Seasonal plant allure from Beth Chatto Gardens

Nothing can beat an outing with a new  customer to look at a garden.  It’s the best way to get their bounce-off  reaction to planting combinations and their sense of delight or displeasure to colours, textures and overall form and shape.  A project I am working on at the moment is a small town garden,…

Shapes and textures matter to Beth Chatto

The gravel garden at Beth Chatto is inspired by a wadi or dry river bed.  I know this because Dan Pearson told us last week at Essex University where he delivered a lecture for the Beth Chatto Education Trust.  The reference is clearly drawn with  banks and eddies of planting, separated by a wide gravel…

Collaborative planting in Hove

I went to Hove to look at a garden – the owner and I are doing a collaborative planting. This means tempering desire with the practical. There used to be a time when I would heave heavy tomes round under my arm to show off planty pics. Hurray for the internet which lets us pull…

Pennisetum Red Buttons runs away with me

I have been having a love-in with Fountain grasses for quite a while.   Pictured here is the one that I have run away with in my not so big garden.  It is Pennisetum massaicum ‘Red Buttons’. First eye-balled it at the Chelsea launch in 2010 on Neil Lucas’s Knoll stand.  Stalked after that,  including…

In the glistering light of September

Plants that would appear flat and bleached out in bright sun come forward and shine or have a luminous quality in soft autumn light.  First Sporobolus heterolepsis  – this grass turns up  over and over again in planting plans by Oudolf in Noel Kingsbury’s book  “Planting – a New Perspective”  At last I had it…

Shimmering border at Pensthorpe

Or Oudolf does it again.  Digitalis ferruginea and echinacea.  There was a time, way back in the blurred mist of yesteryear, when the flower borders were losing it for colour and interest  by now.   These two will go on and on.  A brilliant co-planting. 

Plantaholic Post: A Sweet pea for Show and Tell

I have been badgering Tony for the name of this sweet pea all summer and now, October in, he tells me.  It is called April in Paris.  It is exquisite white with feint purple tracings.  It has flowered and flowered and not done the usual pea thing of shrinking in flower size and stem length…

Which Ivy? Where?

This weekend I went to Fibrex,  the nursery for pelargoniums, ivies and ferns.  The unlikely name comes from a long family history in nursery growing which started out as a rose business.  The family bought it  from a  man who had a clever  notion of how to pot the roses up for sale.  An unfashionable…

Plantaholic Post

This is an eyeball view of Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’.  I visited two nurseries last week and at both it  threatened to jump off the shelves and run after me.  Waiting to see whether I still love it in high summer when it hides twisty gyrations behind large but oddly drab leaves.  A cracker of a…