‘Don’t do as I do, do as I say’ was something I was told by my parents, usually loudly, with persistent regularity in my childhood. I have fought against it in my life but, although I know that variegated plants should be used with discretion in the garden and always as accents among ‘plainer’ plants, here I am lumping lots together. I suppose I may have an excuse since, in my days restoring E A Bowles’ garden I had to recreate an area that he dubbed ‘Tom Tiddler’s ground where he accumulated all his white and yellow-variegated and gilded plants – not the way to do it but the way he wanted.
My ‘lemon meringue’ garden is embracing some new perennials this year, bought in autumn and potted in preparation, replacing the annuals that were grown last year. This is all part of the evolution of a garden.
The most exciting (for me at least) is Solidago ‘Hiddigeigei’. I know nothing about it apart from the fact that it is probably a hybrid goldenrod and the only reference I can find to the word Hiddigeigei is that it is a cat in the poem Der Trompeter von Sackingen. He is black with green eyes and I can’t for the life of me imagine that the plant is named after him! Perhaps someone can enlighten me. I would like to know more about the plant too.
Anyway, it should reach about 60cm high and have the usual goldenrod flowers in late summer. The leaves should remain yellow until July when they may become green – we will see. The plant, at present, is an incredible clump of narrow, bright yellow leaves, more intense than any flower. I suspect that I may learn that it needs some shade, in common with many yellow-leaved plants, but I will make sure it does not dry out and hope it does not scorch. If it stays as good as it is now I will be highly delightedd.
This is hemerocallis ‘Golden Zebra’ which is also planted here because of the brightly variegated leaves. It is a smaller-growing day lily and unlike the other variegated hemerocallis I grow, is neat and forms tight clumps and does not revert badly. I may regret planting it here only because the flowers are orange and a bit brassy for my desired colour scheme here but then rules are meant to be broken and the leaves will be present far longer than the flowers.