Bringing something exciting to the party
know they will only end up arguing with each other and fighting for attention. And in the same way, you shouldn’t do this in your garden?
A big, showy hydrangea alongside something like an acanthus is just wrong. Rather, plant your hydrangea next to a viburnum or ceanothus – these are more passive plants that will naturalise the showy flowers resulting in harmony and avoiding you ending up with one domineering shrub that stands out.
When asked: ‘If you were going to be a flower what would you be?’ Laura replied ‘a poisonous weed.’ I suspect this may have been a deliberate jape to throw me, but she has a very good point – a weed is only a plant in the wrong place, no matter how annoying or toxic it may be (not you, Laura!) – it does have its place. Forget-Me-Not, for example, a weed in among my roses could not be more welcome than among my showy tulips.
“They complement one another resulting in horticultural harmony. Buttercups are another example, a weed pretty much everywhere in the garden, they are encouraged in wildflower meadows, where it mixes with other similar plants.
This combination of putting the right plant in the right place, and then mixing it with ‘friends’ who it will complement and get on with is the basic principle of garden design.
Clearing out my desk at work I came across a picture of Laura from 2008 and it is fair to say that over the past six years she has changed somewhat. Again plants are the same, some will grow taller, and stronger more vigorously while others, for some reason or another, will not grow and give up on you after a few short years.
This is not a disaster, but an opportunity to get to know new friends (plants) that can bring something new and exciting to the party, something that will be just as cool, fun and surprising as the last.
James Callicott tries an experiment by watering his friend Laura just to make his point about friends being like flowers. Laura was obviously overjoyed at the prospect...