Flowers and Foliage
For performance Helleborus argutifolius is outstanding – it’s been in flower in my garden since January and in full shade. Last year I saved seeds that I sowed in autumn in a 1 litre pot of good compost. I thinned the seedlings out in April by potting them on into 9cm pots and I now have eight more plants.
Here it’s cut with Nigella ‘Love in a Mist’ which I adore but it’s taken over the fruit beds on the allotment at the expense of the fruit. I am pulling it out by the root and doubt there will be any blackcurrants this year.
Another performance plant is Rosa glauca (R.rubrifolia) with its exceptionally pretty coppery-mauve foliage and bright pink flowers. I like it’s shrubby form and that it’s practically thorn-less and has bright red rose hips in autumn.
It mixes brilliantly in a small jug here with Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant’, Cosmos ‘Sensation’, Geranium psilostemon and Gladioli byzantinus.
I am usually reluctant to plant shrubs that have lime-yellow foliage because I find them difficult to blend in with calmer planting schemes but I love this Philadelphus coronarius ‘Aureus’.
The lime green leaves seem to add to the deliciously fragrant flowers intensifying the citrus orange blossom scent. It was buzzing with bees working on the pollen and unlike other philadelphus it does best in part-shade.
Planted beneath it was Osteospermum ‘ Lady Leitrim’ a gorgeous front of border plant often flowering from late spring until autumn. After a few years they they may get straggly but are easily cut back and new plants propagated from cuttings in late summer.