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Flowers are Red Green leaves are green

Flowers are Red Green leaves are green

1st Aug 2018

So went a song many years ago, but this summer has really turned everything upside down and the lyrics could more truthfully read; Flowers are dead green leaves not seen.

From a gardening perspective, the dried up lawns…… which in their present state could be easily used as  a cricket crease……… while quite unsightly, are not really of concern as the first shower we get (and we will get it … it probably won’t stop when it starts) will restore its lush green colour. It’s a different story fighting to keep your bedding plants alive.

Let’s face it, in Ireland we can have 4 seasons in one day, and generally speaking, our gardens cope very well. This summer however has proved to be a real challenge.

One style of planting which has weathered the conditions remarkably well is the good old-fashioned herbaceous border. Here at the Irish National Stud we have one such border and it has provided wave after wave of colour since we dug our way out of the March snows.

Starting with Daffodils, through Poppies, Lupins, Alliums, Dicentras and Astilbes it is now resplendent showing off its Crocosmias, Osteospermums,Phlox, Phygellius and Dahlias to name but a few. These to be followed  by Rudbeckia, Helenium, Hydrangea, Sedum, Aster and many more.

What rich reward for planting, when you know that all of these perennials and will do exactly the same thing for years irrelevant of what Mother Nature throws at us. The other consideration of course is that each plant will spread to a large clump, which may be divided to plant elsewhere.

Sometimes herbaceous borders like roses, get bad press as involving too much maintenance. To my mind, staking tall plants in summer and pruning back in Autumn is a much preferable alternative to planting bedding colour twice a year and then hoping that mother Nature will play ball.

Long live the herbaceous border !

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