Discover more from WILD WAY
VORTEX (PART ONE)
POT'S GROWING ON? 24/02/23
At the bottom of our main garden it continues a bit into a slightly sunken smaller area (8 x 8m) which is much more shaded around the edges, though still sunny in the middle. Here, where hedges and trees break the view to the hills in summer, I feel I can let the planting run riot without worrying it feels out of place because it is so enclosed. I haven’t decided on a final colour scheme yet, perhaps this area will never have one. Last year I was struck by the vivid colours of certain Helenium, Monarda and Symphiotrichum. Their rich orange, pink and purple together on mass in a huge swirl of extreme colour is on my mind.
I used this space as a plonking ground to hold random plants I wanted to try while I concentrated on the main garden last year. It’s where I’ve been trialling various asters and other sun lovers, as well as growing a lot of my favourite shade lovers from seed and very small plants.
As with the main garden it was largely lawn except for planting on the right. I’ve been slowly laying down card and covering with compost or weighting down to kill off areas of lawn to plant into. Depending on how I feel, I might do a chunk this year and continue with the rest next year, so that I don’t end up with too many bare patches of soil and not enough plants.
The three Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’ we have in pots I’m considering planting close together in one corner (shown above with the canes) for a blast of colour and scent to stand between in future winters.
This is my aster trial bed, in which I slowly snuck in a few other plants like this Penstemon cutting. I plan to remove the dusty blue asters to concentrate only on the richer colours. To be honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of blue in gardens, I’m not sure why (that’s just my preference, I know lots of others do).
I’m growing Bistorta amplexicaulis ‘September Spires’ in the main garden, brought with me from my old allotment, and I’m thinking of spreading it into this new area. This photo is a bit faded, the flowers are quite a strong pink in person.
This is the shaded bed I’ve been growing in the vortex. Some of these plants are destined for other parts of the garden, however I was struck by the colour combination in person, it was spot on. A lesson in serendipity, I didn’t plan any of it yet the whites, lime green, purple, fuchsia and pink work extremely well together thanks in part to the airy shapes of the plants.
One of my favourite Astrantia, bought as ‘Ruby Star’ but possibly another cultivar, was in the few plants I brought with us when we moved. I plan to grow and spread it around this area.
The colour I am least sure about is the bright yellow of Rudbeckia missouriensis. I love Rudbeckia for the warm glow on dull days in autumn, and yellow does contrast nicely with the purples. However, just because the colour wheel tells us something is right, doesn’t mean we have to do it and such clashes often feel too much to me. More McDonalds or Ryanair posters to gain attention than a garden to enjoy. The design rules say it’s right but I don’t always want to follow other people’s design rules. That said, I want to give it a try, not least because I grew them from seed, and I’m going to spread them around into lots of big bold patches. My working nickname of the vortex (which is tongue in cheek because it feels weird naming areas of a garden to me) comes from the fact the area will be head spinningly bright!
I grew lots of Monarda from seed in our first year which had real impact last year. The great thing about growing stuff from seed is the variation, allowing you to choose exactly what you prefer after seeing them side-by-side. Paler colours are being moved to other areas or composted, while the bold fuchsias will stay and be spread.
How will it all look by summer? I can’t really tell you, I have no plan, I’m not sure it will work. There aren’t enough plants yet to entirely fill the area. But I am excited to throw out all restraints on colour, to run wild in 2023. Please stick around for the ride!