Design and Plant a perennial meadow

About Michael King

Michael King

My name is Michael King and I write about Perennial Meadows on this site.
I am a British citizen, but have been living in the Netherlands for the past twenty years.
I studied botany and microbiology at the University of Wales and then, armed with a joint honours degree, I move to the City of London and trained as an accountant. This eventually lead to a fascinating position as head of finance and administration at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in London where I reported to the board of trustees during my period there in the late 1980s.
A decision to move to Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands, coincided with a significant career change. Since 1990 I have worked as a garden designer, author and garden photographer.
Flowering perennials, ornamental grasses and tulips are now my specialities. I have written books on these subjects as well as numerous gardening articles on subjects as divers as annual flowers, garden design and the life and work of other professional garden designers for many international garden magazines.

Perennial meadows are the subject of this site. Here I will be leading discussions into the use of herbaceous perennials in contemporary gardens as well as introducing a series of eBooks that will supply detailed planting instructions for a wide range of garden habitats.

Please comment on anything you read on the site and contribute to the discussion on modern planting design. Information about new perennials and grasses are especially welcome.

You may contact me directly via email –

11 thoughts on “About Michael King”

  1. Dear Michael,

    I hope you’re answering this blog as it’s
    been some time since the most recent entry.

    What advice do you have, please, about using
    Papaver Orientale and Somniferum (bread seed)
    in a meadow? My garden is in USDA 6A twenty
    miles west of Boston USA. The soil for the poppy
    location is sandy, and I amend it as needed for specific
    plants. Dappled shade overtakes the sun around 2:00 PM.
    I’m especially interested in using additional plants with
    deep taproots, like achillea.
    Thank you so much for any comments you
    may have.
    A. Opland

    1. Achillea and others with tap roots such as Echinacea will work well for you. Papaver orientale is fabulous but flowers for a very short season and then the large clumps die down only to start regrowth in the autumn. P. somniferum is an annual and for it to germinate it needs light . They always appear spontaneously in soil that has recently been disturbed – this will not be the situation in your case so you would have to resow each year or scarify areas within your meadow each spring. I hope this clears things up for you. Yours, Michael

  2. Hello! Your blog is super interesting, and I was hoping you would answer a couple questions so I could publish a blog post to feature your blog on my website? There is a few examples of interviews I’ve written in the past with other bloggers on my site if you are keen. No worries if not 🙂 Sam xox

  3. Good morning Mr. King,

    I want to buy the e-books “SHRUB FEATURES” and “GRASS KING BOOKS 1 & 2”, but I don’t have a creditcard and I don’t want to have one. How can I still buy them?

    Thank you.

    Best wishes,

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  5. Pingback: Online Studies with Michael King at MGS « Rosewarne Gardens, Bedfordshire Garden Designers

  6. Good morning Michael

    I was just reading your article about planting meadows and thought if anyone was to answer a query on the particular use of an ornamental grass that obviously you are the man …

    Cutting to the chase, I was wondering if you had any tips on how to best use Pennisetum macrorum in south-east England. Not sure about its hardiness or whether it has an invasive nature. Any thoughts please would be gratefully received.


    Simon Payne

    1. Dear Simon,
      I planted Pennisetum macrorum in my garden in Amsterdam for the first time last year. It grew well, but the nurseryman who supplied it told me that he had lost a lot of plants (growing in small pots) the previous (long cold) winter. We have just has another long cold winter so I am curious to see how or if it has come through the winter. All pennisetum need good drainage which I have provided so I am optimistic. My experience with P. orientale for example, which is also said not to be very hardy, is that it is less the cold and more the damp that they cannot take. In south-east England I would certainly take a risk. Do not forget this is a species and can be grown easily from seed. Good luck, and do let us hear how you get on and how you decide to use it in the garden.

      1. One of my two plants of Pennisetum macrurum survived the long cold winter and came into flower this week – mid August.

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