I was going to post the above photo to illustrate a riff on the color palette mentioned previously -this time with the bronze leaves of the Wiegela ("Wine and Roses") and sharp lemon leaves of the Spirea complementing the Wiegela's own magenta hued flowers and the newly purchased dark, dark purple flowers of the Aquiliega 'Black Barlow'. On a random google of "Black Barlow" I came across the site Chocolate Flower Farm to find surprisingly that many of the plants already chosen for the cottage beds fall into the grouping of "chocolate" or dark flowers which this resource specialises in. Plants on their list that are in the beds already are Euphorbia Bonfire, Heuchera Obsidian, and a similar Physocarpus. I might have to put an order in for their Campanula Punctata 'Plum Wine' and the Chocolate Sweet William looks pretty tasty too.
Over on the other side of the house, an army of Hostas circles a cool green patch. The Hostas and the topiary elements are original to the property. I cut a handful of the Hosta leaves to bring home with me- they look so cool and refreshing in a clear glass vase.
Without fail, every year the False Indigo or Baptisia Australis returns and puts on a spectacular show at around this time. Its commanding size and gorgeous spikes of indigo flowers are really a show stopper going head to head with the peony thats right next to it (which will take its turn in the spotlight very shortly). I discovered this plant years ago when I put one into the flower border at the summer house in Westerly and discovered its tenacity which of course is largely due to it being a native plant, and particularly suited to its environment.
There is a certain color palette that's distinguishing itself as a running favorite. Although the range is broader and does include reds, purples and a little white- this scheme as depicted in the photo above bronzed leaves of the euphorbia, the sharp limes/yellows of the creeping Jenny, blue green sedum, dark wine wiegela in the background and a corally orange fuschia - emerging as a favorite. Compare this new spring compostion with a capture from another bed at the end last fall. The palette is a nod towards one I've seen before magnificently rendered in the cottage gardens at Sissinghurst, where this view of the cottage reminds me a little of the porched entrance to the barn here. No surprise then to see that same color palette seeping into the pages here.
The Occasional Gardener stirs from hiatus with a feverish bout of double digging- the digital kind, not to mention a little transplanting. The site established last year has been redirected here. I laid the aesthetic groundwork there while trying out a few different ideas and have now fine tuned it to what you see here. The reason for the transplant largely being that it was just easier to start fresh with the new blogger setup and with a slightly new 3 column template. The double digging is a realisation of an idea I had pretty much from the beginning which was to have an extension of the idea of gardening as a way of connecting with nature to one where the subject is broader and more about the pursuit of integrating nature into a modern urban lifestyle. The idea suggested itself on reading The Occasional Garden by H H Munro where there is mention of The Occasional Oasis Supply Association. It seems perfectly apt that this be the name not only of a journal of images that provide temporary visual sanctuary but that it also be the home of a creative enterprise where the Occasional Gardener intends to suggest books, develop artwork and products intended to bring balance and Occasional Oasis into the chaos of our modern urban lifestyle.