Monday, 11 January 2010

Herbaceous perennials in Winter

Metallic shades of ghosts of plants in the low winter sun.
Echinacea, copper in foreground
Perovskia 'Blue Spire' irridescent white like magnesium in upright bunch far left (great blue flower spikes in summer)
Eryngium giganteum 'Miss Willmott's Ghost' spiky silver to the right
Phlomis bronze button seedheads, back left
Spun gold of dried grass (battered Calamagrostis?), back right
Piet Oudolf borders at RHS Wisley.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Winter Seedheads

There is plenty of interest in the predominantly herbaceous planting around the Millennium glasshouse at the Royal Horticultural Society's grounds at Wisley, Surrey, UK.  January 2nd  was cold and clear, the sky amazing. So, with a kid's eye view I took these views of seed heads. There is not an over-abundance of plant labels, which is ok.  (l-r)
Miscanthus sinensis  'Yakushima Dwarf' (probably)
Cynara cardunculus (globe artichoke, not sure if this is a varietal form)
Eryngium (not giganteum, because too tall -c. 2m - and basal rosette still quite green and fleshy)
These herbaceous perennials give good architectural form from mid-summer on.  They remain most attractive features in mid-winter.  Can't wait to use them in planting schemes!

Form and texture - winter update

Here are the same plantings in winter.  I like the way the Stipa plants have rhythm in the breeze.  You can see the dried Achillea heads.  The Eremurus have long been taken in, no doubt.The shape of the oaks is so pleasing. Later, in the winter dusk, the silhouettes of boundary oaks at the Wisley site gave such a show with the gradated pink sky behind them.  This was far more affecting than the staged 'Lumiere' lighting display put on to attract visitors.
The Hakonechloa has dried robustly, whispering, and the leaves in the beech (hornbeam?) columns rattle.  This view evidences the rhythm of the planting. I am still mystified by the choice of Sarcocca patches (see the dip in the grass).  The plants look very healthy ( I had wondered about the full sun location in the summer) but the combination of the bottle green foliage colour next to the coppery grass didn't feel so good.