Design and plant well stocked beds incorporating existing plants. You’d like a seasonal garden that changes shape and style with the seasons but dislike plants that flop. You are ambivalent about the geraniums and the cherry tree. The conifer is useful for privacy as are the neighbour’s silver birches. Your Robina pseudoacacia which was planted five years ago is on borrowed time if it doesn’t grow soon! Your favourite colours are deep purpley reds, white, blue, pink and purple flowers.
My brief was for border designs in an existing layout. As it turns out, we ended up working on more areas than just the borders – sorting out the lawn, laying a new patio at the back gate and will be turning our attention to the patio by the house this year. I also added seating blocks in the children’s play area and relocated some existing climbers to break up the shed and fence lines.
The design for the borders will give year round interest with well stocked beds that have a core evergreen backbone, allowing showstoppers to emerge throughout the seasons. This show starts in the spring with white daffodils, pink tulips and blue muscari calling out the start of the year as they take over from the viburnum and amelanchier display with the cherry tree coming into bloom. By early summer the beds will be full of verdant growth with the bearded irises in full splendour. By late summer the towering heads of Verbena bonariensis reach up to the delicate panicles of Stipa gigantea while the ‘Whirling butterflies’ move gracefully at their knees. By autumn the colours are mellowing to rusty purples and sandy hues below while the Japanese anemones come into their own, dancing to the tinkling bells of colourful penstemons. The alliums, sedums and grasses are drying out as the garden tucks up for winter when Nerine bowdenii shows her pretty head. Hardy little cyclamen and hellebores greet the winter with cheer.
In order to restock the borders, I carefully removed most of the existing plants, nourished the soil and replanted. The removal of a rotted pergola (which did a splendid job of framing a view of the slide and back gate!) allowed the owner to think about whether a sculpture might be preferable to replacing the pergola. I designed a metal sculpture that acts as plant support in the summer, returning to its bare form in the winter. Inspiration for this one came from Andy Sturgeons oak stamens and the flow of air and sound through plants. The family is very musical, so I wanted something that reflected them.
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