I am slowly beginning to understand what succession planting might mean – people talk about it as a way of ensuring that there is always something interesting in the garden, but I think it could also allow me to change the feel and character of the garden as the seasons change – like wearing different outfilts at different times of the year.
Early in the year the patio bed is very blue and purple with lots of bee food: Geranium ‘Johnson’s Blue’, Nepeta ‘Walkers Low’, and Erysimum ‘E A Bowles’ flourish, and Ajuga flowers at ground level. And a black Iris provides temporary drama behind the stunning white Libertia Grandiflora. Alchemilla are a wonderful acid yellow contrast along the path, and are now seeding themselves everywhere – even in the tarmacked grave! After the flowers have all finished I cut back the Nepeta and Erysimum, and I don’t let the Libertia drop seeds either, although I have collected the seed pods.
Now in August the grasses are growing, Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ is flowering, as are the Japanese Anemones ‘Honorine Jobert, and there is a second, modest flush of Nepeta. The Heuchera, which include ‘Purple Palace’, provide a nice contrast. The emphasis is on white and gold and it looks very different from the cooler Spring colours.
And I finally think I can see what will work: a block of Japanese Anemones ‘Honorine Jobert’, with stronger, higher staking, combined with gold Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ and White Leucanthemum interwoven amongst the spikey green Libertia and Pennisetum ‘Hamelm’. At the moment the daisies are too solid and ‘clumpy’ and don’t look relaxed. Verbena Bonariensis gives height and contrast. Heuchera ‘Purple Palace’ is tucked into a shady corner created by the Miscanthus ‘Kleine Silberspinne’ and has flowered throughout the year.