Monday, 30 July 2012

Devilishly handsome

Late July in the garden, and summer is most definitely here. I leave our little courtyard – through the trellis, stooping low under the arching, overladen stems of the pheasant berry Leycesteria formosa – to be confronted by the strident scarlet of Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’, jarring nicely with the flowers of the lavender that borders the path. I love how this plant single handedly provides a magnificent boost to the garden at this time of year. Some relief is provided by its fresh green leaves, together with a background hedge of forsythia and mahonia, with the purple smoke bush Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’ and the wheaten tones of the tall grass Stipa gigantea – but the overall effect is anything but subtle and, I think, all the better for it.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Before the heat

Verbena bonariensis against a background of Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Goldtau’

In the cool, fresh air of the morning, as the sun gathers its strength for another day baking us till our skins feel fit to split like sausages, I spend far too long trying to capture the diaphanous cloud of pollen that floats away whenever the deschampsia is brushed against. I give up. You need three hands for this task, or at least a tripod, and I have neither.

So I settle for an early morning picture of the flower spike which the acanthus has deigned to elevate above its rampant mound of deep green, spiny leaves. Magic.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Hampton Court Flower Show 2012

Much to think about following Sunday’s visit to Hampton Court. As always, the grounds were packed full of wonderful plants in beautiful condition, and happy plant shoppers trundling their purchases on folding box trollies, and although the going was a bit soggier than usual, this didn’t seem to put people off. Also represented were the usual array of garden furniture, lighting, tool and accessory companies – you can spend hours pottering and a fortune if you’re not careful, but it was really the gardens I had come to see. I’d purposefully avoided coverage of the show on the television this week as I was keen to approach the gardens without any preconceptions, and didn’t even make use of a map.