Whiter than white

I had two days off from RHS Garden Harlow Carr last week, and came back in full of the joys...

White borderThat didn’t last long as I opened up the computer: I had 110 new emails, sacre bleu!! (As the French probably don’t say). After banging my head on the desk several times - entirely useless, but made me feel better - I decided the only thing was to go out into the garden straight away and take deep breaths. I headed straight for the white border, which I’d glimpsed from a distance earlier on.

My target this morning was to look specifically at Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’, as her huge flower heads were out in all their glory. Sure enough, on close inspection, she didn’t disappoint. These plants have been in three years now, and this year they are simply magnificent: a glorious creamy white, they hold their heads up well despite some seriously heavy downpours of late. In fact the whole of the white border has really come into its own this year: behind ‘Annabelle’ is Phlox paniculata ‘David’: as pure white as freshly driven snow (who mentioned snow in the height of this fab weather?!).

White borderOn the other side of the ‘Annabelles’ are some very well behaved little Molinias (Molinia ‘Dauerstrahl’). These grasses are not more than one metre (three feet) high and are a super contrast in this bed to all the white. They don’t spread everywhere and have delectable little inflorescences, quite as well behaved as anything you could hope for. They fill the gap nicely and can only be described as demure.

Elsewhere there are worrying signs that, although we still feel as though we are getting into high summer, the garden thinks otherwise and our Parrotia's leaves are already starting to turn their customary crimson, the onset for them of autumnal ‘things to come’, reminding me that those hazy late summer days are not far away. It brought to mind the words from a song: ‘Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think…’; how true - I scuttled back in to sort out the emails and stopped mumbling on...

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