Dependable EvergreensJanuary 2nd, 2014
It is at this time of year that you really can appreciate the beauty behind your garden. I don’t mean what’s lurking behind the shed but the true naked structure of your borders and the plants growing there. One beauty that I tend to neglect all year and show no appreciation to is the Bergenia – particularly B. Eroica. These thick rich burgundy leaves never falter – whether wind battered or snow covered they remain immaculate. The true measure of a winter plant can be how stunning it looks when laced with frost – and Bergenia’s appear sugar coated – holding the frost well with their smooth dark foliage. Gardens should – as with many things in life – portray your own frivolities, the side of the gardener that craves colour, scent and flower – alluring us with little delights. The expensive snowdrop you treated yourself to that you’ve waited all year to flower. The most ostentatious Paeonia that is really out of place but it doesn’t matter or the rather tender Agapanthus that you are agonisingly trying to get through the winter.
But beyond this the garden should also have substance – the reliable, modest plants that look good all year round, the ones that make you smile on a dull January day when the excitement of Christmas has past. The Bergenia boisterously holding their place in the border whilst all the herbaceous plants decay away – the Calamagrostis brachytricha holding its plumes gracefully throughout January. Libertia grandiflora – dark green sword like leaves giving texture and colour in the garden or in pots. Perennial wallflowers – short lived but giving it their all in that time.
Let’s just for now concentrate on the true dependable plants in the garden and show them some appreciation.