planting design

Excitement in the Autumn Garden

Perennials and shrubs continue to offer up surprises and pleasure in the late autumn Perennial Meadows’ garden. Grasses making an important contribution include various cultivars of Miscanthus sinensis; some tall and dramatic, others stiffly upright and low-growing forms such as ‘Pagels’ (above) which is more interesting for its autumnal foliage colour than its flowers. Back …

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Flowering Shrubs

Shrubs with Perennials

Shrubs are at their most useful when they bring height and flower colour to those gardens dominated by perennials. This is the case in my own gardens in early summer. I try to select shrubs that will sit high and command the borders in which they grow. By late summer those that once drew all the …

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Red Darwin tulips

Red Tulips when needed

Naturalistic planting and especially the prairie planting variant can look very flat and green in spring. Often these schemes are filled with perennials that flower in summer and look wonderful with ornamental grasses, but in spring they are green. Red is the complementary colour to green and tulips are one of the ways to introduce …

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Grass Hedges

Grass Hedges

In contrast to naturalistic mixed perennial plantings, I like to place blocks of a single species of an ornamental grass for bold architectural impact. Planted in lines, tall grasses can make seasonal hedges and when the grass remains effective for most of the year they form part of the garden’s permanent planting design. In my own garden …

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Theme Plants

Snowdrops, hellebores, daffodils and lots of tulips: these are the plants that flower in sequence to bring my gardens to life each spring. But now that Tulipa sprengeri is coming into flower the end of spring has been signalled and I must look forward to the next group of theme plants to take the show forward …

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