Planting the raised bed
Recently, I said that I was not happy with the raised bed I call the Himalayas, although, in truth, not every plant in it comes from that region. The bed still needs more shade and better, friable soil. But, bit by bit, it is getting there. I have been buying and stockpiling plants for the last few months. It is time for some instant-effect gardening, which is always fun. One shrub that will be going in is Fatsia polycarpa ‘Needhams’ for its fantastic fine-fingered foliage. Unlike Fatsia japonica, the leaves are more finely cut and matt, giving an altogether lighter, looser look. Where the bed gets sunnier, Amicia zygomeris will be planted, hopefully to tower over my head, as it can grow up to 6½ft (2m). This is an unusual perennial, with stout stems, heavily notched leaves and yellow pea flowers in late summer. I have come to appreciate the subtle charms of begonias as ground cover plants, some of which overwinter in the soil. I have Begonia grandis evansiana ‘Alba’ in another bed. My latest purchase is Begonia grandis ‘Sapporo’, which has red undersides to the leaves and can make 2ft (61cm) in height.
Amicia zygomeris, with its heartshaped leaves and veined purple and yellow pea-like flowers.