Monday, 14 May 2012

Gardening Gamble

It's a huge gamble this, planting and sowing so late in the year. I'd be twitchy doing it so late on even in southern England, let alone southern France.  Every day the searing heat of summer gets closer so it's a real race to get things to grow enough roots beforehand to make it through to autumn.

However, various factors prevented it from happening earlier so I just have to hunker down and get on with it, fast! 

But what to plant.. I wrote last week about taking inspiration from the wild plants nearby but just as importantly I've inherited lots of plants bought last autumn when M drove back from the UK. In this kind of gardening, you intentionally limit your plant palette, and plant lots of each to maximise their impact. So each one is carefully chosen and has at least one purpose:

We have two grasses - Miscanthus nepalenis (a slightly tender, rather refined Miscanthus - its close relative Miscanthus x giganteus grows to 3.5m in a season and is used as biofuel). This will add height and its arching flowerheads should catch the light beautifully;

Next comes Stipa tenuissima (Feather Grass), which is small, soft and very tactile so will go nicely along the path - a delight to bare legs as well as the eye! It's extremely finely-textured, and turns a rich gold over the summer - one of the best plants I know for combining with others. Here we're pairing it with the fat, fleshy, red wine-coloured leaves of Plantago 'Rubrifolia', among others.

There are a few others - some potted, some direct sown - too many to detail here without the risk of making this blog into an essay! So I'll sign off with something that brought a smile to my face. I've sown various Agastache, Hummingbird Mints from the southern USA and Mexico. A well deserved common name, as this video shows: 

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