‘Hedge Revival’ week two

Viburnum opulus 4Update on my ‘Hedge Revival’ project – this week I have been out and about taking photographs of front gardens. Those with planting and without, laid to lawn, those with gravel and brick walls. There is so much variation out there and I’m spending some time pulling the images into an order so that I can talk about the impact hedging plants in all types of frontages could have. Continue reading

Hedge Revival

Viburnum opulus 4

My current thinking is to encourage the planting of hedges around the boundaries of front gardens. I don’t mean the dark inpenetrable planting of soilder straight Leylandii or even Laurel (even though it is a favourite of mine, particularly Prunus lusitanica (Portugese Laurel), nope, I mean a mixture of both native and non-native species that will bring a vitality and diversity to the front garden. Continue reading

Fatsia japonica (Japanese Aralia)

fatsia_japonicaI love this plant! This is a fantastic plant for shade and for creating shade – enabling underplanting of shade loving plants beneath its beautifully palmate leaves. Native to southern Japan and South Korea. Not only is it evergreen but it produces fascinating white flower heads which then turn to black berries – much appreciated by garden birds in the colder months. Continue reading

Viburnum opulus

Viburnum opulus 4This makes a beautiful hedging plant and its beauty shines out during the autumn months when its high gloss red berries sparkling in the low sun light. I included this gorgeous plant in a recent planting plan accompanying other plants of brilliance during the autumn and winter months – Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ is stunning for its warmth of colour throughout its stems.

Autumn is the perfect time to get planting all your shrubs and perennials so what are you waiting for..

Happy gardening!

Echinacea purpurea (Cone flower)

Echinacea purpurea

Echinacea purpurea

I love this flower almost as much as the bees do and I have seen plenty of them this year plundering the pollen. I love the variety of colours that these steadfast perennials come in and most of all I love the cone that slowly reveals itself during later summer and stays right through till winter.

I love nothing more that sitting at my table collecting the seeds from the driest seed heads and opening them up to reveal the seeds all tightly packed together. I remember last year my darling niece coming to visit me and making up paper envelopes out of grease proof paper to share the seeds with friends and clients.

Everything is now well into fruiting and seeding and so I am thinking again about the bounty that awaits me in the garden soon to be picked. It’s nearly time to get out your paper bags, kitchen roll or old biscuit tin and go collect some seeds. Remember that the best time to collect seed is on a dry day and store them away from direct sunlight and damp. The last thing you want is to go to your seeds store next spring and find them full of mould and unable to use them. Another method of seed collection is to tie a paper bag down over the heads of your beloved plants in readiness for those seeds to drop. Which ever method of seed collection you use remember to label them especially if your memory is fading like mine!

I won’t be harvesting my Echinacea for at least a couple of months yet but I am already thinking about them and knowing they are on their way is thrilling enough as I plan out my new garden. This is a bee loving perennial must have for any sunny border. To find out more about all the different Echinacea visit www.shootgardening.co.uk

Happy gardening!

A beautiful Benington garden

I first saw this garden on the NGS open gardens day a few weeks ago in the beautiful Hertfordshire village of Benington. Unfortunately, on that day the rain clouds followed us around all the open gardens which made seeing the planting difficult. I have to say that all the gardens we visited were beautiful and charming in their own way, but for me there was one that truly stood out.

Benington garden 9 Jul 14 035

One of many perspectives into the garden

I went home knowing that I just had to have another look and if at all possible on a dry day. I dropped a card through the letterbox stating how much I loved visiting the garden and asked if it would it be ok for me to make a return visit to have an in depth look. I was delighted to receive an email letting me know that it would be ok!

Entrance to garden

Side entrance to garden

I entered the garden from the side of the house and was enveloped by the foliage as I walked the small curving gravel pathway, richly planted in layers of some of my favourite plants. A corkscrew willow, lots of rambling Alchemilla mollis and Acers all invite and lead into the main part of the garden.

Highest part of the garden

A glimpse of the house

Luckily the sun shone on my second visit and I had the pleasure of meeting the garden’s co-creators Julie and Richard who are both very experienced gardeners. Working together for more than 20 years to create this beautiful cottage garden that is raised up from their house on an east-facing slope.

