I've always enjoyed the brief but glamorous display of an unnamed red peony that predates our arrival. I moved it a few years back into more sun and more recently planted two Ranunculus 'Flore Pleno' beside it. The contrasting forms and colours made it a winning combination in late May.
Even after the peony was spent, the little white buttons of the Ranunculus kept on sparkling well into June.
A new bulb for me this year was Allium atropurpureum, actually darker than it looks in my photo. I've planted it around Salix lapponum, whose silver foliage sets off the wine-red flowers. I like the effect enough to plan on buying more of it.
Disporum 'Night Heron' was too small and innocuous to make much of an impact last year, but this year it has grown to more than a metre. It's a subtle addition to the shady back of the garden, but the the drooping cream bells and unusual pleated leaves with their inky overtones are worth lingering to appreciate.
Anemone 'Wild Swan' goes from strength to strength. The crisp white face of the flowers brings a reminder of spring into the middle of summer, and the surprise of their lavender reverse is a nice bonus.
It seems to remain compact where it has more space and stretches readily to compete with other perennials when they crowd in around it. Here it's competing with a blue monkshood, purple Monarda 'Donnerwolke' and the dark brown leaves of self-seeding Angelica gigas 'Vicar's Mead'
Clematis 'Durandii' has never been better than this year. The buds looked like little snakeheads as they threaded their way through my oak leaf hydrangea,
... and the flower display was spectacular.
Tucked away in the shade, Roscoea cautleyoides 'Alba' has only produced a single flower stem in the several years I've had it, but it too has rewarded me this year with several of its strange, fragile flowers. It disappears so completely in winter that I have to mark its place with the top ring of a broken clay pot or I'm likely to trample it to death during early spring clean-up.
A year cannot go by without a mention of the roses. Their flowers opened early, before the end of May, and they faded quickly, but what they lacked in longevity they made up for in wealth of bloom.
|'Ghislaine de Féligonde'|
A special mention this year for Rosa 'Bill Forsyth', named by me for the man who bred it and who gave me a plant that I later passed on to Free Spirit Nursery, who gave me back a young specimen this year. It has the blue-grey foliage of its parent Rosa glauca, but a larger, more vibrant pink flower. Bill is no longer with us, but I hope his rose will keep alive the memory of a quiet, modest man whose gardening skills and knowledge were legendary among those of us who value such things.