Summer is here – whether I like it or not

I was away from the garden for less than a week to visit the Chelsea flower show and in that time the weather changed from a cool spring to sudden summer.  I knew it would happen but it still always shocks me. Continue reading

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May Feast – Some pleasing combinations

The garden is made up of individual plants that from part of combinations that create vistas.  I wanted to share some of the combinations that I feel are working well during May.

Cotinus ‘Palace Purple’ with Rosa ‘Old Blush’

Salvia with Hemerocallis Stella d’Oro and Phlomis suffruticosa

Rosa rubrifolia and Iris

bluey-pink aquilegea with Rosa Rhapsody in Blue and blue oat grass

Dark, moody Sedum with bright orange Californian poppy

Ground-cover verbena and Californian poppy

Iris ‘Kent Pride’ and Nandino

Rosa ‘Molineux’ with Iris

What combinations are pleasing you this month?

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

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?