Congratulations, it’s a twofer! Two memes in a single post, celebrating both flowers and foliage. Can’t be bad…
Leaves first. I’m joining Christina’s Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day meme. No real surprise, given how hot the weather has been, that the silver foliage plants are really coming in to their own and stealing the show somewhat. One of my favourites is a very common plant, and thankfully very easy to grow from seed – Lamb’s Ears, or Stachys byzantina Ridiculously tactile, they shimmer and shine thanks to the myriad hairs covering the surface of each leaf. Not in the least bothered by the heat.
I am particularly enjoying the contrast between the stachys and the wallflower ‘Bowles’s Mauve’.
A far less subtle combination comes from the wonderfully architectural Euphorbia myrsinites (which I have to thank Christina for, I “found” it through her blog and I love it) and the lush purple sedum ‘Purple Emperor’.
Not all the silver foliage is attractive at the moment – the lychnis, still flowering away, is beginning to look rather tatty in the leaf stakes. I clearly need a good strategy for hiding the foliage at this time of year…
Even in the front garden, in baking sun, it is sometimes the green foliage that steals the show. I love the combination of the soft, slightly frilly Lady’s Mantle leaves against the strap-like Hakonechloa macra.
In the back garden I am excited to see recent gifts from Cathy coming in to their own. Geranium phaeum and Persicaria microcephala ‘Red Dragon’ are bulking up really nicely and starting to make a real show.
And last, but by no means least, at least for this month, is my brand new gunnera. I love gunnera. The very apex of architectural drama in the foliage world. And far too large for my garden. So imagine my delight when I discovered Gunnera magellanica lurking on a stand at a Plant Fair recently. Tiny leaves form a dense textured matt, it spreads – so plenty to fill lots of gaps – and it tolerates full shade. Perfect. Small, but perfect.
That’s the leaves done – but do check out Christina’s blog for links to more celebrations of foliage.
So, flowers. I think this may be a record, me joining in with Cathy’s “In a Vase on Monday” meme two weeks in a row! I took the photos and meant to post yesterday, but ran out of time, and besides, this way I save you from feeling you need to visit twice in two days ;-).
Since I went for strong and dark colours last week, with the dahlias, I have been planning to use pale colours – whites, blues, soft pinks – this week. And I found my eye constantly drawn to the dramatic pompoms of the hydrangeas. What’s not to love?
The vase picked itself – a simple pale cream one, perfect for the soft colour scheme I had in mind. So then I started to look for companions. Which is where I came unstuck. I decided to combine the Monday vase challenge with tidying up some rather unruly plants. So I snipped Verbena bonariensis that had decided to go horizontal, and some overgrown coriander that was flopping too far over the edge to keep for the seeds (I was rather proud of the fact that the green seeds are themselves rather pretty). A little bit of bonkers Ammi majus (contorted thanks to not enough support in its early days). Some dark purple sweet peas for scent and some dark burgundy cornflowers because I have lots. And then I tried to put it all together. It was a disaster. The light and airy stuff was too twisted and too light to combine nicely with the hydrangeas, and I quickly realised that the mopheads made a rather nice minimal vase all by themselves. So here they are.
As for the rest, I nipped back out and snipped some lush deep pink dahlias and a spray of white astrantia, and lo, a frothy piece of scented lop-sided prettiness that, although photographed in the kitchen, now graces the mantelpiece. A stark contrast to last week, but I am surprisingly happy with the result.