May feast – The supporting cast

In our gardens we all treasure its stars, the plants that we patiently wait to flower, enjoying every bud about to open and every falling petal as it dies; roses are perhaps one example of this but we all know which these plants are for us.  It might be a tiny treasure, almost hidden from view that we search out and sigh over or a difficult-to-grow plant that isn’t really suited to our conditions.

However there is a large supporting cast to these stars that we don’t always give a second glance, but without which our gardens would be diminished.

Today I would like to share some plants with you that I wouldn’t want to be without but that are rarely mentioned.  Some are beautiful for a brief moment, others seem to flower for ever, creating a background for the stars, others fill gaps between shrubs making the garden feel full and bountiful.

Erigeron karvinskianus

Erigeron karvinskianus begins to flower in March and continues throughout the summer and into winter, only stopping when the weather is really cold.  It will cover a large area and smother weeds.  It can be invasive but is not difficult to pull out.

I grew these aquilegia from seed

They are such a pretty pink

And it flowers so profusely


Philadelphus may only have a short flowering season and it isn’t the prettiest of foliage plants, but who would be without its wonderful fragrance.  In wetter areas they are good with a large flowered clematis climbing over them but it’s too dry for that here.

Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’

Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’ has been slow to establish and maybe once it has established itself well and produces more abundant leaves it will become one of the stars of the garden instead of one of the supporting cast.

Gaura lindheimeri has begun its long period of flowering

Rosa rubrifolia glauca

Rosa rubrifolia glauca is versatile taking on the role of provider of beautifully coloured foliage and exquisitely simple coloured, but it is most appreciated in autumn for its wonderful hips.

Hemerocallis ‘Stella d’Oro’

Hemerocallis ‘Stella d’Oro’ is another tolerant plant that has a long presence in the garden.  A tough plant that withstands all the gardener can throw at it, flowering in sun or shade and not minding too much drought or flood!

Knautia macedonica – a new addition this year and an up and coming star

I don’t turn away the wild poppies that germinate on bare soil

A narrow leaved sage adds a splash of colour now and can be used in the kitchen to add flavour to port dishes like saltimbocca

In close up its flowers are a delight

Verbena bonariensis is one of the signature plants of my garden, maybe it really deserves a post of its own but for today serves to show that without the supporting cast the stars would have no show to star in.

What are the supporting players in your garden, what wouldn’t you be without?

11 thoughts on “May feast – The supporting cast

  1. Buongiorno Christina, very interesting post. I would add Nepeta as a tough reliable space filler and the black leaved Elderflower which has a similar role to the Continus. Yvonne

  2. Hi Christina! You are at least 15-20 days further than me with the flowering season! I think your narrow leaved sage is salvia lavandulifolia. I have one too which flowers profusely and its leaves are very tasty! I can’t have it taller than 20cm though. I totally agree with you about erigeron, verbena bonariensis and gaura, I have quite a lot of them too and they never bore me. verbena bonariensis has a colour that mix and match with almost every plant I have, even deep red heleniums!

    • Suddenly, yesterday it was summer here. The temperatures increased by almost 10°C. This morning at 8.30 it was already 20°C.
      Maybe the Verbena should be promoted to be stars. Christina

  3. At the moment here it is forget-me-nots that are the linking theme in the garden. Hardy geraniums will soon take over and flower all summer. Sisyrinchium will soon be flowering in most of the sunny borders and even when not in flower, the foliage always looks good.

  4. I think the aquilegia, the poppies, and the guara are all stars! I have never succeeded with poppies or guara and envy yours. I do have an old philadelphus that is a standout when it blooms in my own garden.

  5. I have become a fan of Gaura lindheimeri in the last couple of years and am finally having success with Verbena bonariensis after a few false starts. Woodland Phlox are one of my favorites.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.