About Garden Studies
Every once in a while, we will study a photo of a garden scene that inspires us.
The studies offer ways to recreate these garden scenesin our own gardens.I hope my readers will be inspired as well.
Garden Study #1
A garden scene from Great Dixter
"Allium in a Sea of Blue Flax"
|Great Dixter Garden Scene|
© Copyright Oast House Archive
|© Copyright Oast House Archive|
As you can see from the backdrop in the photo, there is what appears to be a shaped and pruned shrub or tree. I'm not personally a fan of this sort of heavy-handed manipulation to trees and shrubs. Pruning is necessary to shape and encourage, but this looks like a princess in a Mohawk. Some gardeners do it simply because they can and they believe it adds architectural interest to the garden design. Maybe so, but if a shrub could think I'm sure it would feel humiliated by the hair cut. My romantic garden tastes always lean to the natural aesthetic, letting the plants simply be what they are supposed to be. I prefer a less contrived shrub.
Note: If you have a very old lilac with thick stems, you can still add that architectural interest by doing some major pruning of side suckers after flowering each year and throughout the growing season. Lilacs do throw out a lot of suckers at the base, and this is why most lilacs have that bush shape. To get an interesting shape, keep them pruned out, so that the shrub has three to five main trunks to promote growth on the ends of the branches. Eventually, you'll have a lilac that looks like a small tree with long shapely branches. I'm going to try to find a picture of a pruned out lilac, but I may have to wait until May.Ingredients for "Allium in a Sea of Blue Flax"
- 2 rustic trellises 4' to 5' wide x 6' to 8' tall
- 48 Allium giganteum bulbs
- 100 or more blue flax plants or forget-me-nots (both easily grown from seed)
Note: I'm not 100% sure the blue flower in the photo is blue flax, but it's very similar in color-shade, height and delicacy. Blue flax should flower at the same time as the allium. There are few true blue flowers like this.
They could also be forget-me-nots. Both allium and forget-me-nots flower at the same time in the UK, where the Garden Study picture was taken. Have a look at this article at Alternative-Planting. It's another lovely scene, and the flower is credited to forget-me-nots. Forget-me-nots do tend to spread like mad, more so than flax, so there are choices.
- Either 2 white climbing roses, 2 white-flowered clematis, 2 simple ipomea grown from seed, or any other white flowering climbing plant that pleases your garden palate
About Blue Flax
© Copyright Derek Harper
Note: It's always a good idea to add fresh seed from another source every two - three years. It ensures the bed is always vibrant and full, keeping the stock healthy, diverse and renewed. Otherwise it could end up looking a little sparse and spindly.
© Copyright Steve Daniels
For gardens in shorter growing seasons, it's best to sow the first seeds directly outdoors in early spring, after the danger of frost has passed. They will flower the following spring. For gardens with milder winters, you can sow the seeds in the fall for spring flowers.
Forget-me-nots prefer dappled shade over bright sunlight and actually do better in cooler temperatures.
About Allium (giganteum)
Allium giganteum grows to about 4' tall. They grow best in sunny locations. This is partly why I think it would work best with the flax. Both prefer sun.
The bulbs should be planted at a depth three times their size, about 3", and they are best planted in the fall.
About White-flowered Clematis
|Clematis Miss Bateman|
© Copyright Oast House Archive
| Clematis Montana Albens|
© Copyright Maurice Pullin
Clematis should be planted in spring in alkaline soil. They like there roots shaded or cool, so many gardeners plant a small evergreen in front of them the keep the soil shaded. For this purpose they plant it slightly on its side to ensure it grow up the trellis and and not into or through the small evergreen.
About White Climbing Roses
There are many to choose from. Look for a white rose that will suite your garden zone as well as your tastes.
Other white flowering climber choices might include Jasminum officinale, or ipomea, but there are many climber plants with white flowers.