In taking a closer look at different parts of the garden I was going to work round in the order of my usual ramble, but having been struck by the denseness of colour in the blue & white border today I decided to focus on this area now, whilst it still looks the way it does. Totally unprompted, the Golfer happened to comment on this border today too, unintentionally seconding my choice.
The blue & white border, now in fact three-borders-in-one, is centred around a circle of granite cobbles which I laid in 2003 as one of a pair, around which an S-shaped pergola snaked on which grew the original Zéphirine Drouhin and Guinée climbing roses which have since been relocated. A major rethink nine years later saw the removal of one circle – so, now you see it (2003):
Both the above pictures are rather different from what you can see today! The 2003 picture clearly shows the drop in level across the garden, incorporated into the old rose garden as a step which is still retained and is just to the left of the bench which is almost out of view on the right hand side of the very top picture. This steps down onto the remaining circle, with a border on the right and a narrow border against the wall, both following the curve of the circle of course:
It really took me by surprise to check back on the blog and realise that the wall has not been there even two years, as it is such a solid and permanent feature and was a success from its inception (you can see how it came about if you look at posts from August 2013) There are two Snow Goose rambling roses growing against the wall and a Trachelospermum which I want to move as it is a yellow flowered T asiaticum and not the white T jasminoides. At their feet is the prolifically flowering Campanula portenschlagiana. The tree in the centre of the circle is Amelanchier lamarkii.
The bed on the right is a bit of a haphazard mixture – various echinops, a veronica, a delphinium (whoohoo, a first!), polemonium, geranium, tradescantia and various blue and white annuals grown from seed. White sweet peas and a dark blue clematis (in bud) are trained up the dividing fence, whilst dicentra, iris, aquilegia, brunnera and perennial centaurea are all but over. The centaurea will be partially culled to allow for other deserving plants, but I cannot fault its enthusiasm or the appearance of it at its peak. The brick column was built to hold the charity shop bowl and the swan purchased as something that would float in the bowl!
Facing the wall is the semi-circular bench built by the Golfer to my instruction, a replacement for the original design which sat in the same spot. This version is in three parts so can be used together or apart and makes access to the bed behind considerably easier! This bed is a similar hotch potch of perennials with the addition of annuals and will also be the subject of a cull of less worthy specimens later in the season.
A path separates this bed from a narrow one against a neighbour’s fence, turning behind the low wall & trellis and sloping down behind it with the left hand bold border on its other side. Comfrey grows at the foot of the elder tree stump on the left of the narrow border, whilst a clematis grows up and around it. In the rest of the bed (reclaimed after an old and tired ceanothus was removed) I direct sowed mixed packets of blue and white annuals and added other annuals grown earlier. As well as cornflowers, there are some annuals I do not recognise in the mix – nothing out of the ordinary but not plants I know.
The contents of the borders have arrived on a ‘it’s blue or white and it’s pretty’ basis, so with no pre-thought or planning, but the overall effect is not displeasing to the eye. Some things are really beginning to establish themselves – echinops, aconitum and that delphinium for example, and new clematis and the Snow Goose roses have made a great start. Adding annuals to the mix for the first time has given the borders a further boost too – so definitely worth taking a closer look, don’t you think?