Geoff Stonebank’s Garden Column November 6, 2022

Today, a major project begins here at Driftwood. For the past few weeks I’ve been preparing for the landscapers to arrive this morning to begin work filling in the old pond and creating a new area that will be much easier for me to maintain for years to come.

I designed the look of the area myself and outlined my plan for the guys to work from. Luckily we don’t have to use a trash can as all the waste can be used to fill up the pond.

I’ve never had fish in the pond so it made emptying a little easier. I love the sound of the water in the garden so I wanted to make sure it was preserved in the new design.

For this purpose I bought a large, round water feature made of corten steel, in which I will place a fountain. To add to the feature I bought a large curved corten steel wall which you can see in the picture above. It was recently specially made and delivered from the Netherlands. Let’s hope moving from the beach garden to the back garden isn’t too difficult.

The new area is just inside the rear garden gate, such is the first impression visitors will have as they walk up the side of the house. I recently had someone repair the large garden shed and gave it a few new coats of red glaze. I had to remove the vine which has now been replaced from the structure whilst this was being completed which has now been replaced.

To open up the area to the rest of the garden, I’m having a new small staircase built in to cut through the planting, meaning there will now be two paths to get to the top of the garden, not just the existing middle path . The resulting new terrace, containing a small circle of Indian sandstone, will be fitted with tanks and two new steel gabions filled with rocks and stones on each side.

I have just bought four new shrubs for two large containers that will be in front of the shed, Lonicera nitida Garden Clouds ‘Purple Storm’. These shrubs naturally grow in a round shape and are therefore very suitable for pruning, e.g. B. as a sphere, which makes it an extremely interesting substitute for a boxwood. Garden Cloud’s ‘Purple Storm’ has glossy, fine foliage that is green with dark purple new shoots. They are said to be very easy to grow, hardy down to -18 degrees and will look wonderful once established.

I’m sure many readers will be celebrating Bonfire Night tonight. There are also some plants that are very reminiscent of fireworks. Why not plant something in the garden now that can explode like fireworks for you next year? A good choice could be the fireworks hydrangea. It’s a Lacecap and a new quite extraordinary pure white hydrangea that has double star shaped flowers just like exploding fireworks. They are very easy to breed. Anyone can grow them and they tolerate most soils and almost all are very hardy. They do well in both full sun and full shade, but as a rule of thumb some shade is especially helpful, especially for white hydrangeas, so why not give one a try.

Another great plant that resembles fireworks is Allium Schubertii with huge gorgeous deep pink spiky flowers. She is very eccentric and showy during flowering and also great once dried. You can’t do better. They can be sprayed silver or crimson and will also become the crowning glory of your Christmas tree. Plus, the bulbs bloom for literally decades. Schubertii is a bulbous perennial that produces light green, ribbon-shaped leaves in spring that die back before the flowers appear. These consist of 50 or more star-shaped, pinkish-purple flowers on stalks of varying lengths, creating a starburst effect up to 30 cm in diameter.

So maybe this weekend is a good time to plant some in your garden for great results in 2023 and beyond. These are perennial so plant them somewhere permanent, but add sand on heavy soil.

Another fireworks-inspired planting could be Pennisetum setaceum ‘Fireworks’ (rueppllii), which makes a lively addition to bed displays and patio containers. It is a semi-hardy perennial and must therefore be protected from frost. The fluffy seed heads can also be cut into elegant dried flowers. The colorful foliage of this fountain grass emerges with bold streaks of red, pink and green before maturing into a rich burgundy hue. From midsummer to autumn, the showy spikes of purple flowers soar above the arching foliage in a spectacular architectural ‘bonfire’.

Read more about Geoff’s garden HERE and at Geoff Stonebank’s Garden Column November 6, 2022

Fry Electronics Team

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