It is strange, the way our gardens change almost without us realising it. Or maybe it’s just me? I know I’ve put in the work, and yet I’m still surprised by the results – and sometimes they can be really astonishing. My garden used to be largely green at this time of year, and I set out to deliberately change that. I filled a large new bed with early plants, often in burgundy, which were succeeded by others in pinks, purples, whites. I then revived another bed and filled it with ‘hot’ colours. Quite deliberate. A lot of thought has gone into it; I know it’s there, I know what I wanted to acheive and I’ve got roughly what I wanted. And I’m still surprised by it.
Oh, and along the way I fell in love with heleniums.
It’s the sheer amount of red I’ve got.
Don’t get me wrong: I love it; but there is a lot of it, and in an extraordinary range of shades. What has surprised me most – apart from the wild madness of Monarda Cambridge Scarlet which I nominate for the punkiest plant of 2013,
and possibly ever – is how well they all work together, and how well they work in combination with other plants.
It’s probably a bit facile to say that there are no clashes in nature, as I heard one garden commentator assert; I think there are some, and some combinations just don’t work. But all the colour theory in the world didn’t quite prepare me for Dahlia Arabian Nights in front of my euphorbia:
I love it!
Traditionally pink and red don’t go together. So much for tradition:
I think the mystery packet of poppy seeds I scattered must have had a colour theme, because I haven’t had one that wasn’t a variation on red or saturated pink. It’s such I shame I didn’t save the packet so I could deliberately buy another, though I’m hoping they’ll seed themselves like mad. Knowing my luck, though, this may be the one year they decide not to behave in their usual undisciplined way.
Dahlias are new to my garden – well, to this garden under my tenure, I bet they’ve been grown in the past – and I’ve been very, very pleased with them. Apart from the two Arabian Nights (the third seems to have decided it’s not dead, just very very late), I have a glorious Karma Lagoon in my purple bed, and – but of course – a Bishop of Llandaff with the ‘hot’ colours. Someone I was talking to had actually had to shift the Bishop because he was so assertive, but he’s just fine where I’ve dug him in (though there is almost a clash with the Monarda).
(I must stop giving this dahlia a gender and calling it ‘The Bishop’ in tones of doom, as all that does is remind me of Blackadder and the baby-eating Bishop of Bath and Wells, which this lovely bronze-leaved beauty does not deserve.)
Oh dear, I suppose it’s time for Helenium Confessions. It started at Crug. Well, to be honest, it probably started a couple of years ago when I visited The Artist’s Garden for the first time; Karen has heavenly heleniums. Or maybe it started when I was a child, as I’m sure I remember them growing in my parents’ garden. Whatever, I’ve now got enough. Really.
I have two Moerheim Beauties, a Mahogany (just coming into flower after I gave it a Chelsea chop to delay it a little), a Windley – yellow, but I don’t care – and my new addition, a Red Jewel.
I mean, how could I possibly have resisted this? For some reason there were quite a few at Fron Goch garden centre, all tucked away behind some Sahin’s Early Flowerer which were doing just that – flowering their socks off and attracting a lot of attention. It’s worth ferretting about sometimes, it really is. Now what I need is something to tie this gem in with the Windley. I know – Helenium Potter’s Wheel, red with a yellow edge… help!
And, as a final note, and to distract me from searching online for
Hel anything, ahem, I went a bit mad and bought a tray of mesembryanthemums. A real plant of my childhood, and one with a lot of acid tones, some of which – I have to say – don’t quite work where I’ve put them: at the foot of the cedar trunk, in an area which until last year was in deep shade until the cedar was cut down. Its removal has brought massive changes, not least to the house which is no longer in danger of becoming part of the tree. The sheer increase in light is wonderful, and the destruction of the wind tunnel created by the huge tree and the gable end of the house was almost completely unexpected. But the light is the most obvious benefit, and boy are the plants loving it. Not least my mesembryanthemums. Gorgeous.
Wonder if there’s a helenium in this colour?
(No end of the month view post this time. Yesterday was considering finding timber to build ark. All plants closed up tight, and I can’t blame them. Now basking once again. This is summer, yipee….)