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and the rain came down...


By janne


After a lovely Thursday it poured on Friday, then Saturday was bright and sunny again so I donned my wellies, grabbed my trowel and headed for the patio. Time to empty out the veg and finish planting the tubs with pansies, wallflowers, bellis, cyclamen and bulbs.

Four hours later the patio looks much tidier and the tubs are mostly planted and ready for todays rain. The forecast says up to 50mm this afternoon, but as we seem to be in a bit of an odd weather place I’ll wait and see. At the moment it’s just squiffy showers; enough to make you wet but not enough to deter you from doing odd jobs outside. I’ve cut back the lavender, trimmed the espallier apples, weeded some of the side garden and contemplated what else to plant.

The year before last year I bought tulips and wallflowers and colour themed sections of the garden. well at least I thought I did! The burnt orange and plum/brown Abu Hassan tulips were to be paired with fiery wallflowers and the elegant orange Ballerina tulips with lime green Euphorbias. Queen of the Night, stunning dark crimson Jan Reus and the soft violet – purple of Violet Beauty were to sit amongst alchemilla mollis. Then there were the subtle shades of pink tulips set in a bed of their own with masses of forget-me-nots setting them off to perfection.

That was the plan and so I ordered, planned and planted and lo and behold what a glorious display … almost. There were some intruders, cuckoos, in my planned colourfest. Amongst the shimmering shades of pink popped up the odd red tulip and an occasional yellow one. They couldn’t stay so I cut the flowers for the vase and pulled the bulbs up. And the orange tones were superb and a veritable show of blazing colours, except for the occasional magenta tulip that just had to spoil the effect.

Although I don’t mind plants seeding in odd places and have learned over the years to allow the plants some leeway, this just offended my sense of harmony and out they had to come as well.

So last year I decided to be a whole lot more relaxed about the colour scheme and planted a mixture of colours and species in their place. The result? An absolutely divine show of colour with a wide palette of shades which all blended harmoniously.

My conclusion? Not to be so anal about colour and be more adventurous in future. what do you think? Are you a colour coded gardener or a free spirit when it comes to planting your flowers?

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I've yet to get to the stage of planting up bulbs but I think I'm a fence sitter on this one. I like both give me land, lots of land.....(almost felt a song coming on If I could I think I'd try both methods, given the space!

I very much liked your idea to plant subtle shades of pink tulips amongst a sea of forget-me-nots...forms a lovely picture in my mind :)

And...adventurous is good, Janne. :)

3 Oct, 2010


My problem is I am a portrait painter and colour is my obsession. I planted some colour coordinated plants in a pot on my doorstep. The combination looked great until the Pelargonium, which I had planted as a plug, bloomed.
The pinks had been purple pinks that looked great with the blues etc, then this orange red appeared unexpectedly. It drives me potty every time I go in and out the door. Next year it will have different bedfellows.

3 Oct, 2010


I`m a bit of both, I like to coordinate my baskets and pots but not really my garden, it really annoys me if I`ve planted something big in front of the smaller ones so I will move things around carefully but I don`t mind a mix of colours, one thing I refuse to have here is stripes in my lawn and flowers on parade, mind you we are all different......

3 Oct, 2010

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