I am finding the Patio Bed another difficult area – semi-shaded, good soil but chalky a few feet down. I was not happy with the positioning of plants last year and so I have made some changes this year, the second year.
What if we treated the sloping site like a gravel garden, and planted with spaces between the plants?
We have to tackle a blank canvas and a sloping site – and the plants need to be HARDY. The soil is normal, and there is sunshine, apart from the shade under the magnolia tree.
What to plant underneath the magnolia tree? Euphorbias, Brunnera, Bergenias…
They murmured something about ‘a table and chairs for sipping wine…’ and I think either this, or a small tree, but we need some kind of focus to balance the magnolia. (I remembered this view at Pensthorpe.) And then hardy, easy care plants: Miscanthus ‘Kleine silberspinne’ and ‘Morning Light’ behind the table and chairs, with Cornus Alba ‘Elegantissima’ or Viburnum Opulus ‘Compactum’ along the barn wall on the right hand side.
And in the sunny part: Pennisetum Alpecuroides ‘Hamelm’, ‘Karley Rose’, or ‘Villosum’; Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, with Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ and Alchemilla spilling over the edges and attracting the bees.
And for height should we squeeze in Anemone ‘Hadspens Abundance’, Verbena Bonariensis? Or are Rudbeckia and Gaillardia better colours?
After several wonderful weeks in South Africa (more posts to come on the Botanical Gardens in SA!) I am back in London and tackling the garden which was newly planted this time last year. I left it alone to grow during 2015 and let it die down naturally over the winter – well, that is what I told myself. Never again! I resolve to tidy up in the autumn this year.
The wonderfully peaceful and green oasis of the Durban Botanical Gardens lies between the City of Durban and the hills of the Berea and is the oldest Botanical Gardens in Durban, founded in 1849, and modelled on the Gardens in Cape Town. The Cycad Collection is apparently the rarest in the world and has been built up since the gardens were started.