Thursday, 21 July 2011

Friendship and Flowers (VFTA No 4)

The next in my sometime series of reviews has been prompted by a visit made a few days ago to my dear friend, C in Devon.  It's about a 200 mile trip from Holly Grove most of it on motorway, so not very picturesque and always with the possibility of traffic problems and delays, but also the prospect of spending time with a close friend.  C and I have been friends for just over 29 years (we met when I was very pregnant with my youngest son, but that's another story).

The fun began shortly after I arrived chez C; just time to freshen up and change out of travelling clothes before we headed off for a salsa lesson.  Neither C nor I had tried salsa before and we had such a laugh, though we did manage to master a few of the steps as well.  So great fun as all this was, what's it got to do with gardening, well...

C has a small courtyard garden and when I saw it the next morning in the light of day I was bowled over.  The garden consists of one border the length of the garden on one side and a small summer house and lots of plants in pots on the other with a gravel path between.  The flower border is densely planted giving a beautiful cottage garden effect - just my kind of planting. 

C has made good use of the vertical too, with clematis and even a sambucus niger (black elder in photo next to climbing rose) kept close against the fence line.  The number and array of plants is amazing and the density of the planting means that weeds don't get a look in.  The colour palette is mostly pinks and blues but with accents of red.  The soft colours create a peaceful ambiance with the reds providing's very tempting to copy this whole planting scheme in a border at Holly Grove!

I was particularly charmed by a couple of plants that I would like to add to our Holly Grove borders - potentilla thurberi 'Monarch's Velvet' and salvia greggii 'Icing Sugar'.  The salvia is hardy to -8 but if we have a winter like last year it may struggle here in Shropshire where the freezing cold winds come across from Wales and down over the Cheshire Plain pushing the temperature frequently downwards well below freezing; quite a different climate to the milder winters of the south west, but worth a try and if I can't overwinter it in the borders I could try growing it in a pot.  The potentilla is fully hardy, so that's definitely one for the borders.

all photos courtesy of C
I was astonished at how much interest C has been able to create in a small space; truly inspirational!

Note: Be careful if you are buying the salvia as there seems to be a purple/lilac Icing Sugar that is described as both salvia microphylla and salvia greggii - the pink one in C's garden is definitely salvia greggii according to the RHS; I have also seen the pink one listed as salvia jamensis, microphylla and jamesii - help!!!

No comments: