THE FRONT GARDEN

Planting 3

Warm colour for a warm corner

 

1 Melissa officinalis 'Aurea' (golden balm) 2 Chelidonium maius 'Laciniata , 3 Hemerocallis lilio-asphodelus (day lily) 4 Lilium tigrinum (tiger lily) 5 Iris 'Scintilla , 6 Artemisia 'Powys Castle' 7 Meconopsis cambrica (Welsh poppy) 8 Rosa eglanteria (eglantine) 9 Hedera helix 'Aurea Angulata' (common ivy) 10 Potentilla argyrophylla 'Atrosanguinea' 11 Iris pale cream form 12 Aquilegia 'Nora Barlow'

Two seasons before this photograph was taken, in June, this tiny, sunny front garden was baldly flagged with stone. The flags were needed somewhere else, so the newly cleared ground was filled with plants chosen for a quick effect, as we didn't have time to do much else to it. The earth has now disappeared beneath the plants shown here, as well as euphorbia, eglantine, and double Scots rose.

Developments and the seasons In early spring, aconites and pale yellow crocuses (such as the dwarf species Crocus susianus or cloth-of-gold crocus, which is heavily honey-scented) are in flower in this bed, and in late summer there are various late-flowering yellow day lilies, and tiger lilies. For September, you could add Anthemis tinctoria varieties along with lnula hookeri and a scatteri~g of white Anemone hupehensis.

Site This planting succeeds on poor soil and in the partial shade of stone walls. It is a windy site: the yellow iris is occasionally blown over. It could be reproduced in any not too shady, not too damp, area.

Maintenance and cost Almost everything here is cheap, even free, if you have friends with seed. The only rare thing is the chelidonium, although even that is becoming easier to find. In the shadow is a yellow Scots rose (Rosa spinosissima) and the delectable 'Bowles Golden' grass (a variety of Milium effusum) - both of which could be omitted.

Substitutions Everything here is easy to get hold of, except perhaps the bearded iris 'Scintilla', but a good substitute .would be 'Blue Denim' (altering the colour balance a little), or 'Green Spot'. The artemisia could be replaced by another variety such as 'Valerie Finnis', or even the herbaceous Artemisia ludoviciana - but the shrubby species are just as easy to maintain. The ivy 'Goldheart' would do instead of the 'Aurea Angulata', but is less subtly colourful. The oak-leaved variant of the chelidonium, though less good than this one, is pretty too, with larger, simpler flowers.

Props and additions Out of the picture are more yellow roses: the marvellous shrub rose 'Cantabrigensis', adrift with soft yellow flowers in early July, and with red lacquer hips in September. More easily available yellow roses which could be used are 'Mermaid' or 'Golden Showers', both climbers. Tubs and pots of Lilium longiflorum, the Easter lily (easily grown from seed), or a mixture of Bidens ferulaefolius and Helichrysum petiolatum would also work well. The Argyranthemum frutescens, or Paris daisy, called 'Jamaica Primrose' would be good, though the closely related A. arguta, with its blue-green leaves, would be better still.

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