Saturday, September 20, 2008

Gardening with grasses

This is the saison of grasses. Here you are three fantastic pages on grasses.

This picture was shot in the beautiful garden of L'Ortie-Culture in Belgium. Their page is in French, but their pictures speak for themselves.

Concerning grasses, the Knoll Gardens is the nursery number one in Britain. Apart from browsing through their garden pictures, you should also have a look at their catalog. You will have a completely different idea about what grasses are.

I’m convinced that as to the use of grasses in gardening, Piet Oudolf is one of the best garden designers of the world – although he is that in every other aspect, too. In his homepage you can see some dozens of beautiful images on his works.

Work bouquet

I made this photo in the last week, but in the meantime my computer went wrong, so I can upload it just now.

Since when I have been so welloff that I can observe flowers not only in two inches web pictures but in life size in my own garden, every time I want to make some changes, I make a bouquet to see how the candidates look like together. This is also such a “work bouquet”.

Rudbeckia nitida 'Herbstsonne', Cimicifuga ramosa 'Atropurpurea', Telekia speciosa, Anemone 'Honorine Jobert'Rudbeckia nitida 'Herbstsonne', Cimicifuga ramosa 'Atropurpurea', Telekia speciosa, Anemone 'Honorine Jobert'.

I am satisfied with the result, so from next spring they will be the protagonists in the part shade under the walnut tree.

Summer-end yellows

I love summer-end warm yellow colors. However, it is not easy to find a place for them in our garden. According to Gertrude Jekyll, one should keep these warm and vivid yellow colors near to the house.

Telekia speciosa Molinia WindspielI also started like this, but even one single warm yellow flower destroyed the harmony of the pink roses. And, in addition, these warm yellow plants usually prefer suns that our garden does not have in abundance. I tried to plant them in part shade but vivid yellows were very disquieting there.

Ligularia 'Desdemona'After the failures of long years I had to accept that one cannot put many yellows in our garden.

Hemerocallis 'Autumn Minaret'I renounced those yellows that required much sun, and I managed to find place for some that also live in part shade, contrapuncted with light white flowers and/or grasses, hostas and ferns.

Helenium 'Baudirektor Linne'I think I love the final result more than the impossible alternative with many yellows.

Persicaria microcephala 'Red Dragon'

My absolute favorit. If I could only have one perennial, it would be this, I think. I saw it for the first time at Beth Chatto, and I immediately fell in love with it. To protect the one I bought, I purchased a small backpack in London and I took it on the plane in that, together with a couple of more plants.

Persicaria microcephala 'Red Dragon'It had survived that journey without any problem. However, the next spring, when it did not show any sign of life several weeks after the Persicaria amplexicaulis sprouted up, I thought it become frozen during the winter, and I threw it out. I was convinced that such a Japanese wonder must be frost-tender. But no, it belongs to Z5, it is frost-resistant down to -29ºC. And, in contrast to some of its infamous relatives, it is not invasive. (Some other members of its family, like Persicaria amplexicaulis, Persicaria polymorpha and Persicaria virginiana 'Painter's Palette' are not either – but the overall sold Persicaria bistorta runs like the Orient Express, and its blooming period is also short.)

Persicaria microcephala 'Red Dragon'A professional-looking American review wrote that it also grows on clay. At us it is effectively on clay, and it apparently feels well. You have to water it of course, but it does not require as much water as, for example, the Ligularia. At us it is planted in shade. Where it gets more sun, its leaves become more red. It grows 1-1.5 meters high and 1.5-2 meters large. At the end it blooms small white flowers (on the above picture you can see one or two), but it is usually planted for its beautiful leaves. I also regularly put them in bouquets. It is perfect in every aspect. You only have to take care not to throw it out in the springtime by mistake.