Thursday, February 2

In a quandary

You may remember the border that I just wanted to add a focal point to, the one that in the end turned into a total dig up and change job. I posted the latest about it here

Well the time has come to consider what plants I want to order to plant it up! Hence the quandary. I want to plant it up with a blue and white theme - it's the first time I've actually restricted myself to two colours and in many ways it's a good job I have.

You may remember last year I discovered Beth Chatto Nurseries and was impressed . Well I decided to have a first look through what the nursery had to offer. I decided to search first for white flowering plants and then blue ones - and I've ended up with a list - a long list - a far too long list - both in terms of space and cost!

At the moment I have planted a couple of Helleborus Niger, Brunnera Jack Frost, Pulmonaria - Diana Clare, Omphalodes - Cherry Ingram, Lamium - White Nancy,  a tall white phlox given to me by a friend - variety unknown,  Acer Palmatum - Osakazuki, hydrangea quercifolia and Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens' (I know it's not white or blue but I thought it would look good at the base of the white bird bath and I had lots of it in the garden). In amongst the OPN I've planted some dwarf irises - Kathleen Hodgkins which I'm a bit worried about as they should be very early and there are no signs of them pushing up through the soil yet!
I have a cutting of the lamium to add to the left of the bird bath too to balance this up.

There were already a couple of bamboos planted which have been severely pruned and will need to be kept in check but for now they add a bit of height. There are also three asplenium ferns.
The choisya that we also severely pruned is shooting so it looks as though that has survived too.
You may also remember that I planted five clematis up the fence which I am desperate to see signs of life from.

Originally This border would have been classed as shady - that was until Martyn armed with pruning saw and loppers waged war on the overhanging crab apple tree and the large camellia at the far left of the border.

So that's the situation so far and now the quandary. This is my first list of candidates for planting:
Campanula glomerata 'Joan Elliott'
Epimedium x youngianum 'Niveum'
Erythronium californicum 'White Beauty' Erythronium dens-canis 'Snowflake'  
Gaura lindheimeri
Geranium clarkei 'Kashmir White'
Malva moschata f. alba
Papaver orientale 'Black and White'
Physostegia virginiana 'Summer Snow'
Pulmonaria saccharata 'Alba'
Dictamnus albus
Omphalodes verna 'Alba'
Gypsophila paninculata 'Bristol Fairy'
Brunnera macrophylla 'Betty Bowring'
Leucanthemum 'Becky'
Leucanthemum 'Snowcap' 
Thalictrum pubescens 

Malva mochata f. alba
Hesperantha f alba (schizostylus)
Geranimum sylvaticum 'Album'
Camassia leichtlinii 'Alba'

Anemone x hybrida 'Whirlwind'
Aconitum carmichaelii 'Arendsii'
Baptisia australis
Campanula glomerata 'Joan Elliott'
Catananche caerulea
Geranium 'Johnson's Blue'
Platycodon grandiflorus
Sisyrinchium idahoense
Ipheion uniflorum 'Wisley Blue' 
Omphalodes - Starry Eyes
Camassia leichtlinii 'Caerulea
Anemone nemorosa 'Robinsoniana'

So now do you see the problem? - I haven't really got down to researching the plants properly these just took my fancy initially.

Now here's where you come in. If you have any experience of any of these plants and either think they are great or not to be touched with a barge pole please tell me and maybe I can cut down the list a little - well OK (Martyn may be reading this) a lot!


  1. That's a long list, good luck whittling it down. I don't think you can go wrong with geraniums, especially Johnson's Blue, that's a nice variety.

    1. I like geraniums too Jo - the only thing is that I already have quite a few and wonder whether I should go for even more.

  2. Wow, that's alot of plants. It will be great to see it when finished. Gypsophila are lovely. I'm a fan of geranium. Have you included snowdrops? P.S. I wish i could pronounce all on the list :)

    1. I thought maybe gypsophila should be a finalist too for something frothy.

      I don't know whether the pronunciations in m head are the right ones but never mind!

  3. I really like your back wall, a nice foil for the blue and white that are sure to make a fantastic show. You are very brave though, as I would have a hard time limiting myself to blue and white. I tried it once, but ended up putting yellows in the bed, which gave it a great boost.

    1. The willow hides the neighbours fence too! I have never done a colour scheme border Bren so it will be a first. Already one of the clematis has a pink tinge though. I just hope they all come again as at the moment there is no sign

  4. Sue, as you know I am mostly a veg man, so I don't have much useful advice to offer on all that lot. My experience with white flowers extends as far as Philadelphus - which is nice, but probably too big for your requirements - and a white rose.
    I had a "Kashmir White" Geranium once, but I found it to be very frail. It was by far the least vigorous of the Geranium types I had encountered.

    1. Thanks for that, Mark Kashmir white will be the first casualty. We have a philadelphus elsewhere in the garden which has lovely double flowers. For this bed though I have the shrubs in pace that I'm going to use.

  5. I have never heard of half of those plants so I would be of no help in choosing - I find it hard enough making decisions for myself!

    1. I hadn't either, Elaine which is what I like about Beth Chattoes you can buy something new.

  6. Hey Sue, it looks like you've got lot's of great choices! I have no experience with any of the plants you mentioned so I wish you luck in sorting it out and hope it's a fun adventure! Cheers, Jenni

    1. I'll have to start looking at size, flowering time etc Jenni and no doubt that will help - I hope!

  7. Grow blueberries....or parsnips....or cauliflowers....or I'm struggling a bit now. Yes like Mark I'm obsessed with edibles. Actually the thing that grew best in my garden in London was a small Veronica called Georgia Blue, I planted many, but as thats not on your list and is my one and only experience with blue flowering plants I don't I'm being very helpful am I?

  8. One reason we took our allotment was so we could grow flowers in the garden Liz although some fruit manages to find a place too and a few salady things and of course tomatoes, peppers and that type of thing in the greenhouse.

  9. Clematis usually takes a few years to get established in my part of the world. Hang in there!

  10. Hi Rook, Good to 'meet' you. I'll just be happy if they send up some shoots this year. I think one succumbed to wilt soon after I planted it but it was planted deeply so I hope it survived!

  11. Sorry, I am not familiar with your plant list as I have not much experience in growing flowers. Hopefully you be able to decide soon.

    1. I've just found this in the spam folder Diana so sorry not to reply earlier. Hopefully I will make some sort of decision this week!

  12. Sorry Sue...really can't help. I love to garden but I don't really know anything about any of these plants you have mentioned. I am very much a 'oh that look pretty I'll buy one for my garden' type of person...then I totally forget what it is I've bought!!

    1. I've been there Tanya - before we made a note of what we had planted!

  13. That is a long, long list of beautiful plants! Personally I would start by dividing them up into seasons of interest, so that you can see which could take over from what others. For instance, erythroniums are beautiful but over quite early, so planting them in amongst geramiums which will disguise the dying foliage could work well. I'd always have several clumps of geraniums, they make fabulous ground cover and the flowers attract insects. Then I'd pick one or two accent plants, ones that perhaps don't last long but which are fabulous, such as the poppies. And don't forget to think about the foliage and how the different foliage types combine. So a ferny leaved plant with a broad leaved plant always works well. Good luck and enjoy the planning and dreaming. And watch out for that choisya, it will soon take over!!

  14. Yes the choisya has been well hacked several times, Janet.

    I do need to find time to research the plants. I did that with the front bed and it worked well. Must do it soon!


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