At the moment the garden isn’t too bad, last year’s roses and pot marigolds struggle bravely on – probably ought to do something about that. Snowdrops and Hellebores are making a pretty show and all the lovely scented shrubs – Viburnums and Mahonias to name but two – delicious.
But I think my favourite at the moment is my Phormium cookianum subsp hookeri ‘Tricolor’, it punctuates the end of a shady border beautifully, it has never flowered – which is great – I grow it for its form and substance not the horrible gaudy yellow flowers. It has a lovely loose habit with amazing stripy broad leaves and I find that it sits well in many schemes whether minimal and architectural or contemporary and grassy, it is lovely punctuating a traditional herbaceous border too.
The colours in the leaves can help to bring a border together I used it recently in a lovely scheme with Stipa tenuissima, Knautia macedonia, Aquilegia ‘Ruby Port’ and Allium shubertii (and a few others).
There are many P. cookianum hybrids around, many are lovely and come in a variety of sizes. I find that P. tenax is too large for all but the largest borders and gardens and can look very scruffy if not well maintained – do not put in a windy spot – one of the saddest things you will ever see.