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What plant associations are you particularly pleased with in your garden? I'm loving from back to front, smoke bush + white potentilla + dark geranium phaeum + allium purple sensation + stachys at the front. Also a massive clump of bergenia with blue hardy geranium peeping over from behind, and crocosmia behind that. Especially good because the sun comes from behind it all, so the crocosmia foliage lights up. Yum.

And what do you struggle to find a fabulous friend for? I'm struggling with some aruncus. It behaves like it wants to be right up front, but at the same time is just too big! Grr!


I have a damp, shady bed next to my terrace that is particularly pleasing at the moment - golden hakonechloa, yellow day lilies, a golden dwarf conifer with ferns unfurling, blue, green and variegated hostas, tall white primulas and an astilboides all performing now to be followed by astilbes, Japanese anemones and chelones in shades of pink and purple.   Some aquilegias and sweet rocket have self sown and it's looking stunning, all offset by a low hedge of blue toned conifer between it and the grass beyond.  In early spring there are snowdrops, dwarf daffs, shorter primulas, helleborus foetidus and snake's head frits.   Fab.

All the other beds are as weedy as the fashionable stuff seen at Chelsea - not a good look - but they'll have to wait till I am fully recovered from the neck op.  However I love the rhythm of golden and purple foliafe shrubs along the back border - golden sambucus and a purple acer, another golden sambucus witha physocarpus diabolo, a golden robinia frisia with a prunus cerastifuga to one side and a sambucus black lace to the other.  The gold is picked up by phlomis russeliana and the purple by self swon sweet rocket and verbena bonariensis and some clems.    Out the front I have a purple smoke bush and a gold/bronze conifer which glow in sunshine and even on grey days.


I can recommend sitting in the sun watching somebody else carry out your every gardening whim as a tolerable way to recover from surgery - though mine was only a knee (which I wrecked whilst... you guessed it.... GARDENING). Hope your recovery is as swift, painless and lasting as possible. 

Whats the trick with hackonowotsit Obelixx? Mine went all brown and tatty in my last garden so I eventually got the huff and composted it.  Tears all round! I'd love to try again but have been reluctant as I have no idea what went wrong before... I've always wanted golden robinia too and did have a potential opening for one having removed a laburnum (we've got two small very grubby boys now, who like to dig for bugs to feed the fish right under that spot), but this latest sickness that's apparently killing them all off scared me too much. I'm with you on the whole purple -v- gold/lime thing. Or purple -v- minty variagated if my eyes need a rest. I just wish purple foliage was easier in a largely shady garden like mine. I tell you, one day soon there's gonna be a reckoning between me and my gazillion massive hawthorns... Its starting to feel like I'm gardening in a forest.


The trick seems to be moisture.  Mine is in full sun from mid May to mid July when the sun is high enough to get over the house but the soil is moist because it's the lowest part of my garden other than the natural pond.  However it doesn't drown in winter because it's planted up against the edge of the terrace and its footings.  They seem to like fertile soil with loads of compost in it too.


Should have added that my robinia was planted before the disease was widely known.  It's turned out to be brittle in high winds so lost part of its head a few years ago but is otherwise doing fine now that I've thinned its crown.

If and when it succumbs I'll probably plant a gleditsia.


My light green hostas among purple heucheras in a semi-shaded corner look great at the moment.

I'm always envious of anyone who can grow hostas in a border. I have to keep them in isolated pots - even so, they get eaten by September, as by them nearby plants are allowing them to abseil in. I cant use slug pellets because I have 2 preschool aged children who love to poke around in the undergrowth. I'm going to have another go with Hak.... May make a purchase this weekend in fact...


I grow hostas in my borders after getting fed up of a) watering so many pots b) keeping them waterd when away and c) OH complaining about having to carry so many big pots into shelter every autumn and out again every spring.

I use the wildlife friendly slug pelllets and they're fine with birds and the dogs and the cats. Offspring old enough to know better and has no interest in the garden anyway.

Yeah, that day may never come for me - my boys are 3 and 4 and the elder has Asperger Syndrome - the relevant part of which is his habit of eating almost anything that ISN'T food! So the hostas are destined to stay in their pots. One is so huge it takes 3 of us to shift it about! Worth it tho. 

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