Monday, July 11

Well it's sort of a statue

I've spent lots and lots time searching for the right sort of statue to create a focal point in one of the borders viewed from our patio window. I searched garden centres and the web and just couldn’t find one that would look right in our garden.I mentioned in an earlier post that we had seen a bird bath that we liked in a local garden centre; that post was back on June 13. 

A bird bath or a sundial seemed more us somehow but there would be no point having a sundial in a shady spot so a bird bath it would be. Since then we have been umming and arring. Would the bird bath fit in the car or should we have it delivered? Was it really what we wanted? Could we find it cheaper on the internet?

Well  all the prevaricating has paid off! The garden centre where we saw the object of our desires runs a membership scheme. For a £10 yearly subscription we are entitled to 10% discount off anything we buy. We also get a couple of free drinks each month and a free meal every three months. Just taking advantage of the free drinks and meals we easily recoup the £10 membership so have been members now for a year or two.

Anyway to get to the point - just as we decided that we could transport the bird bath in the car and were planning to go buy it we received an email saying that for three days the garden centre were giving 20% discount to members on everything purchased; so you see the umming and arring worked to our advantage!

We now have our focal point but as I mentioned in my earlier post this border is now being completely renovated. Most of the planting except a couple of bamboos has been completely removed and the two bamboos have been pruned severely leaving only about half a dozen canes to each plant. This left us with a fairly blank canvas. As usual with us our plans have snowballed.

So what to plant?
We had always fancied the idea of planting an acer but had never really had a position available where we thought it would be happy. Then recently on a gardening programme - it could have been the coverage of the Chelsea flower show - they mentioned that green leaved acers would grow in a shady situation. That was enough to send us off to a local nursery where we found a couple of acers that we liked which seemed likely candidates. We decided to go ask for advice on which of the two varieties would be happiest in a shady position which was easier said than done. As is usual, for acers, both had unfamiliar Japanese names which we needed to be able to quote in order to ask for a recommendation. (We could have done with Fer’s help at this point!) We each tried to  memorise one of the two names and headed to the shop. After all that effort, advice was that either should be OK. We chose the one we liked best - Acer Palmatum - Osakazuki.

Earlier in the year I’d bought some perennial plants which were going to be planted around the base of the ‘statue’. (Hellebore Niger, Brunnera - Jack Frost, Pulmonaria - Diana Clare, Omphalodes - Cherry Ingram and Lamium - White Nancy). These have been planted out in temporary positions so they don’t become pot-bound whilst waiting for us  - well Martyn - to cut back more tree branches and decide which other plants we want to grow.
Two plants that survived the big clear-out were an Asplenium fern and a black leaved Ophiopogon these will stay although may be moved.
Elsewhere in the garden I have two more Aspleniums, a carpeting astilbe and a small tiarella that I am thinking of moving to join them. 

On the TV coverage of the Hampton Flower Show they implied that a white flowered hydrangea would do well in shade - can anyone confirm this?

I’m thinking of planting some shade tolerant clematis up the screen around the border, as the removal the large fatsia and most of the bamboo canes that dominated the border has left the screen totally exposed. The clematis will need to be pale colours so the flowers will hopefully light up the area. Varieties being considered are Andromeda, Dawn, Fuji-musume, White Moth or Alpina Willy. I can maybe fit in three plants (more decisions) maybe a blue flowered variety behind the bird bath for a bit of contrast.

I'm mainly going for a white and blue theme to lift the shade. Any other suggestions?

And now for something completely unrelated!
Can you say what connects these two photos?


  1. I am not familiar with plants that love shade. This part of your garden really look so different in winter and summer now. Everything so green and pretty! Like the birdbath.

  2. I love the bird bath, and yes, with your love of birds I think it's very you. Your border will look gorgeous with all the new plants in situ and I think a blue clematis will look lovely behind the bird bath. As for the last two photos, they're both ragged robins, poor thing, he looks like he's been dragged through a hedge backwards.

  3. The bird-bath looks ideal - simple but stylish. Much nicer than a staute I would say. And the connection between the bird and the flower is definitely "robin" - though they both look pretty ragged!

  4. Everything in the garden looks so different in winter and summer Diana - I'm not really surprised that you don't have many shade plants - I guess you don't have much shade!

    Absolutely correct, Jo. This is one of the three young robins that we have seen in the garden. This one is just getting its adult plumage and a red breast. When you look at it from the back it's tail and wings feathers have changed first.

    Right, Mark ragged robins - we thought the bird bath was a nicer idea too.

  5. Well your garden is certainly coming along nicely...I love reading all about what you have plans to do. I had no idea on the connection on the photos so was Happy that Jo knew the learn something new every day!!

  6. The problem is that in the garden we have lots of things in demolition mode, Tanya as the plans all sort of interlink.

  7. Love the birdbath - simple but effective. And a bargain too! Love the ferns etc. The oak leaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) does well in shade, and has lovely white flowers. Phlox David and anemonella thalictroides are shade-tolerant plants I have put on my wishlist thanks to various bloggers, assuming it isn't full, no hint of sun shade. Campanula persicifolia has lovely pale purple flowers and would cope too. Have fun!

  8. Coincidentally, Janet I have asked our local nursery if they can get me a hydrangea quercifolia just this morning. Fingers crossed!

    Some sun does get through so it's not really full shade especially before the tree is in full leaf. Thanks for the other suggestions which of them won't put up with any hint of sun?

  9. Hi Sue, sorry, put it badly, I meant that if there was a little sun even if just late in the day all those would be happy, but if it was total shade, I'm not sure the phlox would cope. Good luck with the hydrangea!

  10. You didn't put it badly Janet - I just didn't read carefully enough - when I reread it all was clear!


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