Garden’s Blaze with Colour in June
It is probably one of the easiest months of the year to have a garden a blaze with colour and mine is no exception. Here is my recipe for the best of this seasons colour
Firstly I have found by exercising some discipline with colour my borders feel less cluttered and have greater impact, just as the clothes rails are easier to select from when limited to a few harmonising or contrasting shades.
Almost on stage at the far end of my garden I have planted a fire of hot colours. In my mix I have included neutral but vivid 'Brookside' blue cranesbill geraniums these merge with orange annual calendulas, orange nasturtiums and a delicious clump of tall ‘Borisii’ and low growing ‘Koi’ orange geums. Waiting in the wings I have colours ready to burrn. Rudbeckia, crocosima, lime green red hot pokers, achillea ‘Walter Funcke’, ‘Paprika’, ‘Terracotta’ and good old ‘Cloth of Gold’, anthemis yellow daisies blend with frothy swathes of stipia grasses and red fennel. Speckles of while Leucanthemum ‘Victorian Secret’ (dwarf white daisies) and centanthus alba provide highlights. All borders need highlights without them the rich low lights look flat.
In the heart of my garden a twinkling of clarkei 'Kashmir White' geraniums highlight against dark copper beach. I cannot praise these plants enough for thriving in my winter waterlogged and shady summer baked bed. When the white geraniums fade I am hoping the small late summer flowers of my new white almond scented clematis flammula will entwine the dark beech. White against purple foliage is simply serene.
I have restricted all pink tones to the opposite end of my garden away from the yellows and orange, so they do not grate with one another. A back drop of David Austin‘Munstead Red’ and 'Queen Ann' rose, in a soft powder pink just opening gently harmonise with lavenders, astrantia, nepeta and Centranthus ruber. Large clumps of magenta pink Geranium psilostemons fill the gaps and hold it all together. To flower later or for pudding I have stachis, asters, anemone and sedums and I shall enjoy these in late summer.
I love to include blue salvias in my mixed borders × sylvestris 'Mainacht' always seems to do well. I am eagerly trying a new Salvia 'Armistad' It is reputed to flower from May until November. Its purply blue with much larger longer flowers and tall at 1m this should make it very bold. I think it will perform well. I have chosen to edge this new pink toned border with my new friend lamium 'Beacon Silver' (mauve flowers) and Geranium rivers 'Mavis Simson'( 50x50cm). I feel the silvery tones will add a highlight to the border. Often planting schemes lack the pause or breath white and silver bring.
Cranesbill geraniums make a good backbone of colour and merge so easily into most borders. Once the Brookside has finished I am hoping the blue Rozanne geraniums that I have planted in waves throughout will create a sea of blue for the rest of the summer. If you find the RHS plant of the centenary Rozanne sprawls a bit too much for your space you may prefer the similar 'Azure Rush'.This forms a neater mound making it also suitable for containers. Similarly it has beautiful blue flowers all summer. 'Blue Sunrise' 30x30cm does not spread quite as much as Rozanne but it combines striking yellow foliage and blue flowers. I found it blends in well between my Marmalade Heucheras, which edge my rusty boarder and provide a break from the limey foam of alchemillia mollis.
Blue is such a valuable colour and works successfully in so many planting schemes because it is neutral. I am drawn to look for blue and plant it almost wherever possible. Lavender and nepeta seem to effortly work anywhere almost. Blue blends into my hot borders and my soft borders. The ceratostigima is my secret blue at the end of summer (less thugish invasive varieties do exist) and the silvery caryopteris shrub hidden away now is waiting in the wings. Ceanothus remains irresistible. Tall steely blue thistle like sea hollies, eryngiums are a great additions to mixed borders but the silvery variegated foliage combined with blue flower heads on the eryngium 'Jade Frost' makes it a 'must have!'
Cranesbill geraniums I would vote as the most useful plants in my garden. They fill the holes, provide so much colour and there appears to be one to suit every location. Planting colours that harmonise together or contrast well l find make the garden more inviting. Lastly silver is my secrete ally. When a border looks over complicated or even under planted, often a little bit of silver or white makes it complete.