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

6 Responses to “catching up with grasses”

  1. emmaR Says:

    massive ticks for the planting, Julia. Try and see the Sussex Prairies before they shut – they’ve got some really unusual things, and combination plantings. I wrote about them for Country Life a couple of years ago, so you’ve got something in commong!

  2. julia fogg Says:

    I hope to – I will – I hope I will – aaargh! You may like but you need to be quick! Died and gone to heaven!

  3. daseger Says:

    Wow! Julia, really beautiful. The bamboo is not invasive?

  4. julia fogg Says:

    Not too bad, Donna. We usually advise root barrier protection especially if there’s a long run or massed planting. In this garden the client rather liked Chusquea culeou, seen at RHS Wisley, so we used this as a screen to the neighbours. Roor barrier went in on the clients side – and the neighbours were advised . . . . to follow suit. Great plants, bamboos, but they need management in a domestic situation.

  5. decorartuk Says:

    That’s so pretty! I love the colours and the tectures. Knowing how gardens are “born” I can see how much work has been done here. A real feast for the eyes of a garden lover!

  6. julia fogg Says:

    Many thanks for your comments!

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