JAR IS THE STAR
This jar, made during the Ming Dynasty, was once used to transport porcelain from China to Egypt. It was brought back from Egypt in 1937 and placed at the centre of a rose garden. That rose garden eventually became Sissinghurst’s famous White Garden but the jar stayed put. It’s so striking it doesn’t really need plants, but I like to surround it with a selection of pots that can change with the seasons and which allows me to introduce more tender plants earlier in the year.
How to achieve the look
Vita experimented with many different plants for this jar, but returned time and again to Lilium formosanum var. pricei followed by Puya alpestris. I continue to experiment and have a chosen the shrub Pittosporum tobira to give the jar a fresh top. It’s surrounded by a supporting cast of a predominantly green and white scheme. By using many pots I can easily adjust the grouping; as one pot goes over I can whip it away and replace it with another, already prepared and waiting in the nursery. I’m careful not to allow one single plant to assume a starring role or to outshine the jar. The arrangement should offer delight, but also a moment of pause among the sparkling pools of white flowers and glimmering silver-grey foliage all around.
1 Dryopteris affinis ‘Cristata’ A fern that’s very effective in a pot and useful for difficult situations. 1.2m. AGM. RHS H5.
2 Davallia mariesii An epiphytic fern native of Japan, with rhizomes covered in brown scales. 20cm. AGM. RHS H2.
3 Pittosporum tobira Medium-sized, evergreen shrub with glossy leaves. 4.5m. AGM. RHS H3, USDA 9a-10b.
4 Leucojum aestivum Known as the summer snowflake, it actually flowers in spring. 30cm. RHS H7, USDA 4a-8b.
5 Viola sororia ‘Albiflora’ White flowers with delicate violet lines radiating from the throat. 15cm.
6 Helleborus x hybridus Easy to grow in partial or full shade 60cm. AGM. RHS H7, USDA 4a-9b.
7 Hosta ‘Ginko Craig’ A low-growing hosta with narrow leaves edged in white (more white when placed in shade). 30cm. AGM. RHS H7, USDA 3a-8b.
8 Polygonatum x hybridum Gracefully arching stems with glaucous, blue foliage unfurling to reveal purewhite, pendent flowers. 75cm. AGM. RHS H7.
9 Dryopteris erythrosora One of the best garden ferns with warm, pinkybronze, new fronds. 60cm. AGM. RHS H4, USDA 5a-8b.
10 Grevillea rosmarinifolia ‘Lutea’ Australian shrub with needle-like foliage. Needs winter protection. 2m.
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