When it comes to social networking, my activity levels would register in the insular range. I’ve turned my back on Facebook, barely tweet and have now discarded Pinterest after only a brief fling. With all the hoo-ha over copyright infringement by ‘pinners’ it seems best to leave the fray. I still value the facility of a visual depositary but instead of trawling the web to collect ideas and inspirations, I’ll resort to memory and make do with my own image bank. One less ‘time-squandering’ virtual activity is after all a plus for the real world.
Pinboards whether actual or as electronic paradigm serve to pinpoint our interests and display what we want to remember most. London’s Open Garden Squares weekend is a good case in point. This 2 day marathon opens over 200 public and private squares and gardens to visitors. From the few gardens I managed to pin down in the given time, these are the personally memorable visuals:-
Circular designs give a sense of airy openness to rectangular spaces, even when they dominate the area
The touchy-feely sun border of spiky Lavender mounds, Sedum rosettes and stick thin Alliums (? schoenoprasum) made an interesting match as did the cool combination of blue Corydalis and variegated Hostas. In a stroke of genius these shady shades were then teamed up with tall and chirpy, candy-coloured Cranesbills (below). So far I’ve not managed to identify the species – cue some suggestions please!
Along a narrow Hydrangea border, one in particular grabbed my attention and is probably my favourite plant of the whole tour. Combining an attractive leaf shape with a startling eye-liner red rim, I believe it’s likely to be the ‘Lady in Red’ hydrangea’. In which case, it can be seen blooming in all its glory in Deb’s garden
This mammoth border of Nepeta was a real buzz and reminds me once again that unless there is a large, open space for it to sprawl untidily in a lavender blue heap, any ideas of growing it should be nipped in the bud.
I’m assuming this late-blooming Aquilegia must be the long-spurred fragrant A.chrysantha ‘Yellow Queen’. Whatever its name, the purple and canary yellow make a cheery pairing, especially where pinks and reds (not sure about this addition) have been interspersed to raise the tempo. With its back to the busy border was an irresistible bench seat, where Verbascum and poppy are encouraged to grow underfoot. A timely reminder to rest and digest.
Earlier I’d lunched with a very tame pair of robins at the back of the Temple church. They arrived of their own volition but after a few trips for titbits, returned to hunt in the neat and naturalistic plantings of the adjacent Master’s garden. This compact plot showed how quite different designs can be melded together, with wide, wild borders running alongside a clipped formality.
The popularity of Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ makes it an increasingly common sight and so a potted trio of Forest grass was a clever, quirky alternative to displaying this fringed fascinator. Whether intentional or not, I saw it as a tongue in cheek, ‘ three wise monkeys’ tableau – that would be Japanese macaques of course.
Spells of sunshine and showers made the whole tour refreshingly light and magical. Open Garden Squares weekend is held in June which could, as with this year, be the wettest in a century.
©Copyright 2012 Laura Thomas.
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