Europe Garden in Spring

In early May the first phase of the flowering display comes into play.  The principle of selecting just a few plant species to make the main display at any one time, and the idea of building layered plant communities, really comes to the fore now.  In spring, the whole zone is a study in green, and the meadow inspiration is very evident, with the matrix of the grass Achnatherum calamagrostis forming a rich green framework.  But it is the striking lime green of Euphorbia palustris that steals the show.  Bold clumps of the Giant Scabious, Cephaleria gigantic contrast with the Euphorbias and grasses.   Clumps of Hawthorn, Crataegus monogyna, are in full flower now: the touch of snowy white is uplifting amongst the green, and the small trees give structure and height to the plantings.  The formal structure of the box hedges is very effective right now – the fresh bright green of the new growth shines amongst the darker green grass foliage, but matches the shade of the Euphorbia, and the surrounding herbaceous plants have not yet grown tall enough to overtop the hedges.

Below: the patterns and repetition of species across the area can be easily seen in the spring.

Above: the contrasts of the big clumps of emerging foliage of the Giant Scabious amongst the grasses and Euphorbia.

Below: The formal Buxus hedges, with their fresh young growth in May, provide order, structure and framing to the loose perennial and grasses mixes.

Below is a gallery of photographs from the Europe Zone in early to mid May – click on an image to enlarge or stop the slideshow.