In a small garden you need to carefully choose a number of theme plants that you can use in sufficient quantities to have a bold impact and which, each in their turn, play a role in a sequence stretching from spring through summer, autumn and on into winter.
I have been exploring my ideas for theme plants in my perennial meadow garden in a series of earlier posts and will continue to point out the star performers as this year progresses.
It is June and roses have to be considered. Over the years I have tried many, but steadily the bushes have tended to disappear from my borders while the climbers have stayed and seem to work well. Roses that tower above the perennials give height and seasonal spectacle. Ramblers that flower once in early summer are worth considering where there is room to grow them.
Currently I only grow repeat flowering climbers which are admittedly a lot of work to keep looking tidy, but reward me with a spectacular start to summer and continue to delight with flushes of flower right on through to the start of winter. I grow them on pillars and arches which proved to be inadequate for supporting the more vigorous growing ramblers which in truth are my real favourites.
While geraniums, Alchemilla mollis and blue flowering mints fill in the ground layer, towering lupins, the similar looking Baptisias, and foxgloves all are capable of bringing spiky drama to early summer. Shortly they will be joined by the flower spikes of veronicas, veronicastrums and many cool season grasses, but these will be the topics of my next blog posting as the next theme in my garden’s time line.