HUGE excitement here, as I managed to steal an hour yesterday to plant up the front garden bed!
I did what I always do in these situations (despite the proper training) and ended up with a scrawled idea on the back of an envelope. The thought process went through many incarnations, revolving initially around a hydrangea paniculata standard, with loads of ground cover beneath. In the end though, it was one sentence I kept going back to:
“Fill with sarcococca. Edge with ferns”
I knew I wanted a yew hedge, so I ordered this bare root (SO much cheaper than buying plants in pots, but you do have to wait for them to grow…it’s called gardening).
I also knew I wanted a tree, or something imposing in the middle of the bed. At the time of writing I’m still deciding on what that should be.
Ideally one would wait until one had all the plants, and then plant the largest ones first, but I couldn’t wait
So, here is a list of what I planted yesterday
6 x sarcococca confusa
8 x polystichum polyblepharum
8 x asplenium scolopendrium
7 x alchemilla mollis
If you don’t know sarcococca, it’s common name is sweet box, or christmas box, and it is an extremely hardy evergreen shrub with tiny white flowers that pump out delicious scent in the depths of winter, just when you most need a lift. It’s an absolute beauty in a front garden because you get that fabulous whiff every time you go in and out (as do your passers-by…lucky them). Someone once wrote to me and said that she couldn’t have sarcococca because her husband hated the smell. All I can say is that he must be a very special person (baffled, blinking face).
The ferns are a mixture of harts-tongue fern (the one without pinnate leaves) and Japanese lace fern or tassel fern which is a new one for me (I had ordered Polypodium vulgare but these turned up instead…(and now you understand the level of my impatience!)
Alchemilla mollis is Lady’s Mantle - an oh-so-pretty perennial that holds magical droplets of rain in its leaves and shoots out acid green flowers.
I put the sarcococca in first - they are small plants so they look a bit lonely but they need space to grow; that’s gardening. Then I edged the whole bed with a repeating line of my top ferns and alchemilla. I love the textured finish it gives, and because I planted them pretty close together, it looks gloriously ‘finished’ which is always satisfying.
Once the hedge and my centrepiece are in, I’ll be doing a big bulb-planting session here, to give me something for the gaps in the spring time.