The garden is waking up with energy and vigour! This time of year is always special with the fresh green foliage that emerges in abundance. Later on in the summer, the green colours are less differentiated and take on a more homogenous background blur; but at this time of year, they truly zing with freshness!
Below are a series of images of special views (albeit relatively close-up!) from the garden at Slate Cottage. There are a whole host of gems – some that need looking for and others that literally throw their hands up and beg to be noticed!
The Amelanchier foliage is so perfect at this time of year and looks so delicate with the dainty cream blossom. It forms a perfect partner beside the black Sambucus – left unpruned this year so that I can cut branches for my arrangements over the next few weeks. The Geranium beneath is an unknown variety taken as cuttings from my Parent’s garden. Its flowers are very unusual and it is giant in proportion. Last year, I actually gave it a slight ‘Chelsea Chop’ to control the vigour but I might let it romp away this year to its heart’s content!
The Apple Blossom is forming and looks lovely in the foreground with the deep liquorish foliage of the purple Hazel behind.
The gentle veins on the Corylus are so intricate and the colour works so well with the fresh green of the surrounding foliage. This purple hazel is positioned half way down the garden and repeats the deep colour of the Sambucus nearer the house. A third purple leaved shrub at the bottom of the garden (Cotinus) provides another dark punctuation mark to help move the eye gradually down the space.
This little Astrantia is already blooming having only stopped in November last year! Its energy is amazing and looks really special under the Sambucus. New and beautiful colour combinations are revealing themselves each day.
The Blueberry is flowering with promise of many fruits later in the year … as long as I remember to protect it from our greedy blackbird who adores the berries! The foliage is also full of beautiful hues at this time of year.
Look at this bud … sure promise of great things to come in the Paeonia. I love the way that the colours in the foliage reflect the shades of the bud.
Two years ago, I had Cerinthe in the bed adjacent to a path. The seed lives on and this beautiful specimen has appeared from a crack in the paving under a bluey green pot full of baby Hosta leaves. Nature really does know how to style itself!
The scent of this Clematis armandii is amazing at the moment – especially in the evening. It intermingles with an old Ivy and together they provide welcome cover to the oil tank … much to the chagrin of the oil delivery man!
The pretty yellow flowers of the Echinacea are only apparent at this time of year once the old leaves have been removed. They add light and focus to the shady area beneath the spreading Cornus controversa.
I love the Sedum at this time of year with its perfectly formed domes of glaucous green succulent foliage. This contrasts in shape but matches in colour the beginnings of the Plume Poppy (Macleaya cordata) in the background and the leaves of the Allium hollandicum ‘Purple Sensation’ appearing all around.
A wonderful Rosemary (Rosmarinus ‘Boule’) that we used at Chelsea last year has been potted up and is loving the warm, well-drained conditions.
Hydrangea foliage is vivid, clean and crisp at this time of year and I frequently make use of the leaves in small arrangements.
The Ribes sanguineum took some years to establish successfully but now gives us a fantastic display every spring. It is a welcome addition to the garden in terms of colour at this time of year and provides a great alternative and contrast to the creamy white blossom I use in my flower work.
The Pasque Flower, Pulsatilla vulgaris rubra is a lovely, lovely specimen that looks amazing planted as a group in a gravel topped pot. Its foliage is soft, hairy and almost feathery in appearance and the seed heads offer structure and beautiful texture for weeks after the simple, delicate flowers have gone.
When I develop Planting Schemes for Client’s gardens, I often tell them not to concentrate too much on individual components but rather, to look at the overall picture and the complete appearance of the group of plants. This is important so that the garden ‘reads’ as a whole and so that movement and an overall ‘flow’ can be achieved. However, at moments like this, I realise that it is still important to get up close and very personal with the plants and to look at the detail; to revel in individuality!