Gardens Illustrated Magazine

James’s garrigue planting

We have learned a lot about plants that can create a happy competitive balance

In the lower part of the garden, at the foot of the terraces, the componentsx ( 1 ) has a dominant presence in early summer, though James notes that “then they dissolve back into the landscape to provide a muted tone to other plants, and are ever present on the air in the summer as the heat releases the oils on their leaves”. The architectural quality of the evergreen leaves of ( 2 ) is also valued. A line of rosemary, now known as ( 3 ), forms a long, snaking ‘hedge’ across the garden, creating a subtle sense of structure. It also provides the darkest leaf tone, against which lighter colours, such as the pale-toned ( 4 ), can be placed. This sub-shrub says James is “a brilliant plant, quick to establish and relatively long lived – a useful plant to create a quick dominant vegetation, though in wetter climates it may not live as long or grow as quickly”. It also stands out against the crinkly leaves of clary sage, ( 5 ), that presage its flowers, and which are especially appreciated when dried and backlit by the sun. Hidden away next to this is var. ( 6 ), which is useful for its late flowers. Soft yellow tones are contributed by ‘Alba’ ( 7 ), while there is dusty purple from x ‘African Pride’ ( 8 ), a resilient cultivar in James’s experience.

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