As the days have shortened, and with the light fading and the coldness reaching down into the soil, layers of papery bulbs have been planted in the Lyme Regis earth.
Bulbs always bring a surprise when they flower. You know they are buried in the ground, but as they emerge and bloom you fall head over heels with their flash of colour and form. Sharing this excitement with a client and watching them become eager and passionate observers of detail and change in their garden, is a true pleasure.
In the Sitting Spiritually garden we have extended the range of bulbs to compliment the new planting with highlights and sculptural forms. We have also thought about the feel and emotion of the garden within both the new and current plantings.
We chose Narcissus Thalia, Jack Snipe and Hawera as base notes to thread and weave through the new planting, bringing a clarity from early spring which is very welcome after the dark winter months. We are really looking forward to seeing this combination of bulbs gently link the different areas of the garden, and bathe it in delicious scent. The flowers are all good for cutting, too, so even on days too miserable to be outside, they can be cut and brought into the house to be enjoyed in a favourite vase or jug.
Narcissus Thalia is a beautiful dainty flower that brings a welcome freshness to early spring days; two or three heads emerging from each greeny white bud to form simple pure white delicate petals that are slightly flared back to show off the cup. They are reliable spreaders, and we expect the groups we planted to expand into swathes of nodding white that glows above the emerging shoots of perennials and grasses.
The single flowered Narcissus Jack Snipe will add a lower level of interest with its pale yellow petals and egg yolk rich cup. This solid little daffodil will happily face the sun and shine out, despite being smaller than its neighbours. Narcissus Hawera is a favourite of ours, and we love seeing how they appear in the garden in late spring as surrounding herbaceaous planting is really getting going. Slightly taller than Thalia, they hover above, their tiny, lemon-yellow heads bobbing about as if they have so much energy, they are trying to fly away.
Away from direct sun, and left to naturalise under the Acer Ginnala and the boardwalk, we have planted Erythronium Dens Canis Purple King, or Dog’s tooth violet. The purple pink flowers with reflexed petals branching over mottled leaves will offer a subtle brightness to shady areas of the garden, slowly spreading to colonise and create soft drifts for extra spring colour.
Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ were already established through the lower beds creating a speckled, purple haze that hovered through the garden from mid May. Creeping into this planting and beyond we have introduced Allium Atropurpureum, to add a darker hue. They will link the new boardwalk planting with the established areas of the garden with a slight variation in form, not to jar the eye, but to thread through a subtle contrast.
Making a more dramatic appearance will be Allium ‘Red Mohican’ amongst the grasses in the decking terrace. Its soaring form, with tufty earth-red flowers will grow through the Molinia caerulea subsp. arundinacea ‘Karl Foerster’ like rusty baubles. The Allium seed heads remaining to accompany the grasses as they flower later in the season.
The gravel bed, with its transparent veil of planting needs a more delicate partnership. Species tulips will create patches and colonies of delicate colour weaving in between the new growth of Eryingium ‘Ebracteacum’ and Stipa barbata. Tulipa Saxatalis will create pastel ribbons of colour from the balcony above, but from the adjacent swing seat, the delicate pared petals will reach open in the sun, to reveal their stamen and egg-yellow centre within.
Next year there are plans to extend the season further with Autumn Crocus and early spring bulbs. For now, the parcels in the ground lie dormant and we all quietly wait for the bulbs to emerge and for the delight to begin.
Contact jarmanmurphy garden designers
Sarah Jarman: 07872 972259 Anna Murphy 07812 086104
See the new Sitting Spiritually Garden at our
Open Weekend 29th & 30th April 2017
Posted by Siobhan on December 13th 2016