Under my kitchen window I’ve a modest little patch of garden border. Just over two years ago I removed an old Potentilla bush which had been a great football proof plant for many years! Just moving one large shrub gave me the inspiration to totally change this part of the garden. I first of all replanted with Rudbeckia and Verbenas and Anthemis … to name a few. Then in late April 2013 a new path was created and two of the three blue arches that were rotting were removed.
So now I have two ‘long borders’ viewed from my kitchen window and I want to bring a little bit of Great Dixter into my ‘Mini Dixter’ border…
|Mini Dixter at Leavesnbloom and new naturalism could come to this garden soon!|
The Appeal of The Umbels
I love to photograph umbels!
Bronze Fennel | Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’ is already growing in this part of the garden and hopefully next year it will be mature enough to flower during the summer months.
But I want also some earlier flowering umbels in this part of the garden.
The lacy biennial Cow Parsley/Anthriscus sylvestris was very popular at the Chelsea Garden Show this year. It’s a favourite at Great Dixter and Fergus has been selectively propagating his choice plants from the darker leafed seedlings.
|New Naturalism – Anthriscus sylvestris ‘Ravenswing’|
I’ve been seriously thinking about purchasing a few of the darker stemmed Anthriscus sylvestris ‘Ravenswing’ plug plants too as I love dark foliage in the garden. A friend grows this and told me not to purchase the seeds as many of them would not have the darker foliage that I’m looking for.
The white form is much too wild for my garden. It covers the countryside all around our locality with it’s masses of white frothy flowers in early summer.
|Anthriscus sylvestris growing wild in Perthshire|
If I want white frothy flowers then the other seed I’ve been thinking of growing is the annual Ammi majus. It looks very similar to Cow Parsley and it’s great for floating amongst summer perennials and as a cut flower. For the past two years I’ve been meaning to grow this plant and after seeing it this summer I just have to make a little room for it in 2014.
It’s another favourite at Great Dixter and if you click on the Great Dixter blog post – Staking and Hurdles you’ll see how Fergus grows it with tall red poppies.
|Ammi majus (wiki commons)|
The other umbel I’ve been considering is Chaeroplyllum hirsutum ‘Roseum’ | Hairy Chervil. Chaeroplyllum grows wild in parts of Perthshire but seems to be much more restrained than the white Cow Parsley.
|New Naturalism – Chaeroplyllum hirsutum ‘Roseum’|
What I like about this plant is that it’s a hardy perennial and the cow parsley like flowers blush in hues of soft pink. I’m not so sure if this is even grown at Great Dixter but it is grown at Harlow Carr.
Growing Vegetables For Their Flowers
This new naturalism even extends to growing vegetables for flowers and foliage. That’s certainly nothing new at Great Dixter as the Late Christopher Lloyd was my inspiration for that. He used to grow Ruby Chard as an ornamental foliage plant in the borders along with parsley in between French marigolds and Verbena ‘Purple Homestead’ in planted containers.
This summer I grew the dark leafted Lollo Rosso lettuce as an ornamental foliage plant as well as picking some of the leaves for salads.
|Lollo Rosso lettuce in a planted container with Cornus ‘Baton Rouge‘ and sedum|
While in the spring I let the Black Kale flower amongst the alliums. The yellow flowers are such a lure for the early pollinators.
|Black Kale flowers May 2013|
I only move the kale seedlings into their final planting position when they are big enough to resist the slugs and snails.
Fergus also grows Parsnips | Pastinaca sativa for their yellow umbel flowers at Great Dixter. They are yet another flower that the bees adore.
|New Naturalism – Yellow umbel Parsnip flowers | Pastinaca sativa|
Mark and Gaz
Bucket list…absolutely full but deliberately not looking at it at the moment as so much going on here at the moment.
