The bleached garden begins

Now is the time year that the colour in the garden fades and bleaches with the bright sun.  The best time for taking photographs is early morning for just before dusk, but that doesn’t give a true version of how the garden looks for most of the day.

Allium sphaerocephalon with Euphorbia rigida

Some plants continue to look attractive even in the strong light but others look almost grey!  Silver leaved plants sparkle, I have many different species and varieties and I enjoy the way they make the colours near them sing out.

Allium sphaerocephalon blends with many other plants and usually repeat flowers in the second and third years in my garden, it will even seed itself and flower quite quickly. Here it is with a Phormium I thought had died in the cold winter, it is now looking better than it did last year. I do like the way the allium grows from pale green through to deep purple and makes little exclamation marks of dense colour.

Allium sphaerocephalon with a similar coloured Phormium

I planted a 1000 of these allium in a stream that winds its way through the other plants in the large island.

Much of the garden is dominated by blue and silver.  Both the lavender and the Perovskia are flowering earlier this year, already I can only push through the bee-covered flowers of the lavender to walk along the paths that a month ago were wide enough for two people to walk along together.

Yellow roses on the pergola are flowering again to give the contrast in colour I wanted and that last year didn’t happen, I must keep feeding and dead-heading them so they’ll continue all summer.

Fromal beds now in full bloom

The gift of wind-blown seed is a joy (not always of course as all the weeds in the garden are also brought in by the wind).  Last year the field to the west of the garden (and the direction the wind blows from in summer) was full of Verbascum Thapsus which looks very much like the Verbascum you will know from gardens called Verbascum olympicum; it has cleverly seeded itself just into the edge of the drive as well as into the slope.  When I drove up the drive the other night the headlights picked up their amazing forms looking like some kind of Triffid.

Visitors to the garden who haven’t seen it for a year are amazed at the growth rate of many of the plants – I am myself amazed at just how quickly the garden has filled out.  I started digging the first border (Left hand border) in 2007 and the islands were planted in autumn 2009 so it is still a very ‘new’ and I am so happy that it is starting already to feel mature.

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My Hesperides Garden.

23 thoughts on “The bleached garden begins

  1. Those verbscums are amazing- like huge cactii. The silvers are beautiful.Drumstick alliums are still green here, but making their prescence felt with their slim stems coming up through other things.

  2. your lavender formal beds must smell amazing, I’d linger all day, a blue and silver garden sounds divine, 1000 blubs planted! I love the idea of a river growing through the other plants, I am planting a lot of daffs that needed digging and moving down a slope with the hope of a river of daffs next spring, Frances

    • I look forward to your river of Daffs next spring, they don’t grow at all well for me, they need damper conditions. I think streams and rivers of plants running through the border add unity. Christina

  3. I love your lavender filled formal beds. Lavender isnt madly keen on my clay soil so I have stopped trying but if there is anything I covert for the garden that I cant have it is a lavender lined path

    • Yes, I think we all enjoy posts about things we can’t have, I follow shade gardens and imagine the cool green spaces. My formal beds are Lavender edged with Perovskia in the middle as it flowers for a longer period. Christina

  4. cleverly seeded at the edge of the driveway …
    I imagine the rain gently washed and deposited the seed there. Why do my plants prefer to grow IN the gravel paths?! We are now immersed in our flourishing and pruning season.

    • Yes, of course, you’re right, the seed was washed into a spot that it was protected and not cut back right on the edge of the drive. Many things seed into the gravel paths too, but they can easily be lited and moved (if wanted) or composted if not. Christina

  5. I can dream of walking through your garden, smelling the wonderful lavender as I push through. I tried lavender. It barely survives. I tried alliums; they cling to life. I planted perovskia; It looks puny! I dream of your garden, but what i can have is my own subtropical woodland. Your comment to patientgardener is so true!

    • I follow your woodland garden because I don’t have woodland myself, and if I did it would be very different to your sub-tropical one so I would still enjoy yours! My lavender grows so strongly it realy needs pruning 3 times a year! Christina

  6. Christina, Oh how I wish I could grow huge stands of lavender. I will just have to be satisfied with admiring yours. I dug “weedy” Verbascum up from the roadside and planted it in my garden so I could have its giant spikes punctuating my plantings–love your plants. Carolyn

  7. Wonderful plantings! I love the waving blues in your formal garden. I have had more luck with lavender in my climate by planting it on a slight mound… with gravel under its root ball.

    Drumstick allium are such a welcome color contrast in the heat of summer. I have them here with California poppies too.

    I have enjoyed following your garden successions this season!

  8. Those silvers really work well in the sun-bleached landscape. I love the huge swathes of perovskia in the formal beds, they must ripple wonderfully in a breeze. The whole garden sits so well in the surrounding landscape Christina, no wonder you are delighted, its wonderful.

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