Friday, November 16, 2007

Dear Gertrude: Along a Wall

The foot of the wall will be best if it is not planted closely all along, but if occasionally some handsome warmth-loving plant is there in a tuft or group. Some of the plants most suitable for this place will be Acanthus, Iris stylosa, Crinums and Plumbago Larpenta; and of smaller plants, Anomatheca cruenta, Anemone fulgens y and in the south, Amaryllis Belladonna, Pancratium illyricuntj and Zephyranthes carinata. An occasional bush at the wall-foot would also come well, such as Rosemary, Cistus lusitantcus, Veronica hulkeana, Ozothamnus rosmarinifolius, or Griselinia littoralis. -- Gertrude Jekyll

Dear Gertrude,
This is an idea that may work very well for me. I had the notion to put Crinums, plumbago and Rosemary in the rose garden. They may be equally effective in front of the rock wall.

All the pinks shown here are dead, perished in the heat of summer. I'm thinking nasturtiums for spring, or California poppies. Fortunately the pinks are not a total loss. Young plants rooted early last summer are thriving elsewhere.

Some of your selections are unfamiliar; Anomatheca cruenta translates as freesias in my garden. I have several along a pathway.


  1. I love how your stone wall evolved ... ummmmmmmm ... who is Gertrude ?


  2. Gertrude Jekyll, gardener of the 1800s, wrote a bunch of books now in the public realm, great inspiration. I just copy a little bit of her writing and then answer it as if she'd written it to me. I have to look up a lot of her plants. She calls veronica, 'Hebe' and there are some others that are really odd, like 'Funkia' for hosta.

    The drought has changed everything. At least the rocks are eternal, even though limestone does deteriorate in the weather..

  3. Have you received any rain ? I would gladly send you some of ours, we are in the season of cool nights with light sprinkles, although some of them looked like that "white stuff" today :)

    I need a Miss Gertrude when I am having discussions in the kitchen and DH walks in and ask who am I talking to ?


  4. According to the AHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, Hebe and Veronica are two different genera, though they belong to the same family. Some of the photos of hebes looked awfully like veronica. My understanding is that hebes are not particularly hardy, though I bet in Georgia it would be the summer heat and humidity that did them in.


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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