Filling Out


After the recent warm weather things in the studio garden are moving so quickly now that it is hard to keep pace with developments. Everything is growing fast and furious, and new foliage competes with the next for space and light.

Although its is the business end of the garden the area by the bike racks (above) is looking particularly lovely at the moment. The Paeonia mlokosewitchii (below) have flowered for the first time. Although one is looking rather crowded out by the Euphorbia 'Roundway Titan' which will have to remedied in the near future, since it has cast our woodland corner into forest deep shade.

This far shady end of the garden is planted with three Cornus kousa 'Gloria Birkett', underplanted with Anemone, Trillium, Actaea, Epimedium, Polygonatum and ferns. Here are Epimedium membranaceum (top), Epimedium acuminatum 'Galaxy' (middle), Dryopteris wallichiana (below) and Adiantum venustum (bottom).

The Cornus are beginning to touch and arch over the seating area, where people eat their lunch or take a phone call (below top). They are also covered in quickly developing 'flowers', the petals of which are not petals at all, but bracts (below bottom). It already feels very private here.

Next to the seating area is another fairly new plant for us here, Michaelia yunnanensis 'Gail's Favourite' (below). These shrubs are closely related to Magnolia, so much so that this variety has recently been renamed Magnolia laevifolia 'Gail's Favourite', and it is like a miniature Magnolia grandiflora in all it's parts. Small, shiny, dark green leaves have a rust coloured indumentum beneath, while the perfectly formed, creamy flowers open from velvety rust red buds and are deliciously scented with a perfume redolent of vanilla and citrus almost identical to that of Magnolia wilsonii.

Meanwhile, the flower bud on the Magnolia 'Nimbus' is just showing a creamy tip. Just a hint of things to come.

When we arrive for work in the morning the garden is backlit with the easterly sun, and beneath the Cercidiphyllum two further woodlanders are lighting up the shade; The silver-leaved fern Athyrium x 'Ghost' and the twisted yellow flowers of Uvularia grandiflora.

In the shady bed closest to the studio is another fern, Osmunda regalis, the rusty unfurling foliage of which is paired with yet another Epimedium, the dainty E. myrianthum.