callmemadam (callmemadam) wrote,

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Alchemilla Rampant

I’ve spent an hour this afternoon doing nothing but slash Alchemilla mollis to the ground and barrow it off to the compost heap. And I’ve only finished one bed. In one of Graham Stuart Thomas’s books, probably Plants for Ground Cover, there’s a photograph captioned ‘Alchemilla mollis in complete control.’ That’s pretty much the idea the wretched plant has got here: it’s everywhere. In late spring and early summer the pleated leaves hold moisture magically.

The acid yellow flowers set off spring blooms and are very useful in a vase; one rose can look a picture with a frill of Lady's Mantle. By this time of year though, the flowers are turning brown, wind and rain have made the long stems flop and it’s starting to look a mess. It still looks a mess when cut down but new foliage will soon put that right. Heigh ho, at least two more sessions to finish the job.

Another thing there's far too much of: crocosmias, or montbretias as people call them. I hate them! The plant right outside the kitchen window has massive sword-like leaves, which are now as tall as I am, and eyeball-searing flowers. The flower just doesn’t merit the enormous space taken up by all that foliage, which will have to be got rid of later on. There are clumps of smaller varieties all over the garden; like everything else here, they’ve been allowed to spread wherever they like. They’re tough to dig up because it’s almost impossible to get out every last little fragment of bulb. Horrid things. I shouldn't condemn the whole species. I do like the well-behaved variety ‘Solfaterre’, which has bronzy foliage and soft apricot flowers. Pretty and no trouble at all.

So far, my plans for my new garden consist largely of listing things which I shall have to get someone else to chop down or dig up for me. Then I’ll get planting.
Tags: new garden

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