... but here and there blooms are beginning to add more colour to the prevailing green.
Pink and white double columbines on the right and one hot pink candelabra primrose in the foreground are complemented by white Astrantia 'Shaggy' and deep-pink Astrantia 'Ruby Wedding' further under the pear tree canopy.
On the left an unnamed blue Siberian iris is in bud. A couple of days later, it looked like this:
Not far away is another iris, this one a native of the west coast, Iris tenax. Although not as showy at first glance, it has lovely marking on the falls. It's also about half the height of the Siberian, and so can go at the front of its bed and stabilize the earth on the low slope. Behind it is an Alchemilla mollis underplanted with black violas. I bought the violas last year as an annual filler, but they have surprised me by not just surviving the winter, but spreading and blooming prolifically. The black mondo grass I interplanted among them has been completely overwhelmed.
The little flash of red at the back is 'Miller's Crimson', another candelabra primrose. This is a wet corner and I'm hoping the primroses will also spread and form a generous clump.
In the centre bed, our rusty metal urn is surrounded by purple-flowering sage and the small cream bells of Aconitum 'Ivorine'. Artemisia 'Valerie Finnis' is struggling up in the bowl of the urn, not as vigorous as I expected. I'll replace it with last year's mosquito grass as soon as the grass gets going.
The geum is an eye-catching plant and blooms for a long time. Its wiry, purplish-brown stems carry flowers of a unique brick colour, somewhere in the range between dusty pink and burnt red.
A view across the urn from the other side, looking into a very shady area, gives a different effect.
My favourite hosta, 'Krossa Regal', is on the top left; the black stems of Hydrangea nigra are at back right behind Heuchera 'Green Spice'. In the foreground, are buds of old rose 'Rosa Mundi' and a spear of dark-leafed phlox 'Starfire'.