It was a great labour! Early April, liner and plants arrived despite lockdown and so it became The Weekend of the Pond. The longest part?… filling the pond with our spring water and finding/carrying all the big river stones, all hand dug from the garden over years, to make the rim and the riverbed beach through the edge of the New Garden. So, the planting round the pond is a mixture of home-grown babies and purchases, the aquatic/marginal plants will feature in the blog later as they get big enough to be photographed.
This Agave americana is the biggest of about 10 babies that have been produced, one a year practically, since a friend gave us a small Agave from their garden in the Languedoc. It is a vicious plant if you have small children and probably to be avoided in those circumstances, but the soft greeny blue of the architectural leaves is a lovely match for the eucalyptus on the other side. It does not want to be waterlogged, but in my experience, it will take down to -10C, even for a fortnight, if it is not wet at the base.
Justicia dicliptera, also known as Jacobinia suberecta dicliptera, is newish to me. I bought three at the end of last summer, took cuttings from two, and overwintered them outside- a risk, but so far, so good. The cuttings have done well, just in the shelter of the open barn, and the plants have regrown from the base. It makes a greeny velvety mound, about 0.5 m high and wide, with tubular orangey-red flowers in the high summer. I have the five plants in the gravel area to the right of the pond.
Yucca Gold Sword– I love this plant. I bought a couple about 12 years ago and now have many of them as accent plants all over the garden. Tough and reliable, they handle most conditions I have, except the wettest. They will sulk for a while, with their leaves flat on the ground when moved, but given some water or rain for a few days, they will soon pick up to make a spikey presence about 1m tall and wide. I have four of them, of various sizes, planted in the stones to the right of the pond.
Anisodontea malvastroides is a tough, shrubby dry conditions shrub, which I hope will flower nonstop next to the pig shed, to the side of the pond. It should make a good size rapidly, to about 1.5-2m all round. The delicate pastel tones of the flowers should soothe near the water.
Phlomis lanata ‘Pygmy’ has all of the attributes of the bigger Phlomis cousins, exceptional drought tolerance, whorled flowers and grey-green leaves, but it is really tiny. I couldn’t resist it. Maximum size will be about 50cms all round. Aww….It is planted near the Agave for a ‘Little and Large’ moment.
Achillea crithmifolia will make a short blanket of soft, frilly foliage and umbel flowers- like your normal Achillea but much shorter. I hope it will spread amongst the stony planting between the pond and the pigshed, and I will help it by ripping out the pesky sunflower relatives that plague me.
Leucophyllum frutescens ‘Green Cloud’ is a Texan plant, and ideally suited to our hot, dry, stony terrain, I hope. It should make a good mound of about 1m all round, and be covered in these violet-purple flowers for much of the summer. I really want to see how this does with us, as it and other Texan plants with some cold tolerance could be a really good choice for us in the future.
On a good note for the garden- it’s still gently raining….