I saw the wonderful springtime show in The Frustrated Gardener’s coastal garden and felt inspired by the stunning display of colour and the lush growth. I would like something like that, I thought, and went outside to inspect ‘The Fernery’ whereupon inspiration turned to despair. How on earth am I going to turn this ghastly mess of assorted ugly pots into a calm haven? I daren’t show you the rest of the area!
A few days of hard work and ‘The Fernery’ is tidy, and bare, a display of ugly pots. However, I have planted deep blue trailing lobelia, red trailinggeraniums, and lime-green ‘creeping Jenny’ at the sides of the pots and so I am hoping for a cloud of colour. And in the pots there are grasses (Hakonechloa and Molinia Caerulea), red geraniums, Hebe (why not?), cistus cuttings from last year, and herbs.
And the ferns? They are hiding in the depths of more seemingly empty pots! Please, please grow!
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.
I have a small space at the side of the house which is protected and where one can sit on warm mornings and evenings. I have planted tubs with ferns but would like to plants some small shrubs for height and yet more colour. I have had all of the following before, but they had outgrown the tubs and I need to start again.
Cistus x Argenteus ‘Silver Pink’
As the area is mainly about ferns I wondered if a Fatsia Japonica would be a good idea for a large tub.
I would love to grow a Ceanothus, but I believe this would not thrive in a tub/container. Instead I could try Hydrangea Macrophylla ‘Endless Summer’ which can be pruned and flowers on new wood.
The bed in the patio is important because it is next to seating and so has to look good all year. While it is light, it is also partially shady, and snails are a problem. The Bergenia ‘Abendglut’ will turn dark burgundy in the winter and will look striking against Helleborus Niger. Then deep pink/purple bergenia flowers will follow. Ferns would soften the effect.
Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ will come next, with variegated leaves and blue flowers, and even bigger variegated leaves when the flowers are over, and finally Anenome ‘Honorine Joubert’ will flower in late summer.
Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’
Or perhaps I should aim to cover the entire bed with Bergenia ‘Abendglut’ and ‘Honorine Joubert’?
We have a small bed on the side of the patio and the planting needs to be ‘interesting’. Bergenia ‘Abendglut’ leaves are burnt Sienna in winter, followed by deep purple flowers in March and April, and then the leaves turn green in the summer. Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ flowers in May & June; Liriope Muscari’s lavender flowers appear in August to September, and Anenome ‘Honorine Joubert’ is gracefully white from August to October. Perhaps I should consider Libertia Grandiflora in this bed? White flowers in April and May and interesting, spikey green foliage all year. What do you think? Will this be ‘soft’ enough? Will it be snail-resistant?
The new fence is finished, two small beds are added, we have decided how the paving should be laid for the patio, and we have moved the Viburnum Plicatum, the only remaining shrub, and hope for the best.
Garden planning has started, which means Jason Lock has cast his eye over the garden and we are going to commission a plan. He designed a beautiful village garden for me in Cratfield, but I want this, London garden, to be different.