I surprised myself with how much I liked this one, actually: it was a bit ‘boy’ for my usual taste what with all those crisp lines and bachelor decking, but it was the planting that won me over. I particularly liked these ‘floating’ planters in the middle of the water feature, filled with nothing but foliage: but what foliage. Podophyllums, an epimedium and an iris or two: not much colour but some truly subtle contrasts of foliage and texture. Serene, soothing, tranquil. And a lesson in why too much colour (other than green) is bad for the nerves.
It took a long time to get there, but boy was it worth the wait. I planted this lovely bearded Iris way back in autumn 2004, having bought it from the wonderful iris specialists, Claire Austin Hardy Plants. It had a bad couple of years – too overshadowed by nearby plants in 2005, then took last year to recover – but this year it’s come into its own and is producing bloom after fabulous bloom. Palest mauve petals shade down to a lovely dusky purple fall, with that palest yellow beard setting the whole thing off. It’s like having a wildly rococo can-can dancer in the garden – and she’s stealing the show.