Blog: bed’s a little threadbare but give it a chance to fill out…
Well, the top half of the long bed’s finished at last! After a three-hour stint on Saturday, I finally got the ‘short’ plants fitted in around the new Magnolia Sunsation and Acer shirasawanum Jordan (Full Moon maple).
By the way, what is it with this wind every weekend? I hate gardening in the wind!
So, from the back:
Ajuga Catlin’s Giant
Edging the shady end of the path is Ajuga (bugle) Catlin’s Giant, which makes excellent ground cover as it soon knits together to form an evergreen carpet. Catlin’s Giant has large, glossy, bronze-purple leaves with dense, upright spires of purple flowers in April/May. It’s one of the bigger bugles, having larger leaves and reaching to 45cm in height. It does well in shade, sun and poor soils but doesn’t like to dry out.
Brunnera macrophylla Looking Glass
Breaking up the bugle is Brunnera macrophylla Looking Glass (Siberian bugloss). The large, heart-shaped, silver leaves, which get more pronounced as the leaves develop, form a large dome with sprays of small, bright blue flowers in April/May. It likes a shady spot/partial shady spot and grows to 60cm x 60cm.
Astrantia major Claret
Moving down to a slightly sunnier spot (but still in partial shade) is Astrantia major Claret (masterwort). It has fresh green leaves followed by large, deep red pincushion flowers on wiry stems, forming a decent clump, spreading by underground runners. If cut right back after flowering, a second flush of foliage and flowers is produced. Astrantias like rich soil in partial shade, flowering from June-August, height 60cm x 45cm.
And finally, right on the cusp of partial shade and full sun is a recycled clump of Sedum spectabile (now known as Hylotelephium spectabile but let’s stick to the ice plant). I’ve had it for years and have no recollection of its variety – but it isn’t Autumn Joy. It was in a shadier spot and sulked a bit, so I hope these divisions will be far happier in their new home.
I’ve tried to create a balance between evergreen and deciduous, so there’s something to look at in winter without excluding the delights of spring and autumn foliage. I’m also a great fan of leaf shape and colour, so even when they’re not in flower, there’s a balance and contrast – bronze, dark green, bright green, silver and pale blue-green.
As for flowers, the palette is purples, pinks, blues and deep red, merging into the neutral white/cream of the roses – and then the colours will get hotter as they move towards full sun – but more on that another time!