Inner Light

Plants, like people, have an inner light. When the sun shines on them, they glow.

Euphorbia palustris (top left) with rose foliage (right), tulips and phlox foliage (foreground)

When the sun shines on the bright border, I would like to harness its energy. Plug in, for a moment. Recharge your batteries.

Phlox paniculata foliage

Euphorbia glows brighter than any other plant I know. This is Euphorbia palustris. It has broad panicles of inflorescences. Each holds a spray of light.

Euphorbia palustris

Euphorbia looks fabulous with tulips, followed by alliums. The tulips and alliums overlap by a week or so, and then it is over to the alliums to really shine out.

Allium hollandicum ‘Purple Sensation’ with Tulip ‘Ballerina’

This is probably my favourite euphorbia. It is Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’. You can see why.

Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’

Its orange inflorescences look lovely with all the fresh green foliage in the border.

Just the foliage of this euphorbia would make it worth planting. Nature makes the best colour combinations. I love the olive green with the rich terracotta-orange.

Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’ foliage

The orange tones of the euphorbia are then picked up by the geums.

Geum ‘Hilltop Beacon’ with Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’ behind.

Geums have a gentle, nodding presence. Their modesty is part of their charm. I have planted crocosmia inbetween the geums and the euphorbia to provide a jungly backdrop, and to break up what might otherwise be overwhelming flames of orange. Lime-green and orange is a favourite combination in the bright border.

Geum ‘Hilltop Beacon’ with crocosmia foliage behind

Purple and orange is another key colour combination. The purple is provided not only by alliums, but by Centaurea (perennial cornflower) ‘Jordy’.

Centaurea ‘Jordy’ with Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’ behind

I love the flower form of the centaurea. From those hairy scales at the base, to the seaweedy tendrils of petals.

Centaurea ‘Jordy’

The perennial cornflower has a fine bouffant, held up by plenty of hairspray. It sometimes looks a little dishevelled, as if it has been out all night. But who am I to judge?

Centaurea ‘Jordy’

I am enjoying the maroon foliage of Phlox paniculata ‘Starfire’, which picks up on the purple theme. Geranium ‘Anne Thomson’, behind, has caught the euphorbia’s lime-green glow.

Phlox paniculata ‘Starfire’ foliage

Pretty much everything glows in May, including me.

Can you feel it?

The Mindful Gardener believes that gardening should be a joy, not a chore. The plants I choose are almost all low-maintenance, maximum pleasure.

If you would like to receive an email notification when new posts are published, click on the ‘follow’ button at the bottom of this page. I aim to bring you ideas and joy for your own garden, or just sit back and enjoy mine.

27 Comments Add yours

  1. photosociology says:

    Hi Ali.
    So good to read your post and look at your photography. Did you get to Chelsea?

    1. Hi Richard! Nice to hear from you. I didn’t get it together for Chelsea this year, unfortunately. Have been super busy with a new job.

      1. photosociology says:

        Oh wow. That’s great. How is your new job going?

      2. It’s going well, thank you! Lots of new stuff to learn, which I like.

      3. photosociology says:

        That’s good to hear.

  2. bcparkison says:

    Every thing just glows. Beautiful.

  3. Such a lovely post and a great selection of plants😍

  4. Other than gorgeous burgundy peonies approaching its third week of bloom, and chives blossoming in the potager, everything else is in a resting phase between budding roses following the early spring bulbs and dogwoods. I’m still working on the overlaps after 40 years!

    1. Geums, lupins and alliums are my May stand-ins.

  5. Heyjude says:

    Love the Fireglow and your description of Jordy! You have a wonderful way with words and colours. Your posts are a joy to read and look at 🙂

    1. Thank you Jude; you say the nicest things!

  6. Ann Mackay says:

    What beautiful, glowing photographs – can feel the energy and sheer joy of being alive!

    1. That is wonderful, Ann – exactly the effect it has on me!

  7. What a beautiful post, Ali – it certainly glows with an inner light! I love Euphorbia ‘Fireglow’ – another plant that looks great with it is our native Aquilegia canadensis with its red and yellow petals. I may try adding red/orange geums near ‘Fireglow’ – geums like it here and I hadn’t thought to try it with the Euphorbia. Thank you for your poetic reflection 🙂

    1. I love that aquilegia! Thank you, Lynn!

  8. Lovely combinations. I love orange with fresh green

    1. It is a beautiful combination, isn’t it? It really wakes you up!

      1. Certainly bright ! Thank you

  9. Cathy says:

    Hmm, reminds me I had Jordy but moved it to make way for some of my new roses but can’t remember where I moved it to…

  10. Love that Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’ – I’ll be looking for it!

    1. It is probably my favourite euphorbia, Chris. Hope you find it!

  11. Indira says:

    Lovely… lovely! Love the philosophy also!! Glad to see the flower, your icon picture 🙂

    1. Thank you Indira! Yes, I love this flower!

  12. Becky says:

    Thank you Ali. At a time (COVID-19), where it’s easy to forget we are the light we seek, you reminded me here. Our local landscape is just waking up after a long winter’s nap…can’t wait to get my hands dirty and my feet “grounded”. I’m grateful I discovered your blog and look forward to reading more. Best, Becky

    1. That is so lovely to hear, Becky. It is such a treat to hear comments from new readers, and I’m really pleased this post was meaningful to you.
      I utterly love that phrase ‘we are the light we seek’. That is so empowering and comforting, and I think, true.

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