High summer, hot colour


It’s a hot and hazy day, and whizzing past the Essex cornfields, basking in glorious afternoon sun, we zoomed in on Hyde Hall where there is plenty for the eye to see, and plenty to keep the bees busy..

Contrasting colours make the most impact – and never more so than when the sun is shining.  Massed Agapanthus with Helenium and Allium make a stunning combination. At Hyde Hall,  they are stunning on a large scale. These are complimentary colours to make the heart sing.  Pale ultramarine blue and the brilliantly brassy oranges are direct opposites in the colour wheel, and the dull purple alliums just add a touch more depth. We discovered the name of the – little egg-shaped ones: Allium sphaerocephalan. This kind of planting draws the eye (or the bee) from a distance, and gets even better close up.


Hyde Hall’s plantings perfectly reflect the wide landscapes of the South Essex prairies. It’s a dry garden, exposed to the sun and wind, with very little shade. The designers who laid out the garden are expert at mass plantings that fill the space with shape and colour, and move in the breeze. Just feel the warm dry air and warmth in this picture – a great memory of summer.


Almost like a “painted” garden – here we are looking at Gaura lindheimeri,  which provides the effect of pink and white lace, with Verbena bonariensis, and beyond them the soft mauve spires of Perovskia and a bold clump of golden grass, which is maybe Oryzopsis miliacae, with just a smattering of Verbascum, gone over, so we won’t know which variety.  Truly, garden texture has never been better than this. This is a huge island bed which works beautifully from all angles – the combination and layering of plants changes as you walk around the border.

Surely this must be the prettiest car park in Essex. It’s filled with Gaura lindheimeri, Stipa tenuissima and friendly Verbena bonariensis.


Why a bee’s eye blog?

We admirers of gardens can be like bees, rushing from one gorgeous colourful display to the next – and loving every flowery fragrance.

Like bees we’re attracted to beautiful scents and colours. And perhaps this can teach us something about garden design.