football Soccer Proof Garden Plants
But this is where I leave the pretty stuff behind …the rest is raw!

Potentilla fruticosa Katherine Dykes’ or Shrubby Cinquefoil was planted eleven years ago. Now the football sits idly in the garage as hill walking, going to the gym, and computer games have taken its place.

Never mind the fact that the football pitch lawn is now much too small as I have created a wider flower bed!

Katherine was growing too big regardless of being cut back every couple of years.  She had an underskirt of far too much old deadwood with patchy green growth on top due to an over-vigorous Golden Hop – Humulus lupus.

The combination of both was blocking the light from the surrounding plants and I knew the shrub would never recover this year. Plus I couldn’t look out at this untidy mess every day from the kitchen window!

 Football Soccer Proof Garden Plants - work begins on digging out Potentilla fruticosa 'Katherine Dykes'
Football Soccer Proof Garden Plants – work begins on digging out Potentilla fruticosa  Katherine Dykes’

Last Saturday Katherine was shown the ‘red card’ and  I  said my goodbyes.

It was a job I had identified two years ago that would need to be carried out eventually. And now I see the potential for this whole corner of the garden. I  can’t wait to turn it into my own ‘Mini Dixter Corner’.

It’s south-facing (as you can see from the harsh shadows from the midday sun) and just the perfect spot for a few sun-loving perennials. along with a little bit of colour inspiration from the Late Christopher Lloyd.
The space in the border
soil conditioner added, green stakes to mark seedlings that needed moved

To keep in with the purple/blues and yellow theme in ‘Mini Dixter’  I’ve just planted Verbena bonariensis and Verbena rigida plants and some bronze carex grass around the base of each Golden hop.

Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii 'Profusion' and Verbena Plants
New plants against Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii ‘Profusion’ which is the last shrub to leaf out in the garden each year.
I’m just waiting for the  Rudbeckia “Goldstrum’ plants to arrive to add a touch of yellow and then maybe a few purple kale plants for textural interest..but that’s just for starters as Mini Dixter is about 4 m x 3m in size!
In the meantime, if you have any suggestions of some more football/soccer proof plant suggestions for other readers drop them in the comments below. Here’s a list I’ve already put together for readers who come here looking for football soccer proof garden plants.

Football Soccer Proof Garden Plants

  • Grasses
  • Phormiums
  • Spireas
  • Osmanthus
  • Heucheras
  • Hemerocalis
  • Bamboos
  • Viburnum
  • Vinca
  • Alchemilla molis
  • Geraniums
  • Hellebores
  • low growing herbs and alpines
  • Primroses
Follow Rosie Nixon:

Photography Tutor and Gardener

Rosie is a garden photographer, writer and nature lover. She enjoys soaking up nature and is easily distracted from doing the weeding by anything that flutters, flies, buzzes, creeps or crawls! She enjoys sharing the beauty of creation through her photography. Rosie has been featured on TV on BBC2's The Beechgrove Garden and she uses the outdoors as her natural light studio. Her work can be seen at one of Scotland's only photography galleries - Close Gallery, 4b Howe Street, Edinburgh. She also writes and shares her nature images on

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10 Responses

  1. Janet

    Love your style of writing Rosie.

    Since my kids have become computer/gym/nightclub based my lawn is developing a meadowy feel I quite like.

  2. Floridagirl

    Oh, this post reminds me of when my son and the neighbor kid broke my Magnolia 'Little Gem' in half playing football (American version) in the front garden. Grrrr. Four years later, though, it's recovered nicely.

    I'd help you with that list, but my plants were be totally foreign to your climate. Viburnums are super tough for me, diving my yard from the neighbor's tennis-ball catchin' Rottweiller. Oh, and the thorny cracker roses ('Louis Philippe') would definitely be on my list.

    Gorgeous refraction photo, by the way!!!

  3. ann

    I had a rose at the old house that took a beating from basketball. It survived all those years, but succumbed to new owners, as did my other roses. Your newly planted corned will be so lovely with all of the new plants. You have a great list, so I hope you show the results when the garden is in full bloom.

  4. Lyn

    Cactus? The footballs might stick on it and create an intriguing garden sculpture over time 🙂 I can't wait to see your 'Mini Dixter' area develop.

  5. Melanie

    Rosie, Your post made me smile. We too staged many a football/soccer game in our garden when the kids were younger. Even the dog, a border collie, loved to play.

  6. Richard Havenga


    Like the 40 others viewing your refraction photography on July 23, 2010; I am number 41 to be stunned! Really superb. Thanks for the tips.

    I'm wondering if Golden Hops would grow here in SW Michigan. (43* N. latitude).


  7. Richard Havenga


    Like the 40 others viewing your refraction photography on July 23, 2010; I am number 41 to be stunned! Really superb. Thanks for the tips.

    I'm wondering if Golden Hops would grow here in SW Michigan. (43* N. latitude).


  8. James Missier

    I know Lemongrass and heliconias are quite tough.
    They can handle some ball kicking – and still remain recollected unlike roses and flowering shrubs.

    Regardless – I don't think my garden is a playground friendly – there is not much space anyway.

  9. Kala

    What a stunning refraction, Rosie. I cannot for the life of me capture a good one yet.

  10. Curbstone Valley Farm

    It's a shame Katherine had to leave, but unfortunately a number of shrubby plants tend to lose their luster as they age. I think the Verbena bonariensis will look beautiful next to the hop, and the Rudbeckia. I was surprised to find a Rudbeckia blooming already in one of our wine barrel planters when we came home this weekend. I always think of them as a late summer flower here, but it seems this one couldn't wait. Looking forward to seeing 'Mini Dixter' as it starts to fill in!