The Garden: After [The Planting]

I hope you enjoyed yesterdays post – there was just far too much to share for one post so I’m continuing today with a bit more detail. πŸ™‚

The design of the hard landscape of the garden is quite geometric which stemmed from the large square deck we had already built. All the angles and lines reflect that but the planting contrasts with the angles in that is is very soft and fluid with swaying grasses and cloud like groupings of wild looking flowers. The downside to this kind of planting is that is relies heavily on perennials – that is plants that die back every winter and grow again in summer Β – so we needed some structure to provide a backbone. The box balls form part of that, are contemporary and also break up the expanse of grass which was my concession to Pete’s plans for the garden – he would have been very happy grassing the whole thing with a goal post at either end. πŸ˜‰

The planting was inspired by Piet Oudolf who I have talked about here before. A Dutch plantsman who is one of the most influential designers of our time, he champions a natural style of garden based on wildflowers and prairie fields. He also wants us to see the beauty in all stages of a plants life from the first shoots in spring through the flowers in summer to the frost on seedpods and frozen strands of dead grass in winter. His popular public works include the High Line in New York which I was thrilled to visit in person on our trip earlier this month and he is famous for his use of grasses. I’m so happy with how our planting turned out.

I browsed a few of his books before choosing our plants and made sure I choose amongst my own favourites some key plants of his to ‘get the look’. Some of the key species included Stipa tenuissima (the golden grass you see here,) Echinacea (the tall daisy like flowers,) Sanguisorba (the burgundy ball-like flowers in the picture above,) and Verbena bonariensis, (tiny purple flowers that form a cloud above lower plants or grasses they are planted through.) You can find more suitable plant combinations here. The other important thing to do is to plant in swaths – to get this look you need groups of 7 or 11 plants rather than 3 or 5.

The patio area is where our garden gets the majority of the sun, and is quite exposed in that way so the pergola was designed to be a focal point but also to add shade. We planted 3 climbing plants at the corners to cover it and add dappled shade – a white Wisteria, a Passion flower and a scented jasmine closest to twhere our table is.

The borders extend to surround the patio and the idea is that as the flowers mature the dining area will be partially obscured, and feel slightly enclosed and more cosy for dinners outside. We eat outside a lot in summer so I can’t wait for this are to become even more magical than it feels already…

Back towards the house, we built raised beds to break up the drop from the deck down Β to the garden and also to bring the garden to the deck, so to speak. They were built last summer when the deck was, but only filled when the garden was done.

The one above is west facing and gets the sun all day so it’s got some drought resistant plants in there along with some prarie style additions and some of my favourite cottage garden plants too. I aimed for height here so they were taller than the deck 50cm above the planting box and could be seen through the glass balustrade. On the other side, the other box is north facing and gets very little sun, only at the very end of the day as it drops so it looks very different with ferns (including a tiny tree fern!) Japanese anemones, Heuchera and Hostas for sculptural foliage and variety of colour in the leaves.

Of course, it’s still not finished. We didn’t completely clear some shrubs in one of the borders so there was some backdrop for the immature planting but we will be changing that this autumn and winter. There is also a flower bed I had planned to be quite cotremporary not he left side and not pictured really here, but I’m now undecided if thats what I really want, or if the plants I had picked were the right ones. I may give it a year or two to develop and think about it.

That’s what I love about gardening. Its never over, it’s never done and it can always be worked on, built and changed. Its probably the only area of my life that I take the long view on and as a result it’s so relaxing.

I hope you enjoyed the insight again and once again, the design was down to brilliant Iain from Outer Space Lansdcapes, with the planting by me. πŸ™‚


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10 thoughts on “The Garden: After [The Planting]

  1. It’s lovely – you must be so pleased. I love the grasses and wish they were something that would work in our little garden. I saw a feature on Sussex Prairie Gardens on Gardeners World over the summer (seriously – how middle aged does that sound?!) and was wowed by them. Fab to see how that style works in a ‘real’ back garden.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love the beds. We’re getting a new lawn laid at the moment and are wood chipping our beds for now because I’ve struggled a lot with keeping on top of weeds. How do you find weed management with these full beds? Or are they so full you don’t notice them? Might be something for me to aim for next year!

  3. Gorgeous, but how do you find time to maintain it…. We think we’ve done well to keep the grass mown…. I’d love to have beautiful beds and a veg patch but it just seems impossible with a toddler!

    • We keep the beds really full Jo. You still need to do a whip around at the beginning of the season a couple of times, before the perennials reestablish and outcompete the weeds, and then maybe once or twice a year and tidy up in autumn but thats it. I quite enjoy it but I admit theres always something better to do when you have a toddler! (I tend to take her out with me to stomp around the garden) πŸ™‚

  4. Wow what a transformation! Your garden is beautiful and I’m seriously impressed that you did all the planting yourself. I’ve been following your blog for a couple of years now and just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading what you are up too. Your home is beautiful and I have used it as inspiration on several occasions. Loved your pics of NY – we arrived with our 2 teenagers just after you and had a ball. Recommendations for Brooklyn Bridge and the Highline were spot on thanks xx ps. Have loved seeing gorgeous wee Bea too of course!

  5. Wow, your gardens had such a lovely transformation. What type of flagstones did you use for your patio. They look like some kind of Indian stone

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