Our small patio soon became another planting area. I nurture many of the seedlings that appear between the slabs, including the native "weed", Hieracium maculatum (Spotted Hawkweed). Its rather evil looking maroon-spotted leaves contrast strikingly with the dandelion-like yellow flowers. Ajuga reptans (Bugle) with purple leaves and small turrets of blue flowers creeps around in the cracks and the little daisy, Erigeron karvinskianus (Mexican Fleabane), is another admirable coloniser, which opens white, develops a pinkish tinge and flowers all year.
Spaces between the pavers are filled with plants such as an apricot-flowered small shrubby potentilla (name long since forgotten), Alchemilla conjuncta, Geranium cinereum 'Ballerina', species tulips, and various lavenders. The bronze fennel, Foeniculum vulgare 'Purpureum', is another excellent self-seeder - the dark feathery foliage is always welcome and I can use it in salads.
A birdbath, formed by large rock, is overhung by Acer palmatum var. dissectum 'Seiryu', which I am growing in a pot. The sound of flowing water comes from a small bubble fountain, which is a tremendous source of entertainment for our grandchildren who are happy to spend hours adjusting the flow with cobbles.
A dwarf willow, Salix hastata 'Wehrhahnii', flourishes in a narrow shady border at the back of the patio and is covered with wonderful strokable silvery-white catkins early in the spring.
Abelia grandiflora (beloved by my Mum) grows against the wall of the house below a sundial made for this spot by my talented uncle, C. Philip Adams, my father's brother. Abelia has glossy evergreen foliage, starts flowering in late summer and keeps flowering for months.
The small bell-shaped white flowers have a sweet perfume. Bees love them. The petals drop off leaving delicate clusters of pinkish sepals that are decorative in their own right.