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plants at highgrove - some notables

Posted by julia on May 29, 2014 at 6:45 PM Comments comments (36)

I made note of a few special plants that I took a fancy to in the gardens of Highgrove. 

- Rose Jude the Obscure, David Austin. Apricot in colour, wonderful fragrance. Tall rose, could climb an obelisk

- Teucrium x Lucidrys. This has been planted in the kitchen garden in place of low box hedges. The bees absolutely loved it. I've since read that you can't grow this from seed, so you need to find a plant and take cuttings. 

- Acer Shindi Shasu (very fine leaf) 

- Thalia Narcissi - white and with 3 blooms to the stem

- Plum tart Gladioli

Stones and Bare earth as a path

Posted by julia on May 29, 2014 at 6:40 PM Comments comments (0)

I loved this idea so much I copied it for our garden. Oblong stones were set in bare earth, close enough together so that your foot fell between stones (rather than on individual stones). This was bordered by mounded Hebe, which defined the shape of the path - a path that led onto a circular lawn. 

Here is my sketch of what it looked like: 

apple trees in a grid

Posted by julia on May 29, 2014 at 6:35 PM Comments comments (0)

This was a lovely peaceful courtyard area at the point where you enter the estate. Apple trees were planted in a grid, each tree occupying a square bed, planted up in what looked like Oregano. 

Successful garden designs

Posted by julia on May 25, 2014 at 4:40 AM Comments comments (0)

One of my favourite youtube feeds on garden design, comes from a lady called Rachel Matthews. Rachel is a professional garden designer, and she sells a course online. I'd highly recommend her courses (I bought the plant design course, and it was packed full of implementable ideas).

She has a website ;

and here is her youtube site

Definitely worth checking out if you want to know how to put your garden together. Rachel includes lots of tips that can short circuit things like colour theory. 

Back garden design

Posted by julia on May 25, 2014 at 4:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Here is a plan view of the design that I've come up for our back garden. I've laid out the garden at 45degrees, and placed focal points at various location to try to draw you in a particular direction. The plan is to keep the two existing patios and link them with a path. And because the existing patios use some fairly boring concrete pavers, I'm hoping to inject some interest by using country cobles/granite sets at a 45 degree angle on the connecting path. 

Back garden as-is

Posted by julia on May 17, 2014 at 4:15 AM Comments comments (0)

A few views of the backgarden as it looked last year. We inherited the patios with the house. Currently the two patios and one concrete slab don't connect with each other in any way. Plus both patios are a bit small, particularly for the Jamie Oliver firepit set with 8 chairs. And the other problems we have are the telegraph pole next door, and the proximity of the other neighbour. The garden is wide and shallow so, we need to find a way to make it feel more open. Anyway, those are the problems, and here is what it looked like last year. 

Garden rooms

Posted by julia on May 7, 2014 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Talk about garden rooms is very common when you look in garden design books. But there isn't much talk about the function of these rooms. It's easier inside the house - there are the bedrooms, living room, kitchen, dining room. The architect has defined these functions for us. But the garden is a big open space, no walls, no ceiling, no defined function. 

So what are the functions that a garden room could have? How about 

  • Somewhere to sunbathe
  • A dining area
  • A lounging area
  • A room for the kids to play in
  • A relaxation and contemplation room
  • somewhere to cook/bar b q
  • a place to work
  • a place to read 
  • a stage, performance area with surrounding seating
  • a games room
  • a party room
And when "building" these rooms, it can be helpful to think about it as if it is a room in the house. What is the floor covering, what do you want to put on the walls. How about the ceiling? (think trees or even hanging sculptures when considering the ceiling). What about doors - every room needs a door or two. 

The pergola

Posted by julia on May 7, 2014 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (0)

We are currently working on the back garden. Wide and shallow in shape, the design is aimed to zig zag the path through the space, so that it feels bigger. The pergola is built around the existing patio. 

The plants will be foliage and structure. Grasses and ferns. Colour scheme white, green and purple - very Wimbledon. 

ziggy zag in front of roundy smooth

Posted by julia on April 20, 2014 at 6:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Think Monkey puzzle tree in the foreground, then lawn, then a backdrop of rhododendrons...... The spikey branches of the monkey puzzle tree provide, not only depth of vision (which almost any object in the foreground would provide), but they also provide a juxtaposition against the rounded hummocky shape of the rhododendrons - creating more depth of vision. The spikey branches emphasise the roundness. 

Think spikey cordylines in two pots on a terrace overlooking an azure sea (ok, overlooking a fairly ordinary back garden!). The vertical spikey leaves in the foreground contrast with the horizontal lines of the sea (or rather the back garden's horizon and fencing), giving more depth of vision and more interest to the view. 

Adding structure for impact

Posted by julia on April 20, 2014 at 5:50 PM Comments comments (0)

One of the best design tips I know, and one which will bring about an immediate visual interest to your garden or border is to add some structure. One garden design book I read recently suggested that every border should have structure, and I think I agree, it adds an immense difference to any garden. 

By structure you could think of doing one of the following: 

- turn your lawn into a regular shape (circle, square, oblong)

- put a terracota pot in a border. It can be a large one, or try a small one laid down on its side as if it has been unearthed and been there for years

- repeat a plant through a border at regular intervals (think of box hedges, or be a bit different and repeat yew balls in a line). My favourite tree at the moment is Pyrus callereana 'Chanticleer' - a line of them down one path, or even either side of the path would provide wonderful structure. Or for a small garden a line of Prunus amanogawa would work wonders too.

- use symmetry as a structure for your garden, eg put two pots either side of a path. Fill them with whatever you want, but make them the same pots and the same plants in both. 

- top lift a shrub. Shrubs like Cotinus coggygria have wonderful multi branching stems. If you take the foliage away from the bottom half, you can often produce an architectural specimen that will add interest and structure.