Geranium oxonianum thurstonianum

Geranium oxonianum thurstonianum

Julie very kindly showed me around and shared her love of her plants, especially her passion for Geraniums, which was evident as we stopped and touched large swathes of many different and exquisite varieties, such as Geranium oxonianum thurstonianum with its beautifully veined and serrated petals in a vivid magenta, a variety I had never seen before but now a ‘must have’ on my ever growing wish list!

Benington garden 9 Jul 14 007

Eryngium planum (Sea Holly)

The garden’s colour palette featured purples, blues and pinks, with lingering soft tones all around the garden.Throughout there is an abundance and diversity of greens, yellows, claret and variegation in all manner of leaf forms, which combine beautifully to create a gem of a cottage garden.

A garden retreat

A garden retreat

These gardeners’ in residence clearly have a great understanding and knowledge of plants and of creating unique areas in the garden that are rich in habitat, swathed in lyricism and planted in beautiful combinations. Richard’s inspiration for creating individual places ‘rooms’ came from visiting the renowned Sissinghurst in Kent.

Beautiful combinations

Beautiful combinations

There are several secluded areas in the garden and all are enticing retreats, a place in the garden to be still, sit and watch, something I love very much in my own home garden and of course what I aim to create when designing ‘Dingly Dells‘. The use of carefully placed arbours and seating really add mystery and gravitas to any garden.

Enticing retreat

Enticing retreat

The garden has a deep backdrop, full of evergreens, climbers and interconnected structures, such as tree boughs and archways that incorporate some very interesting shrubs, perennials and climbers.

Cotinus coggygria

Cotinus coggygria

As I began to bring my visit to a close my eye was drawn to a large ‘Cotinus coggygria’ flooded with sun light, the colour of illuminated claret, nothing quite like it for adding high contrast drama especially when planted with a west-facing back light, simply stunning.

My garden hosts very generously invited me back for next year which I have already penciled in my 2015 diary. Big thanks to Julie and Richard for letting me have a nose about and for sharing their beautiful garden!

From planting plan to planted border

IMG_0340It was an absolute joy to see my client’s garden this week, one year on from the planting plan which has transformed a long sweeping border. Still young admittedly, but so beautiful and lyrical, the muted tones of purple and pink mingled alongside each other with scents filling the summer sun-filled air, all a big treat to my senses.

My eyes were darting through the lilac tinted mist created by the strewn flowering stems of Perovskia ‘Blue Spire’, a knock-out combination inter-planted with Rosa ‘Pretty Jessica’, which has a soft double English rose flower head with the most exquisite old rose perfume. IMG_0309Through time the border will continue to develop and I see now how further planting would benefit this planting scheme, especially in the vertical plane.

I think adding height will really lift the border. and by adding the beautiful soft whiteness of a Betula utilis var. jacquemontii ‘Silver Shadow’ this could really bring out the purple hues and add more than a touch of drama. The romantic feel comes from the combination of colours, movement and  scents which combine beautifully together. I do love incorporating scent into a planting plan because it adds so much to a border, especially in the summertime. There is nothing like plunging your face into a beautifully yielding flower full of intoxicating perfume that makes you want to go back for more.. IMG_0346

The main scent givers are Lavandula angusifolia ‘Hidcote Blue’, Cosmos ‘Chocamocha’, Perovskia ‘Blue Spire’, Rosa ‘Pretty Jessica’ and Salvia officinalis ‘Purpurascens’ (Purple Sage). If you would like to talk with me about a new planting plan for your garden please do feel free to get in touch.

Happy gardening!

 

National Gardening Week 2014

Wisteria 13.4.14What a fantastic sun-filled day today has been and I have so enjoyed being in my own garden watching everything fill out in the warm spring sunshine.

A joy to see my Wisteria in bloom and with a heady scent that is almost too intoxicating to take in.

This week sees the National Gardening Week reminding all us gardeners that it’s time once again to get up close and personal with our own green spaces. Whether you have a balcony or patio, an acre or a yard, now is a great time to plant something new and watch spring spread its magic anew.

To find out more visit rhs.org.uk/Gardening/National-gardening-week

Happy gardening!