The Garden Guide

Book: Colour schemes for the flower garden
Chapter: Chapter 12 Gardens of special colouring

Grey garden fowers

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Perhaps the Grey garden is seen at its best by reaching it through the orange borders. Here the eye becomes filled and saturated with the strong red and yellow colouring. D on the plan stands for Dahlia; the other plant names are written in full. This filling with the strong, rich colouring has the natural effect of making the eye eagerly desirous for the complementary colour, so that, standing by the inner Yew arch and suddenly turning to look into the Grey garden, the effect is surprisingly�quite astonishingly�luminous and refeshing. One never knew before how vividly bright Ageratum could be, or Lavender or Nepeta; even the grey-purple of Echinops appears to have more positive colour than one's expectation would assign to it. The purple of the Clematises of the Jackmani class becomes piercingly brilliant, while the grey and glaucous foliage looks strangely cool and clear. The plan shows the disposition of the plants, with grey-white edging of Cineraria maritima {Senecio cineraria}, Stachys and Santolina. There are groups of Lavender with large-flowered Clematises (C in the plan) placed so that they may be trained close to them and partly over them. There are the monumental forms of the taller Yuccas, Y. gloriosa and its variety recurva towards the far angles, and, nearer the front (marked Yucca in plan), the free-blooming Yucca filamentosa of smaller size. The flower-colouring is of purple, pink and white. Besides the Yuccas, the other white flowers are Lilium longiflorum and Lilium candidum (L C on plan), the clear white Achillea The Pearl and the grey-white clouds of Gypsophila paniculata. The pink flowers are Sutton's Godetia Double Rose, sown in place early in May, the beautiful clear pink Hollyhock Pink Beauty and the pale pink Double Soapwort. Clematis and white Everlasting Pea are planted so that they can be trained to cover the Gypsophila when its bloom is done and the seed-pods are turning brown. As soon as it loses its grey colouring the flowering tops are cut off, and the Pea and Clematis, already brought near, are trained over. When the Gypsophila is making its strong growth in May, the shoots are regulated and supported by some stiff branching spray that is stuck among it. A little later this is quite hidden, but it remains as a firm substructure when the top of the Gypsophila is cut back and the other plants are brought over. Elymus is the blue-green Lyme Grass {Leymus arenaria}, a garden form of the handsome blue-leaved grass that grows on the seaward edges of many of our sea-shore sandhills. The Soapwort next to it is the double form of Saponaria officinalis, found wild in many places. Of Ageratum two kinds are used � a brightly coloured one of the dwarf kinds for places near the front, where it tells as a close mass of colour, and the tall A. mexicanum for filling up further back in the border, where it shows as a diffuse purple cloud. The Nepeta is the good garden Catmint (N. Mussini). Its normal flowering-time is June, but it is cut half back, removing the first bloom, by the middle of the month, when it at once makes new flowering shoots.