Saturday, 7 January 2017

What a Difference a Year Makes

Madeira Germander (Teucrium betonicum) is one of those big, in-your-face perennials, tough and flowering now even when it should be broiling. I like the pink-purple blooms and I use the sub-shrub - a couple of plants of it - to divide my blue and yellow garden (the end with loads of blue and a few blue-purple perennials) from my silver and raspberry-colour bed. Not long ago I snapped it with Penstemon `Alice Hindley' (with white Orlaya grandiflora (last picture) at the front). A year ago I disliked having the Teucrium next to the white throated, mauve penstemon; they seemed just too close in colour and the effect was wishy washy - and I never got around to changing my plant selection. But what  a difference a year makes! Instead of 2 spikes, the penstemon has many; and maybe that lace-cap annual (which I first saw in The White Garden at Sissinghirst Castle - is that why I love it? It self-sows gently, by the way) at the front helps, too. Suddenly it works; perhaps the dark green shrubs behind are creating a good foil, also.
What I need now are a couple of cranesbills (true Geranium like Geranium pratense striatum, above) with silver foliage to plant at the base; evergreen species with blue flowers please. (OK, purple. I know when I am being totally unreasonable.) Now to search my books (real books!), on-line perennial catalogues and my well-thumbed (paper) seed catalogues...
Jill Weatherhead is horticulturist, writer, garden designer and principal at Jill Weatherhead Garden Design who lives in the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne, and works throughout Victoria (

1 comment:

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