Planting the Poppy

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Without too much fanfare, the time came for the Remembrance Poppy to be planted. Still in its box since Christmas, much thought had gone into where, in the garden, we should place it. And, uncertain as to how frost-proof it was, we wanted to wait for warmer weather.

Initially, I considered in the herb beds, to be visible from the French doors. Hmm! But then, after an overhaul of part of the Scented Shrub border, a focal point presented itself.

The drastic measures began last year, when the Lonicera fragrantissima, was severely cut back. One or two of the lower branches had layered themselves and created new plants, growing away happily. Unhappily, I had to remove these, leaving only the best placed shrub. I started an experiment. There was a large gap at the back of the border, which I wanted to fill. It may go against best horticultural practice, to plant a shrub in a densely shaded area beneath two cherry trees, when the shrubs all around were already growing towards the light, but I thought I’d take a chance. I chose a dark-leaved elder, Sambucus nigra “Gerda”, my thinking being that elders are often found on the edges of woodland. Apart from its dark leaves, it also has pink umbels of scented flowers. But that would necessitate a path or gap in the planting to be able to appreciate its perfume. We put down two stepping stones to cross the border, but we then had the dilemma of a focus at the end – a path must lead to something! Eh, viola! The Poppy would be perfect! It’s in our direct line of vision, from one of our garden seats.

The overhaul has now moved on.

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Two hollies, originally planted at the outset of the border, used to form a bit of a hedge, separating the Scented Shrub border from the Courtyard, with its herb beds. Unfortunately, they hadn’t responded too well to some severe pruning. So we took the plunge and cut them down. This leaves more available planting space. I still wanted the effect of a hedge, so I’ve chosen to replace the holly with a scented alternative. Portuguese Laurel, Prunus lusitanica, is a hedging shrub, with scented flowers, that should grow quite quickly and suit the shady conditions. And there’s possibly yet more planting space available!

But back to the Poppy!

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I think it looks quite smart at the end of the path!

It’s just a shame that we were a day late for Anzac Day and their remembrance ceremonies! It would have been quite appropriate. Still, they did choose Rosemary as their flower of Remembrance!

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