I’m sure all gardeners have had moments when garden visiting, that have so inspired them, that they can’t wait to get home and start changing part of their own garden. This is how it was for me when on holiday this year and I saw all the beautiful drifts of candelabra primulas, starting with these at R.H.S. garden, Harlow Carr.
As some of you may know, away from the house, we have a circular area, half of which is in shade from about 10am onwards (bearing in mind that the sun rises at 4.30 or 5am in the summer so plants will have at least 5 hrs sun, that’s providing it shines !) and this border has an underground stream running below, so is always damp. These red Primula candelabra “Inverewe” were photographed in Scotland, but I managed to buy some plants from a nursery on Dartmoor, thanks to the book, The Plant Finder.
At the moment I have this border planted up with bog plants which are lovely in the spring and early summer, but then the freshness fades as the months go by. I’ve been thinking for quite some time now that it could be a lot better later in the year.There is far too much Alchemilla mollis which has seeded itself throughout the border, they can all go, ferns are spreading everywhere, at least half can go into the woodland and other plants are ready to be split and moved, so now seems a good time to reorganise this area.
Out came paper and pencil and lists started to be made of all the plants that like damp ground in semi shade,and because the border is a semi circle, that were also the colours of the rainbow.
Candelabra primulas were the first choice because of all the colours available.
Primula alpicola are available in the indigo, violet range along with Primula florindae “Coppertones” for the orange section. Managed to find a nursery in Ireland selling this one, oh, the joys of shopping with a lap top and a debit card !!
Purple orchids for the violet coloured section, these are quite widely available from specialist nurseries.
Of course Meconopsis have to represent the blue in the rainbow.
That takes care of the early part of the year. There are already some iris in the border which can be split
and moved further back, for the yellow, blue and purple areas.
Next to flower would be the Astilbes, I have some red and purple ones that can be split and moved.
These would flower along side the red, orange and yellow crocosmias, with of course “Lucifer” starting off the rainbow. I think I will have to buy some Phlox for the lilac/purple areas and maybe some Monardas, Willow Gentians and Fillipendula.
These would flower along side red, blue and purple lobelias which are almost the last to start flowering in September. Just bought these from our local garden centre.
Most of these plants I already have and they just need splitting and moving. Others I have already started growing from seed – the primulas which I brought back from Scotland, have provided me with lots of seeds and are now sprouting nicely.
Already in the border are various hostas and ferns, hostas can stay where they are and ferns can be moved to where the green section will be.
with Rogersias and a Rheum palmatum, some of the Rogersias will need moving.
It will take a couple of years for everything to settle in and start increasing, but in the mean time I can dream of my rainbow. Can anyone think of anything else I should add, apart from the crock of gold at the end !!!