Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Green flowers and other garden gems

April is a time when, instead of dramatic swathes of tall perennials, there are many beautiful little gems growing in the borders. It's a time for squatting down and looking closely at small plants, admiring their delicate form and colour. I love the curious green 'flowers' of Hacquetia epipactus, a plant that makes a neat clump with yellow flowers amongst lime-green bracts, endearing and unusual. It is grown in our West Wall border, facing east and cool in summer, with leaf mould and moisture.

Nearby companions are the lovely baby-pink, double primrose, 'Sue Jervis', a particular favourite of mine, the shapely bells of Fritillaria pyrenaica which is in bud right now and the serene purity of the extra double flowers of bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis 'Flore Pleno'.
This very beautiful plant has dark red twiggy looking rhizomes and you have to be careful to note where they are in winter so as not to dig them up. Flowers emerge before leaves but these too are attractive, having pretty, scalloped edges and a rather glaucous shade of green. A Japanese wineberry arches over these plants, held back against the wall, its bare stems covered in tiny, red prickles, lovely when the sun shines through them. Later in the season we eat its small, red fruits which are delicious with ice-cream!

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