The early spring bulbs around the Japanese maple, Bloodgood, are replaced by unfurling hosta leaves in May as the maple foliage becomes intensely red. Hostas are ideal for hiding the dying foliage of little spring bulbs like the blue scilla, white chionodoxa and the very early galanthus or snowdrops. The pairing of hostas and Japanese maples is classic and despite being used frequently, remains satisfying. The added advantage of hiding fading bulb foliage is not to be missed, giving this combination two distinctive phases before spring slips into June. This corner then returns to prominence in late summer or early autumn when the hostas bloom. If it is sited near a seating area, it is worth considering using some of the fragrant hostas. Royal Standard is a lovely stalwart with lily-like white blooms and mid-green ribbed leaves, a large variegated form that is fragrant and easy to find is Guacamole, but there are also newer fragrant varieties on the market. The enduring pleasure of this pairing is from the contrasting foliage — it might be considered the textbook example, but is much more satisfying in the garden than any description could suggest.
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When bees come to visit the earliest flowers, I know that spring is truly here. … Read More
Even the lowly (because ubiquitous) spirea can surprise you with loveliness on a blustery day in April. My main complaint is that it has too many merits, requires too little of us, which seems churlish just now, when spirea is the first shrub to leaf out most bravely. … Read More
Galanthus, more commonly: snowdrops, are one of the earliest garden pleasures in the year, often breaking through the snow long before February is over. And now in mid-March they are still looking splendidly sturdy. They are a welcome sign that spring is indeed progressing and that renewal can happen. Again. … Read More