The Garden

A Leap of Leopards – in a Manchester Garden

By September 7, 2020 No Comments
We have a leap of leopards in our Mancunian front garden. It’s okay though, they’re no trouble and it’s safe to approach them.
They definitely don’t bite.
They’re spectacular performers and they’ve been minding their own business, just doing their own thing throughout summer and, now, autumn. If you observe them closely, you can see them pounce from the undergrowth in an explosion of yellow and amber sparks. Contrasting vividly against the dark green backdrop of the box planting and the shade of the old cherry tree.
I am, of course, describing my Ligularia dentata Desdemona – the leopard plant!

The Right Conditions

The conditions in this part of the Old Vicarage garden seem to suit these quietly proud felines. The ground slopes away to their spot and the clay soil holds a lot of moisture, even in the summer months. We planted the box hedges three or four years ago from bare root with a view to creating a dense cloud pruned hedge. Box blight and coronavirus permitting, we should be able to start shaping the box for next year’s garden opening. But it’s been a long wait and, in the meantime, our leopards have stolen the show with a very welcome visit of gold tinged serendipity.
We only have four plants in this particular leap of leopards which we bought online from the Beth Chatto nursery but that’s all it’s taken. Their impact has been to lift a dark corner of our garden into a theatre of bloom! These value for money performers certainly know how to strut their stuff and need no invitation to do so.

Less is More

It’s been a lesson for me and a reminder that simple truths often lie behind old cliches such as “less is more”. I’ll be taking that principle into other parts of the garden in a quest to simplify, but amplify, our planting schemes whilst maintaining interest throughout the year.
Wish me luck, next year I may find a tiger burning bright in the forest of the Mancunian night.
William Blake – eat your heart out – could that fearful symmetry be re-imagined in a Manchester garden?
Neil Kinsella

Author Neil Kinsella

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