The barn garden and shade garden in spring

1shadegardenspringA visual feast of spring for you today. Here is the shade garden and the barn garden just starting to sparkle.

Well, you could argue that the shade garden is going over as the narcissus Bridal Crown and the muscari armenicum bulbs are fading.  But the purple honesty (lunaria annua) and euphorbias are still waving the flag for outrageous colour.

And the iris are now just starting to flower.

As these two garden areas are mainly shrubs – santolinas, lavenders, viburnum tinus, cistus, rosemaries, and (some whose names have escaped me because I’m knackered and I’ve done my back) eleagnus; I need a bit of colour.1shadeendapril

This comes in the form of the bulbs – the muscari and narcissus. But also now with the flowering of the rosemary, the nepeta just coming out, the mad self sown honesty, and my favourite of all iris.

If you had to tie me up and torture me to reveal a favourite, I would probably say iris were my favourite garden plant.

1iris calabertUtterly drought tolerant; impervious to minus 18C, strong vertical leaves which will do well from now until November. And you get this ridiculous sword of colour that appears out of nowhere.

If it stayed in flower longer than about ten days I would be even happier. But it’s a complicated flower and it looks exhausting just studying it, let alone producing it.

And for me vertical leaves are what make this plant so well used in the garden.

If you have a long narrow bed, you are usually advised to try and disguise the fact with planting that emphases girth. Or clumps, or bold blocks repeated either side.1irisbarngardenrocks

I’ve gone the other way with iris. I embrace the narrow beds by running my iris in narrow lines all the way along.

It’s fun and a bit silly. But there is no getting away from the fact that these steep mountain beds are narrow and parched. So these irises perch right on the edge.

I wanted to take a different shot of these wonderful blue irises, but there are so many unwanted plants (weeds) that I need to attend and remove the worst of the weedy bits first.

I must put that job on my list.