catching up with grasses
September 28, 2011
Catching up again – seeing and continually learning – how plants have developed and matured in the growing season, is a pleasure – usually! The first phase of the decorative planting in this garden, in Sussex, was carried out during late autumn and early winter of 2009. For those that can remember this was a cold, cold winter, so a fingers crossed approach was needed but, luckily, in this particular garden there is a very fine gardener. The 2nd + 3rd phases followed on in late spring and early autumn of 2010. So back to review the grasses in their 2nd season. Miscanthus ‘Grosse Fontaine’ forming flowering trumpets at the end of the canal . . .
. . and seen from the main lawn below. The oak uprights support wires for the line of espaliered pears and make a division between the two garden areas. Silvery Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’ stands sentinel behind Sedum ‘Autumn Fire’ and Rosa ‘Buff Beauty’. The cedar marks the north garden.
This large garden is a garden of rooms – it was defined as such early on in the design process – with one of the rooms tagged the Exotic Garden. This houses those that look exotic but aren’t necessarily tender. So very bright colours – reds, oranges, purples – and bold in form and shape. Miscanthus ‘Ghana’ was part of the palette but we had to accept Miscanthus ‘Graziella’ as a substitute and, all things considered, I think it’s a better grass for the position. Less obvious but with eventual stronger autumn colour and the pendulous habit works well as a contrast to the neighbouring plants. It stands behind the persicaria in the image below.
Not a grass, but a bamboo, Borinda papyrifera stands behind the tetrapanax in this shot, and was sourced from Jungle Giants.
The Exotic Garden nudges up to the Perennial Garden so Hedychium ‘Tara’ and Dahlia ‘Melody Mambo’ jostle around with Aconitum arendsii and Actaea simplex ‘Brunette’ in a rather jolly way . . .
. . Echinops ‘Blue Globe’ parties around as well.
A group of Rosa ‘Lili Marlene’ is under planted with Carex buchananii as a front edge to another garden room.
And the old stalwart Stipa tenuissima used as a threading plant within the Herb Garden. Simple and easy to grow and manage. Just let it seed where it wants and pull it out if you don’t want! Tufty and wafty in habit and provides low movement amongst the lower static groups of herbs. Final image signifies for me, musical notes drifting away and circling back. Wonderment and reflection. Although this is a garden created for a family with all the fun times and gaiety that should and does happen here, it still has an overall sense of magical solitude but also seems totally grounded. Hence the choice of poem that is a reflection on the spiritual and pragmatism of decision making.
In eye a dark pool
in which Sirius glitters
and never goes out.
Its melody husky
as though with suppressed tears.
Its bill as the gold
one quarries for amid
evening shadows. Do not despair
at the stars’ distance. Listening
to blackbird music is
to bridge in a moment chasms
of space – time, is to know
that beyond the silence
which terrified Pascal
there is a presence whose language
is not our language, but who has chosen
with peculiar clarity the feathered
creatures to convey the austerity
of his thought in song. R S Thomas Blackbird