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.

This malevolent montbretia has really made itself at home here, now rocketing effortlessly skywards from ground zero in early spring to achieve a height of four feet or more. Just now they are flopping over alarmingly, telling me that one urgent post Christmas task will be to plant them deeper into the soil so as to give the top-heavy stems more anchorage in the ground.

The individual clumps of corms have again become enormous, and while this gives an impressive degree of coverage, it does rather shade out anything planted close by. In spite of the fact that they do flower most spectacularly when congested, I'll be dividing them again in spring, so friends can expect to be gifted with pots of impish delight in the new year.