It’s all about the greens at this time of year. Spring greens are the most wonderful sight to behold. There is colour in the garden but that is mainly provided by the spring bulbs, the last of the daffodils and the colourful array of tulips. Pink Honesty and Lamprocapnos (Bleeding Heart) are also rather showy but what catches my breath is the new growth of perennials and trees.
Spring greens are so verdant and life affirming. It is easy to think that a garden is all about the colour and, of course, colour is gorgeous but the backbone of any garden is the greenery. Long before, and long after those beautiful colours have had their day, the greens will continue to give your garden interest and life.
As I have said in previous blogs I am very lucky to have a borrowed landscape of trees in gardens either side. The dark but beautifully brooding Cedar of Lebanon always there come summer or winter pointing its dramatic dark fingers, even if, last year, it’s elegant crown was rather brutally cut. The early yellow leaves, that turn pale fluttery green, of the Robinia to the left which casts such a delightful dappled shade over the garden on a hot summer’s day. In my own garden the strange spiky, Mediterranean-feeling Cordyline which has mid-green sword-shaped leaves below which is the fan-shaped Acer, spreading elegantly which at this time of year turns in quick succession from lime tinged with pink new growth to mid green followed now with bright green new growth at its tips. Every day something new to admire.
If you cast your eye down, the herbaceous perennials are really bursting forth. A walk around the garden reveals Thalictrums with their ferny foliage filling the space where bare winter soil was showing just a few weeks ago. Some of them have exquisite purple-tinged leaves which reflect what the flower colour will be in a few weeks time. I have two Physocarpus in the garden. One is the purple-leaved opulifius ‘Diabolo’ all moody and bruised-looking. By contrast I also have the rather gorgeous Physocarpus ‘Dart’s Gold’. Like turning on a light, it has been brightening the more shady side of my garden for the last few weeks.
The grey green foliage of Stachys Byzantina that loves dry, well-drained soil has been rumbling along over winter, looking a bit sorry for itself but covering and protecting the soil from weeds and rain run off and reminding me that times will change and the garden will come back to life. In the warm weather over Easter it has put on new growth throwing up its ears and looking as perky as all get out. Just next door the pale grey/green and white variegated leaves of Iris pallida ‘Variegata’ pressages the pale lilac flowers to come.
Everywhere you look. The felty, sage-green of Phlomis Russeliana, purple-tinged swords of Iris Gerald Derby, brown-green unfurling fronds of the fern Osmunda regalis, the fresh-green strawberry-like leaves of Potentilla astrosanguinea ‘Gibson’s Scarlet’ and next door lovely clumps of similar coloured Astrantia Roma.
Every day at this time of year reveals more and new growth. I know that in about six weeks time the garden will be a riot of colour awash with bees and butterflies but for now I am content, no, happy with my unfolding tapestry of Spring greens.