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Garden Diary May 2009
Geum Bremner's Nectarine and Ajuga Caitlin's GiantMay 4th: Perfect partners

Most plants go well together but some form perfect partnerships matching well in size, colour and growing habits. Geum Bremner's Nectarine creates a variation on the classic orange-blue contrast with Ajuga reptans Caitlin's Giant. The bronze leaves of latter also highlighting the reddish stems of the Geum. 

 

Centaurea Lady Flora Hastings has delicate white flowers but is a tough plant for a sunny spot.May 8th: Delicate beauty, tough plant

Centaurea flowers have a fine, feathery, delicate-looking beauty which belies the fact that they are generally tough plants that grow in most situations that receive some some.  Centaurea montana Lady Flora Hastings here has finer petaled flowers than the similar Alba. Montana types can suffer from mildew in acid soils - dress the soil with lime each year if necessary.

 

Geum Farmer John CrossMay 9th: Choosing Geums

Geums are looking great about now and Farmer John Cross is one of the best with its tall, reddish (12 - 18") flower stems and bright yellow nodding flowers. 

Some are quite similar to each other - Herteron Primrose is slightly taller, has slightly less cupped flowers and perhaps a little darker red stems but unless you are a collector (like me) then choose one or the other. 

These hybrid Geums are more tolerant of dry soils than their rivale species parents. 

Persicaria bistorta Superba and Geranium phaeum Lily LovellMay 15th: More perfect partners 

Just spotted this perfect combination of pink and purple today in the garden. Persicaria bistorta Superba is brilliantly highlighted by the deep, royal purple of the Geranium phaeum Lily Lovell. Both bloom now and right into early July. The Persicaria always blooms again in late summer, the Geranium is less likely to do so despite what some books say.

Variegated London Pride29th May Little Gems

Some plants just get on with it, needing little no care and attention and providing a really long season of interest. Variegated London Pride (Saxifraga Variegata) is one such little gem. About this time it is highlighted with tiny pale pink flowers. All year it has rosettes of variegated leaves that keep their best colour in deep shade. It likes moist soils but grows nearly as well in bone dry conditions. Once the flowers fade the stems are easily pulled from the plants. A little gem in every way.

Iris Rocket30th May Fleeting Beauty

Everyone wants plants that bloom for a long time, so much so that a lot of garden centres stretch the truth to its limits when describing how long a plant will flower for. With Bearded Iris there is no point in pretending. They flower for 2 or 3 weeks (rarely 4 weeks) in late May and early June. Their beauty may be fleeting but to my mind its worth giving them some garden space for the sheer exuberance of their flowers and fragrance. It is actually refreshing to have something different in flower at different times and at the moment we have long days in the garden to enjoy them to the full. Iris Rocket is an old variety with a rich warm colour perfectly in tune with the late spring light and air. Fleeting but joyous.

 

Iris sibirica Perry's Blue31st May Continuing the theme..

from Yesterday, Siberian Iris (sibirica) flower for longer than the bearded types starting about now and going on just into July. They are a little easier to grow than other types tolerating a wide range of soil conditions and just a little shade. Perry's Blue is a old variety from the nursery of Amos Perry in Enfield Middx. and is one of the late spring highlights planted along side our drive as you enter through the front gates.

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