The garden is bounded by fences and hedges, but within, there are a couple of noteworthy walls, the main one being the patio wall that separates the upper terrace from the lower. It was completely covered with rampant ivy when we first encountered it and only after a great deal of pulling out (with pliers) was the stone revealed. In the power vacuum, Cymbalaria Muralis made a gradual take-over bid that was stopped short when it received the full glare of my attention. Free of ivy and other creepers the stone could air, wash, rinse and dry in the elements. It also allowed the inherited Aubretia to thrive.
These spring waterfalls of purple are such a glorious sight that we have since added to their number and more are dotted about this wall and others. We didn’t find Aubretia easy to grow from seed so the survivors are all the more treasured. Keeping the Aubretia company is the delightful Candytuft, Iberis Sempervirens, that likes to flow in graceful cascades of white, flowering with the Aubretia.
While the patio wall and several of the plants within were inherited, a new addition are the two walls that form two sides of the corner border. The stones were kindly donated by a neighbour, though delivery straight to the site would have saved a great deal of heavy lifting and barrowing. Putting my dry-stone wall skills to the test the rockery stone was fitted together to create a retaining wall on one side and a set of steps on the other.
The gaps were unceremoniously planted with Aubretia, thyme and ferns, all grown from seed and spores. This somewhat unusual combination seems to be working well for now. The wall plants went in when they were very small and at first seemed to have a similar chance of success, but they’ve proven far more resilient than we had given them credit for and now the hard edges of stone are being softened with lush green, scented and occasionally flowering plants.
While I like the light honey-coloured stone, I’m wondering whether to daub just some of the rocks with yoghurt to encourage moss and lichens to take hold. The only trouble is that this wall is west facing and can get hot and dry in the summer. I should give it a go anyway as the current set of plants in the wall proved us wrong.
While these small walls are encrusted with delicate flowering jewels, an altogether more substantial wall – the house – is being clothed by an ever larger, vigorous Banksiae Lutea Rose, which recently passed the milestone of reaching halfway along the front of the house. That’s not all, on closer inspection groups of flower buds are seen clustered about the green stems. At only a couple of years old, it won’t be a spectacular flowering, but it will flower none-the-less and that will be special as it marks the first time it will have flowered since planting (it took a break last year).
Growing along at a much more sedate pace is the Japanese Wisteria, under the Banksiae Rose. It is unlikely to flower this year but at least there are signs of it gradually waking up to new season. I’m hoping it will continue to strengthen and perhaps fill out more. I’m sure our previous Wisteria was far more energetic, our current one is a different variety and perhaps it takes longer to become established. When these two plants mature and if I’m still able to keep them under control, it should make for a show-stopping spring display, once the attention is taken away from the large camellias in front.