A few days ago I went to a local nursery with my mother: Bad idea!
When something manages to catch my eye, I decide either it’s too expensive, I need to know more about it, there must be a native that has a similar effect, or that I simply need to think about it. She, on the other hand, likes anything with color, especially what matches her "house colors." And unlike me, she hardly blinks at the thought of spending. Our missions were supposed to be separate: I'm planting the fountain, she's planting the window boxes.
After an hour and half of debating ceramic pots and primroses, I find a plant that takes me off guard. It’s bold and all silver and green. Astelia chathamica“Silver spear.” Mm hmm, the name conjures up endangered Hawaiian silverswords and dark forest myths.
I make sure it can live where it’s going to be planted: in a dry fountain with full sun. Here on the coast, it can do just that. Eventually it may out grow it’s space, but this is a plant I would be happy to divide into two, one for my garden some day…
My mom wasn’t going to let me leave without getting flowers to put in the fountain. I’d already planned on putting Epilobium canum (which I already have) in there for some fall color (and to keep it contained). I was willing to try a crimson lotus cultivar 'Amazon Sunset' because they were unusual to me and my mom liked them. I also broke down and bought some Triteleia “Queen Fabiola” bulbs, even though they’re cultivars (of native T. laxa). See, I can compromise.
So that's what's going in the fountain: Astelia in the middle; triteleia, lotus, epilobium on the edges--with variegated lemon thyme as a green filler. But they're not going to be evenly distributed along the rim. It's going to have a clunky jungle look. Eventually I'd like some big silver dudleys here and there.
Risky color combo for sure. I think red, silver, and purple look good together, but they have to be the right shades, you know? Will the Triteleia be dark enough? Will the lotus be too orange? And then there's the outside paint color and the plants in the bed behind it. I'm getting nauseous thinking of the possibilities.
Since the container will be draining into the bottom pool, I also need to make sure to keep the soil on the lean side, so we don't get lethal algal blooms below. Last year there were many many tadpoles.
In the pool we’re going to put (in pots) pygmy white (?) water lilies in the front (need to order), cattails in the back (already have), and hopefully, someday, some native Sagittaria or Alisma on the sides.
With enough green in the mix any colors can look good together, right?