Of all the months in the garden, May is probably my favourite. The speed at which the garden changes is amazing. In just four weeks we go from the last of the daffodils, through the irises, and straight in to the peonies.
Colours are spectacular as plants compete against each other to attract the bees, and although the roses are only just beginning to bloom, there is plenty of other stuff to keep us satisfied.
Some of my readers have been kind enough to write and ask how the parterres are shaping up. You may remember that I wanted to create four parterre beds in my garden and was inundated with fantastic and generous planting suggestions. You can read all the ideas here and here.
The beds were opened up and dug over last winter, but I held off on planting until the Spring. Planting up 4 beds measuring 16 square metres each is quite a big commitment and I needed time to think and plan before reaching for a trowel. The gardeners among you will know that gardening is a game of patience and anticipation. We plant and sow for the months or even years to come. I know that for the moment the beds look a little underpopulated , but by end of June they will look better and next year they should look great.
One of the biggest questions was the borders or edges of the squares. Traditionally parterres gardens are edged in boxwood. This was an option, but it would have added a very formal feel to our rather soft-around-the-edges country garden, and I wasn’t sure we were ready for that. It would also have been a big cost, and I preferred to keep my budget this year for filling up the centres.
So while I make my mind up about the box, which I can always plant next fall, I simply propagated some Lamium from elsewhere in the garden , and I am glad to say that it is already well on its way to joining up into a soft line of variegated pale grey-green and white leaves.
The colour scheme for the parterres is white/grey/blue/ and black. Centre stage in each square I chose to plant a tall white weeping rose, the White Dorothy. I’m hoping that they will provide tall and striking interest while allowing me space to fill below.
The only plant that went into the ground last winter were the huge white alliums. They have come through well, although their leaves have been attacked by a Horrible Beast – and incidentally if anyone has the solution to that one, then I’d be interested.
I planted a lot of aromatic plants, thinking that next year when they are fully grown, the perfume in the evening will be lovely. In case you are interested, below is the list of plants that have gone into each square. I’d be happy to hear your opinion on my choices. Quantity in particular is always difficult to get right, I know I need to leave space for each plant to bush out, it is getting the balance right that can be tricky.
So far each square holds:
5 white Veronica
1 black and white ‘checkers’ oriental poppy
2 nepeta or catmint
1 White Dorothy weeping rose
2 helichrysum or curry plant
2 blue perennial geranium
I have also sown a little
‘black’ annual poppies
Gibson and Ghetto asked me to thank you again for all the precious advice you have given me about the parterres, although they did add that now the planting was done, they’d far prefer to get out the gate and go for a walk in the forest