May 24, 2019

Caroline’s Garden Diaries 25.05.13: Bits and pieces

Oh, it’s good to be retired. Can spend a happy half-hour after breakfast going round garden with scissors looking for a few bits and pieces to cut for vase to sit on kitchen window-sill so I can look at them while washing-up; such a small and trivial activity but such pleasure – first, tour of garden, admiring gorgeous creamy Madame Alfred Carriere, one of my favourite roses; watching bees bumbling in another favourite, Rosa moyesii; examining newly planted seedlings of pretty annuals, looking promising after all that rain. Then, picking a little bunch of things from all over the garden, finding new combinations – last week, for instance, my bunch included very pretty species Penstemon, each flower slightly different wash of shades of purple, some with blue lips, together with some stems of Firecracker, loosestrife with dark browny-bluey-purply leaves, and grey ferny leaves of Artemisia (invaluable plant in garden and for cutting) – they looked so good together, must try to replicate in planting. Today’s has dark-red Astrantia with Alchemilla mollis (another I’d never be without) and one little sprig of deep-rosy Heuchera, plus a couple of different greeny Astrantias and some pale rocket. Very pleasing.

Meanwhile, gardening supplement of Saturday Telegraph had article by Sarah Raven on virtues of self-sowers, including Aquilegia, and also one about ‘new naturalism’ at Great Dixter, Christopher Lloyd’s garden. One aspect of naturalism is self-seeding, another is using wild flowers like cow parsley and ox-eye daisies in a managed way – selecting best forms and cutting back others before they seed. I also loved the description by Fergus Garrett, the current Head Gardener, of problems of introducing later seedlings into an already full bed, “nowhere to put your feet and no question of turning around….……. have to snake out of the bed without snapping a stem”. Sounds familiar.

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