Monday, November 08, 2010

The Grand Tour #3: The Shady Bit

Turn your back to the house once again, and look to your left: this is the side of the garden that lies in the lee of a steeply-sloping bank, topped with a hedge, the lane meandering by on the other side a good ten feet or so above head height. The 'lawn' stretches back from here, but in front is a little seating area: no good for chilly autumn or spring, when you require the full force of the sun, but wonderful in summer, I suspect, where the shade will be a welcome respite from all those 40°-plus temperatures we're supposed to be getting in a few years' time.

I introduce you to....

The Pot-Pourri Garden


It's not quite in full shade: the bit that wraps around to the garden path, to the right in this picture, actually gets sun for most of the day. It is for this reason that I've decided this should be the place for another long-held hankering of mine: a garden where all the plants can be used for pot-pourri. This idea may be fairly heftily modified in the coming months: it's quite likely, for example, that apothecary's rose (Rosa gallica var officinalis), a base ingredient for pot-pourri and one of my all-time favourite roses for its sumptuous, unforgettable scent, will not like my chalky soil here. But in the best gardening traditions I shall try, and probably err, until I get it right. At worst, I should end up with rather a nice scented garden: even nicer on those summer evenings.

For now, however, it is a sea of neglect: there has obviously at some stage in its dim and distant past been some love and attention, as there are some rather gorgeous things here such as a massive and beautiful clump of bronze rodgersia. But mostly, it's just a sea of cranesbill: and not even interesting cranesbill but the rampant wild form, which although pretty is a little tedious in these quantities.

There are other self-seeding lovelies, though, like this Meconopsis cambrica: a slender, delicate, tissue-paper-thin poppy of just the perfect shade of yellow which I have always struggled to grow elsewhere, yet here is growing itself. Perfect.

And astrantias are clearly happy too: it's just the common-or-garden kind rather than one of the more vividly-coloured selections, but nonetheless lovely for that.

And this rather handsome yellow-leaved shrub is glowing in the gloom: but I have no idea what it is. It's 4-5ft tall and hasn't done anything other than this, so far. I do like those deep purple stems, though. It is ringing a bell, I know I've seen it before somewhere and I probably ought to know its identity - but my poor overloaded mind is so far drawing a blank. Any ideas, anyone?

At the back is a fine variegated holly - it's right next to the Ginkgo I mentioned in a previous rambling, and the contrast between the Ginkgo's yellow autumn foliage and the yellow-and-green variegation of the holly is inspired. And it looks like we'll have holly berries for Christmas for the first time ever this year.


But what of the bank? I hear you say. There must, surely, be a bank?

Ah yes, but it is a gentle one: horribly overgrown and scrubby, but very sheltered and rather nook-like. I am seeing daphnes, violets, wintersweet and other lovely things tumbling over each other on the way down.

7 comments:

VP said...

You really have fallen in love with the place haven't you?

When you can see all kinds of things in your minds eye, then it must be the right place.

Most people would baulk at a bank, you have all kinds of plans for yours! And I like how this one forms a backdrop to the patio, making it seem embraced and sheltered.

Thanks for the links over at the BBC blog lately. Alas I can't comment on there (and at the moment baulking at yet another registration in order to do so. My life feels full of them at the moment - sorry), so wanted to let you know they're very much appreciated :D

The Constant Gardener said...

aw no problem VP, it's a pleasure :D

and yes I have fallen in love with the place... I do realise this series of posts is an entire indulgence on my part: I just need to get down on paper what is/was here when I arrived so I have something to compare it against, and my blog seemed like a good place to put it all.

So please feel free to wander off and do something more interesting while I just finish up the last couple of bits here and I'll get back to less self-indulgent things shortly!

patientgardener said...

I have that poppy - it self seeds everywhere here so beware for what you wish for!

Su said...

That shrub looks like a type of philadelpus possibly coronarius aureus. I think I have the same plant, and the old stems are dark purple but the new shoots are gree. Might not be of course!

Su

The Constant Gardener said...

Ah PG I know - I've done other people's gardens which are full of it. But I do love it. So delicate.

Su - yes the leaves are the right shape for philadelphus, though they are quite large so I'd vaguely ruled that out. But now you say it of course coronarius aureus has got large leaves. I've always grown the small-and-green leafed varieties so had forgotten there was anything else!

Thanks for the ID - will now look forward to all those lovely scented white flowers in summer. Perfect as it's in my scented garden :D

Anna said...

Have enjoyed the tour round your new estate - you are going to have fun in the next few months seeing what appears in the borders. How lucky to have shade and sun and hilly - enjoy :)

Elephant's Eye said...

If you share the Befores, we can enjoy all the more - And Look at it Now! The yellow Welsh poppy is covetable.

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