Monthly Archives: July 2023

Mid July, flower combinations that work.

You often hear that beauty is in the eye of the beholder but within the garden there are certain plant combinations that work better than other.  I happen to think that if there are too many different textures, colours and shapes all together then you can lose the overall effect, they all battle for your attention.  I usually have a picture in my head of what the overall effect should look like when I pace my plants together and sometimes things workout the way I had imagined them and sometimes they don’t.  For example I planted a purple leaved cotinus behind a pink climbing rose and a white astrantia: the flowers of the astrantia have a pinky/purple colouration in the centre when young  and the zephirine drouhin rose is a nice pink and these should look great against the purple leaves of the cotinus.  The dog had other plans and crashed around behind the cotinus and broke a few branches and it is still only about 30cm high.  The rose doesn’t appear to like that spot and is struggling.  I will replace the rose with a honey suckle to grow up the arch instead as it has purple tinges to it’s leaves but has vibrant flowers which should look good against the cotinus (once it does get going).

The pale pink climbing rose Generous gardener looks good against the purple leaved Sambucus nigra ‘Black lace’ and picks up the pink of the flowers too, but I will have to make a decision soon of how high I want the sambucus to grow as I don’t want a huge tree.

Generous gardener and Sambucus nigra

The relaxed habit of the moss roses go well with the rather straggly foxgloves in the woodland stumpery, and the purples look good together.  The purple of the moss roses fades to almost lilac as the rose goes over.

Moss rose William Lobb with foxgloves.

The dark purple of the Munstead wood rose is picked up in the verbascums (possibly Raspberry ripple) behind it.

Rose ‘Munstead wood’ against Verbascum ‘Raspberry ripple’.

By the patio I have a pink combination that works well.  I did have a struggle to get the Cistus parviflorus to thrive as the rather heavy wood pigeons kept trashing it.  That area is quite heavy clay that holds the water well and these all thrive there now.  The rose Gertrude Jekyll is still quite young but I do like the way that even though they are all pink flowers – all the pinks work together as the flower shapes are different,  and each plant has a very different habit  and leaf shape, so it keeps the combo interesting.

Gertrude Jekyll, pink astilbe and Cistus parviflorus combo.

Beside the ramp into the back garden is a shady,  damp corner.  The front of the corner gets a bit of sun and the cowslips enjoy that area.  Being yellow they add a bit of colour in what could be rather a dull area.  They go well with the ferns.

Primula sikkimensis with Osmunda regalis ‘Purpurascens’ and other fern.

As you wander around the garden your eye should travel easily along as the colours repeat themselves on the way.  I have dots of deep purple in every bed, pinks, and blues with highlight plants with white or yellow or gold.  It doesn’t matter if the colours are in the foliage or the flowers or even the containers or background.

Colours working together around the garden.

It goes without saying really that this applies to the pond too.

Purple Lythrum salicaria with Thalictrum flavium Glaucum yellow.

I just had to show a few other photos of plants that caught my eye this month.

I planted this fern (Dryopteris erythrosa ‘Brilliance’ or Japanese Rosy Buckler fern) a couple of years ago but the shrub along side it grew right over it so I moved it last year.  It has taken a while to get going but I just love the vibrant copper colour it brings to the shady woodland area. It really shows up against the predominantly green background but goes well with the purple/bronze  shade of the heuchera in the front.

Dryopteris erythrosa ‘Brilliance’ (Japanese Rosy Buckler fern)

In the conservatory it is the flower spike of the Sempervivum Mint marvel with the white flowers with reddish/purple centres  that stands out amongst the pinky/peach colour of the other sempervivums.

Sempervivum ‘Mint marvel’ flower spike.
White and reddish/purple flowers of Sempervivum ‘Mint marvel’

Wildlife I have spotted in the garden (and managed to get a photograph of) in the last couple of weeks include: a seven spot (?) ladybird larva, a mottled grass hopper (Myrmeleotettix maculatus) and a few meadow brown butterflies (Maniola Jurtina).  The photographs are not great (taken quickly with my phone) and I have yet to see a meadow brown on an actual plant – I only see them when they have come into the conservatory).

Seven-spot ladybird larvae (Coccinella septempunctata)
Myrmeleotettix maculatus
Maniola jurtina (female I think)

Now it is back to rain, rain, and more rain so not much gardening happening just now.