Relocation, Relocation

Gardening is often a question of balance. Between landscaping and plants; colours and shapes. Often it takes only a very subtle change to tip that balance.

Jarring colours in the garden

Take the scene above, which had been setting my teeth on edge for days with its jarring colours, triggered by the self-seeded forget-me-not romping at the back – glorious in other parts of the garden, but here causing me to clench my teeth each time I looked upon it. Dark purple, green, gold and sky blue do not make a restful combination for me.

Snippet of border without jarring contrasts

Ten minutes with a hand-trowel, and harmony was restored. The forget-me-not was extracted, and the heucherella in the foreground moved to a new location. I had been intending to shift this heucherella for some time, but it was not until the forget-me-not tipped the balance that I was spurred into action.

Side by side before-and-after editing

An interesting demonstration of how much impact one or two plants in the wrong place can have upon the mood of the garden.

The heucherella (Stoplight), which came with us from our previous garden, and as I recall was a Malvern purchase a handful of years’ ago, is a little tricky to place in our borders, with its strong gold leaves and red veins. Particularly as meaningful shade is rather hard to come by here.

Heucherella Stoplight, Milium effusum and hostas

However, I found it a spot further along the border in front of the hostas, where partial shade does soften the glare of the sun for a few hours a day. I moved the rather dishevelled-looking golden grass with it; a Milium effusum I believe, which also accompanied us from our last garden, languishing for some years in a pot until last year when we began to reclaim this garden from the building work.

I had planted the two together in their original position, but the grass had been all but smothered by an excitable clump of Gaura, which has not only survived the winter admirably, but is even looking rather full and indeed quite becoming. The re-location of its golden-hued neighbours will also be a relief to the pink-tinged whirling butterflies of this plant in the months to come.

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10 thoughts on “Relocation, Relocation

  1. I do so agree; my difficulty is that I can’t just lift something and move it now, it would be unlikey to survive the summer witout copious watering, which I don’t want to do; so I have to wait until autumn, clenching my teeth, like you every time I look at it. Christina

    • Ah, one of the (few) advantages of our British climate. As if to back me up, the sun has just faded here and a light drizzle is blowing on the breeze. I was lucky that the heuchera and grass were quite small, I moved them with their rootball pretty much intact and they seem to have taken it well. The forget-me-not did not take so kindly to transplanting though, and flopped horribly.

  2. You have the edge on me here, Sara. I don’t think I’m that knowledgeable about what makes a good colour combination. It’s not usually so much of an issue in my veg-dominated garden! 🙂

    • I think it’s intuitive; when something doesn’t feel right, it leaps out at you – though sometimes it’s harder to define exactly what or why. But indeed, in your handsome raised beds of productive edibles, I don’t think you need to be editing anything that’s not destined for your plate!

  3. Sometimes I doubt my taste but the top planting was not too teeth grinding. There is a golden plant to the left which helped the Heucheralla – might just have added more blues as quite like that palette. Ultimately I think I would pull Stoplight out and plant in a garish pot 😉

    • I suspect the photo doesn’t convey it quite as strongly as in the flesh. The sun also toned it down a little – I should have taken a before picture when it was dull, that was when it jarred me most!
      It is a Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’ that has rather a jaunty display of pink and yellow hued foliage at the minute, there’s another one in that border too, they should tone down soon, although I don’t find conflicting foliage so vivid as flowers.
      Yes, I must say the Stoplight is one of a few plants in the garden that I could happily lose and never miss 😉 My husband likes it though, so I try not to kill it … your pot suggestion has me thinking – though not a garish one. There is only so much my eyes can take…

  4. Hmm, I don’t think my gaura has survived – which is galling. Heuchera is a difficult plant to site correctly, I think (I’d never heard of heucheralla!!). There are some quite horrible ones (imho) and I have some dark purple which don’t quite sit right in their current position – though I’m waiting (impatiently) for them to form a continuous cover. Dave

    • Boo, sorry about your gaura.

      I agree about heuchera; I have rapidly come to the conclusion that only the purple and green-leaved ones really fit happily into our relatively small garden. We have a tiny green survivor – possibly from the same batch that that heucherella sneaked into – and a small purple-leaved one that my MIL gave us as it was not doing well for her.

      Our gold-leaved plant is particularly hard to place singly of course, standing out like the proverbial thumb. But I’m not sure I would welcome a trio of them!

      Purple-leaved ground cover sounds promising in the right place.

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