Saturday, 3 November 2012

Thinking ahead about plant combinations

Monday 29th
Weather: It has warmed up again (the weekend was icily cold). Tail end of a storm blew over us, with a dash of rain, but this did not last long and it broke into a nice soft golden glow of sunshine.

Salvia uliginosa coupled with Dahlia 'Twynings After Eight' - the blue bog sage that looks even more blue on a dull day


As the garden is now officially closed, we carried on clearing a bed that we had started in the Barn Garden. We took out the rest of the Salvia confertiflora, Leonotis and some Diascia personata (cut right back), Scabious 'Beaujolais Bonnets'. Then we started to cut down the Salvia uglinosa too and took cuttings material for that.

After that we had a meeting about the plant combinations for bedding in spring. This was done very systematically, looking at each 'bed' in turn and deciding what would go where best. Many things had to be taken into account - not just its visual qualities, but how long it lasted and the time frame it would cover, its growing habits and height etc. I found it a difficult task, as not being familiar with some of these plants personally or the history of the beds etc it was hard for me to picture them and I'm quite a visual person. We looked at images on the internet but it just doesn't give you a sufficient impression. But it was good to get a sense of how this planning could be done (it was further discussed with Fergus and he gave the go ahead of it or not based on his expertise). I did wonder though whether there were other approaches that one could use to look at this, as it is important to do out of the box thinking. In my creative experience I have always thought that it is necessary to think without limitations initially and then get down to the practicalities, as that allows room for surprises.

This picture doesn't really do it justice but this is one of many effective summer to autumn combinations at Dixter - Salvia 'Indigo Spires' & Dahlia 'David Horward'

Not quite spring bedding, but a possible combination? Salvia & solidago accidentally put together and pointed out by Emma

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