I have the extreme good fortune to live not very far from RHS Wisley, which is about as close to a centre of horticultural excellence as you can get. The gardens are wonderful at pretty much any time of year, and it’s one of the places I go as a reference for how things ought to be done.
They also have the best garden centre for miles there, and though the plants are a bit on the expensive side, they are without exception beautifully grown and the highest-quality plants it’s possible to buy. I’ve never had a single one I’ve got from there keel over on me, which is more than you can say for a lot of nurseries.
The garden centre runs an excellent ordering service, allowing you to source obscure plants simply by putting your name down for it at the information desk. I did exactly that for the last few plants on my list for my Dixter tribute border, and they’ve come up trumps – a postcard dropped through the letterbox yesterday telling me they’ve now got Spiraea japonica “Gold Mound”.
The young leaves on this compact shrub are more of a pale yellow than its parent, S. japonica “Gold Flame”, in which they’re a kind of butterscotch orange. I dislike “Gold Flame” for the revolting clash of colours which happens when it flowers – candy pink and butterscotch orange have to be the most horrible combination ever. But pink on greeny-yellow might look a lot nicer, and the habit of both is a really lovely compact fountain, which combined with the prettiness of their new spring foliage makes them very good garden shrubs, so I’m happy to give it another try.