Thursday, March 22, 2012

Planting out in the High Garden

Emerging leaves of Thalictrum flavum 'Illuminator' seen in the High Garden.

 On Wednesday Rachel and I moved to the High Garden to plant out a section of summer bedding. The first thing we needed to do was find a shrub to anchor the corner. We were to dig out the shrub just beyond and to the right of the yucca (an Olera of some kind) and find something else, different, new. So off to the long track of plants with Fergus in the lead. We pulled out about six different shrubs, from a compact lime green berberis, to Rosa glauca, to Kalopanax septemlobus (monotypic genus, tree aralia!), a few unknowns, and finally an old fashioned philadelphus. Which is the one we planted; Fergus liked its "twiggy-ness." Next we looked for another, smaller shrub to anchor a back corner and Fergus chose Cistus skanbergii (this Cistus looks completely amazing in flower). Then it was on to the bedding plants.

The first thing Fergus was set on was an Aquilegia 'Tequilla Sunrise' with dainty, glaucus foliage. After a great deal of going back and forth to the nursery, picking up this plant or that, looking, thinking, considering from all angles, we chose Penstemon 'Garnet' and Polemonium yezoense 'Purple Rain.' We uprooted a dark leaf Angelica 'Vicar's Mead' and transplanted them into more strategic places. Then, I planted the philadelphus and laid out all the plants. Fergus approved, tweaked a little bit, we planted, and then the last thing we did was thread Larkspur 'Azure blue' throughout the whole area, to tie it all together. 

Philadelphus planted and plants laid out...

End of the day, in the late light, the planting area is finished.

Cistus skanbergii in bud

Once we were all cleaned up, Fergus called out to come look at a little violet. He was on his hands and knees smelling this little gem. He said that we all get so distracted by all the big things that sometimes we miss the small things. He pointed to this sweet purple-pink violet, "These are the real treasures- this is what it is all about." He wants to take root cuttings and start selling this violet in the nursery. He said this was a real Dixter thing to do.


  1. So glad to see that Fergus, like you Helen is down on his knees with the smallest of flowers, loving and petting them. This must be heaven for you. Love Julie

  2. I love the T. 'Illuminator' foliage. And A. 'Tequilla Sunrise' and P.'Purple Rain.' should make a striking combination! Christopher did always take such an interest in the little gems, as I would guess he learned well from his mother. It is so good that Fergus can continue that spirit.

    Seeing as I am a CL/succession planting nut, I would like to feature your posts about your time at GD on my blog. I truly love getting such an inside look at the place, and through your eyes it is even more priceless. Would it be alright if I use one of your pictures in order to link to your post, as I have no first hand photos of GD myself? Thanks for considering it.
    Julie in PA, USA

  3. Hi Julie in PA,
    Please feel free to use my pictures! I am honored!

  4. Done:

    Thanks for letting me share with more gardeners!