The Garden Guide

Book: Colour schemes for the flower garden
Chapter: Chapter 1 A march study and the border of early bulbs

Dry wall gardening

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Now we come to the lawn, which slopes a little downward to the north. On the right it has a low retaining-wall, whose top line is level; it bears up a border and pathway next the house's western face. The border and wall are all of a piece, for it is a dry wall partly planted with the same shrubby and half-shrubby things that are in the earth above. They have been comforting to look at all the winter; a pleasant grey coating of Phlomis, Lavender, Rosemary, Cistus, and Santolina; and at the end and angle where the wall is highest, a mass of Pyrus japonica {Chaenomeles speceosa}, planted both above and below, already showing its rose-red bloom. At one point at the foot of the wall is a strong tuft of Iris stylosa {Iris unguicularis} whose first blooms appeared in November. This capital plant flowers bravely all through the winter in any intervals of open weather. It likes a sunny place against a wall in poor soil. If it is planted in better ground the leaves grow very tall and it gives but little bloom.