Sunday, 2 March 2008

One for Gardeners

The mallow on the bank has been cut back to stumps. I know it will regenerate, but for the moment I want to leave it (I may regret this) and see what grows back. There are about 20 stumps scattered along the bank and some are already showing signs of new soft grey-green growth.

The shrubs I bought from Leclerc are spread in three groups at different heights on the bank between the mallow stumps. On the far right looking back towards the house, there is a group of mainly yellows and whites, with a touch of blue and red: spirea bridal wreath, kerria, photinia red robin, and a low spreading ceanothus.

In the middle is a big group of pinks and reds again with splashes of blue: weigelia, abelia, another two spireas (both Anthony Waterer) as pink ground cover, more ceanothus. In this group there are shrubs that I haven't grown before that feel more "Southern European", even if two are from Australia (tamarisk, grevillea and callistemon).

On the left, the colours revert mainly to white and green: more spirea bridal wreath, a choisya, two philadelphus (seringa in French) alongside the gate that opens from the lawn down on to the bank so that their perfume catches passers-by and a berberis for another splash of dark red.

Between the three big groups of shrubs there is space to put some big grasses, stipa gigantea maybe, to soften the transitions from white / yellow to pink / red and back to white / green again.

For the birds and small beasts, I've also planted two red currants (blackbird's favourite), two blackcurrants and a hazel.
Leaving the mallow threading through means that during much of the summer the white / yellow / green effect will be blurred with pink, so I may just keep cutting the mallow back and treat it as ground cover. A bit bizarre, I know, but the bank is largely fine sandy loam (joy of joys, great for weeding, just tug) and until the new shrubs have established, the mallow is holding the bank in place.

The mallow was dull and dusty. The glossy leaves of the new shrubs gleam in the late afternoon sun as it slants across the bank.

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