May 19th, 2006


Feeling green

A combination of wind, rain and antibiotics has kept me out of the garden and stopped me planting the vegetables. Never mind, everything is looking green.

A couple of weeks ago I cut all the old brown fronds off this lovely Shield Fern Polystichum setiferum so as to enjoy watching the new ones unfurl. As it's right by the back door, under the tap, I never miss anything.

Here is a logpile, beloved of ecologists and no doubt seething with life. The fern has seeded itself and I'm wondering if I could dig up a root of Solomon's Seal and persuade it to grow here, as I think it would look rather well.

I'm not keen on too much variegated foliage in a garden but this one is jolly

Astrantia major 'Sunningdale Variegated'. I wonder if Linda Snell has planted it at Ambridge Hall? Another very good variegated plant is Lysimachia punctata 'Alexander's'. The early foliage looks like this

and it keeps its variegation all summer. It's just the old Yellow Loosestrife with pretty leaves. Some people think loosestrife rather weedy but I like it because it clumps up so well and also because it reminds me of childhood gardens, when everybody had it. Like all Lysimachias it hates to be dry, so I've moved some to a damper spot. These old fashioned plants are tough and they don't come much tougher than this Centaurea:

Someone once said to me that she thought this plant must be in every garden in Dorset. It is the ultimate survivor. I'll end on a green note with another fern which has decided for itself where to live.