31 August 2020
Good plant combos
I love trying out plant combinations, to see what makes a good, long lasting display. Here are some of the midsummer combos that have worked for me:
- Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ and the tall yellow Inula magnifica. The bright, almost florescent red of the Crocosmia contrasts well with the flamboyant yellow daisies of the inula, and they both grow lustily and tall at the back of the border;
- · Roses underplanted with a scrambly hardy geranium. I’ve a border with pink and red roses with a deep, almost magenta pink geranium, name long forgotten. The geranium covers the rather boring bits at the bottom of the rose and complements it without taking over. If it gets too scrappy, I cut it down hard and it bounces back, looking fresh and renewed;
- · Three fabulous mixers that look good in so many combos: bronze fennel, evening primrose and verbena bonariensis. They look lovely together, or mixed in a border, and the fennel is great to add to your barbeque, especially good with salmon;
- · The golden bamboo (not for the faint hearted but a fabulous plant looking good all year round if you have room) underplanted with the huge golden leaved Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’. This is a robust hosta that even slugs struggle to munch;
- · A dark purple salvia next to to Heuchera ‘Plum Pudding’. I’m not a mad fan of heucheras, so many of them remind me of the colour of baby vomit, but this one is a great addition to the border. The blackcurrant sage complements it beautifully and flowers for ages.
We have lost a number of trees and shrubs this year. Our tree expert thinks it is a result of a pathogen transmitted by water that arrived during the really wet weather when many of us had floods in our gardens. It certainly makes sense to us, the areas that were badly flooded are where the now dead trees are. A well established cherry, some daphnes and a holly all succumbed, they are well and truly done for. However some things thrived on it, the weeping pears were under water for a long while but are fine, the same for a couple of shrub roses. I read somewhere I’m sure that roses love heavy, damp soil and so can be planted in a bog garden. I’ve never tried it but I wouldn’t be surprised.
When I was a little girl our next door neighbour was a keen gardener, like my mum and many treasured plants were shared between them. Edging the path she planted pinks (Dianthus). The smell of them wafting over the fence instantly takes me back to warm summer days as a child playing in our garden. On a trip to Moores last month that lovely pink perfume floated across to me and, in the blink of an eye, 3 rather pretty little pinks were in my trolley. I read that they are called pinks not because of their usual colour, but because their petals look as if they have been trimmed with pinking shears. How lovely is that? Perfume in the garden is as important to me as colour or form, a sweet pea without much scent is a waste of space for me. This year the Regale lillies have looked and smelled gorgeous, despite the constant battle against the red lily beetle which I just about won!
I hope you are all keeping well and your garden is providing a safe haven for you in these worrying times.