At this time of year the grasses in the pond border really come alive. The intense yellow of the dying Molina foliage visible at the far left above glows on even grey damp days, and the pale straw of the Miscanthus blooms provide a lovely contrast to the fire of the Acer palmatum ‘Atropurpureum’ in the background.
Although I love this clump of the beautiful Molinia caerulea ‘Windspiel’, I am actually going to divide it in the Spring and remove two thirds to make room for more perennials. Stunning though it is at this time of year, it doesn’t really do much for the rest of the time and I want more oomph in what is actually a pretty small space. Though I must remember Patient Gardener’s warning about Persicaria putting on lots of growth quickly…
Looking across the pond from the pergola, I am really pleased with how the new planting has come together, I love the tufts of Stipa tenuissima, and the fact that the Knautia macedonica is still flowering. It works well with the perennial wallflower in the Dahlia border behind too, though at the moment it is the Hydrangea petiolaris on the fence that steals the attention. Hard to believe that back at the beginning of May it looked like this:
I’ve already been able to extend the planting, though it would have been better if I had remembered where I had planted the tulips when I was thinning things out – fingers crossed that they survive, along with the various other bulbs that I planted here.
I’m still very much feeling my way forward with the Magnolia border. I love the contrast in leaf shape between the Hydrangea quercifolia and the Veronicastrum, but having cut the Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Tom Thumb’ hard back this spring, half expecting it to die, it is growing away really well, so will probably take up a lot of the space I had earmarked for Monkshood. The dry twigs are the stems from the tulips I planted out there, to remind me where they are so that I didn’t dig them up again when adding the cyclamen etc. Removing them now that they have served their purposes is yet another thing I’ve not yet quite got round to… The other plants are Aquilegia vulgaris ‘Miss M. I. Huish’, Sweet Rocket Hesperis ‘Enchantment’ a Heuchera that I lost the label for before I catalogued it and Astrantia major ‘Hadpen’s Blood’.
The Magnolia border was originally planted with various shrubs, the idea being that from the kitchen window, and as you walked in to the garden from round the side of the house, you couldn’t really see the decking under the pergola.
This is what it looked like in early May 2006. We lost the beautiful acer you can see to some sort of disease, likewise the Choisya ternata, which in any case had outgrown the space and suffered from not being pruned for a few years while I was really ill. Removing the Choisya revealed how misshapen the Pittosporum had become, where it had been edged out by its more rambunctious neighbour. I finally began tackling it last year, removing and dividing the Phormium tenax, one piece of which is now in the garage bed. The whole character of the area has changed with the loss of the large shrubs and the acer, and with the Magnolia stellata having grown into a proper tree rather than a large bush. We now have a small sofa in the dining room, which is a lovely sunny place to sit, and the view from here out to the front of the Magnolia border has therefore become more important. For much of the year it will be obscured by all the pots of veg and herbs I grow, so the emphasis at least for that part of the bed will be on Spring and Autumn colour, plus perennials with good height.
There is still some empty planting space alongside the decking. It is somewhat problematic in that my Father-in-law planted lots of beautiful daffodils next to the decking itself, but I didn’t have other plants to intersperse with them at the time, which is how I prefer to work with bulbs. I’ve sown some forget-me-nots – much loved by said father-in-law – but the jury is very much out. Which I suppose is why since September the Magnolia border has become a participant in the “End of Month View”. Thanks again to Patient Gardener for hosting this meme, I’ve found it really helpful in planning what to do with the garden this year, and I love seeing how other people’s gardens are developing too.