Fergus is doing an incredible job at great dexter and his risky use of cow parsley is successful and has paid dividends. And lately this naturalism has been in vogue in flower shows, but for how long before the next big thing overtakes it? A little naturalism does look good and a delight to look at 🙂
Naturalism is about all we manage to do here…
May have to start a bucket list and stop relying on free plants when a few trees come down this winter after they became to large for the garden…
Cow parsley already grows with abandon in the wilder parts of the garden and I have to pull it up as it seeds so freely. I love the Ravenswing form though, and can see what a good bridge it would make between that part of the garden and the more formal. I've only made it as far as the nursery at Great Dixter. The garden was shut on the day we were there – just had to make some purchases in recompense!
Do you consider these plants naturalistic because they are natives to the area?
I love the lacy flowers and the delicate leaves. I am amazed that you start such beautiful plants from seed. I should be that brave.
I'm not sure what I think about the label "New Naturalism" but I do love the look – and umbels. I grew Ammi majus this year because I knew I wouldn't have flowers from fennel or anthriscus sylvestris, and I have been wondering about Chaeroplyllum hirsutum 'Roseum' too, I'm just not entirely sure about the pink, not for where I have in mind, I think it needs to be white. Any which way I will nejoy watching you experiment with your mini Dixteresque borders, and will ready myself to pinch idea!!
I have so many plants that I enjoy in my gardens that I have to refrain myself from allowing some that want to take over the space that other's enjoy. Would love to have room for more. Your images are always dreamy and entice me to want to give in.
HiMark and Gaz I can just imagine that home decor and design is more your thing these days. I know for some it was quite a shock to see 'wild flowers' at Chelsea this year. GYO was and still is very popular – not so sure that the new naturalism will become as popular.
HiColine sometimes that's the easiest thing to do. The wildlife thrive too.
Hirusty duck I'd have been devastated to find the garden closed but like you I would have headed straight for the shop 🙂
Higreggo some I've mentioned are natives here and planted in an area in the garden would give a naturalistic look to it within 2 yrs. A few like the ammi majus I've mentioned are annuals so will flower in yr 1 unlike the natives that would take until yr 2 to flower.
HiannI've been daring before in the garden but I will have to remember to not let them go to seed!
Hi Janet/PlantalisciousI borrowed that term from Fergus. 🙂 I wouldn't be growing the Chaer. roseum in that corner of the garden either as pink wouldn't suit the rest of my colour scheme for May. I'd probably have it in the corner opposite with it's pink frothiness grown in contrast to the upright flowering stems from the Persicaria and candelabra primroses.
Hi Carolyn ♥ and thank you :). My big problem is the soil – it's so wet and heavy and I've lost so many choice plants in the past. Cow parsley can cope with conditions like that including it's darker leafed cousin … and I love dark foliage flowering plants too 🙂
Melanie J Watts
My whole garden is natural, well mostly. I do grow a few cultivated plants , including veg although I'm planting all the perennial vegetables that are hardy up here. every year I let most things go to seed radishes, lettuce, arugula and any biennials like parsley that are still in the ground. I must grow parsnips next year their flowers look lovely, I'm sure they taste good too:)
I couldn't imagine what a parsley flower would even looked like! I'm sure parsnips would do well in your colder regions of Canada.
Rosemoor in Devon just because it's not too far from where my mum lives, but then it's never the right time of year when I go to England!
I absolutely love that purple cow parsley and I really ought to think about letting some parsnips flower; my problem being is that the spuds need to go in that space the following year, so I'd have to sow a few seeds in a different part of the veg patch where there was room for them to flower the following year. Hmmmm! Thanks for making me think! Love the post Rosie. 🙂
Oh parsley flowers are really, really tiny and insignificant but I left two plants to go to seed in a patch that I dedicated to annuals for pollinators. They were really popular with tiny pollinators and now that I've taken one out, I've got a complete swathe of tiny parsley seedlings coming up! I wouldn't recommend it for a small garden as they take up a huge amount of space when flowering, and are not very attractive.
Hi Millymollymandy I'd love to try the parsley just to see what little insects I could entice to feed from it 🙂