The brief from my client was to create a modern cottage style garden to compliment the new house and hard landscaping which were built in a traditional style using local stone.
The garden is completely enclosed with a wooden fence and a large expanse of red brick wall so a combination of cream and orange roses, evergreen clematis armandii for spring interest and evergreen honeysuckle under-planted with cream and orange tulips were planted to begin creating walls of colour.
The rest of the planting was enclosed in two large raised beds so I used white Hebe rakaiensis and pale mauve Lavandula intermedia x ‘Grosso’ for structure complimented by orange Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’, dark purple Salvia Nemorosa ‘Caradonna’ , Verbena bonariensis ‘Lollipop’ and the lovely Crocosmia mistral with its double orange flower. The planters were edged with a combination of Erigeron karvinskianos and purple Aubretia variegata.
The brief from the client was to re-design the border in the ‘Prairie’ style with grasses and other similar plants whilst keeping the existing dogwoods and the yew cone at the end of the border.
I chose three different grasses to plant in drifts throughout the border accompanied by Sanguisorba officianalis which has small dark red button like flowers above elegant leaves. Sesleria autumnalis (moor grass) is a bright green evergreen grass with silver grey flower spikes in the summer and was perfect for helping to define the edge of the border.
Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Goldtau’ is also evergreen with silvery, reddish-brown flower spikes appearing from early to late summer above dense mounds of slender, arching, mid-green leaves. The feathery flowers mature to a soft golden yellow and shimmer like a golden cloud as it catches the light and looked wonderful planted in front of the dogwoods. Finally Molinia caerulea ‘Moorhexe’ was planted in drifts through the centre of the border. With narrow, grey-green leaves that turn russet-red in autumn, this grass has a profusion of soft purple flowers which contrasted beautifully with the dark burgundy red of the Sanguisorba.
A new design combined the basic elements of plants, water, and rocks with simple, clean lines to create a tranquil retreat for the client. The existing trees were pruned and shaped to provide a more formal look and new planting included Azalea, Pieris japonica, Nandina domestica and Hostas.
The garden was completely overgrown with fences falling down under the weight of rampant honeysuckle and clematis montana and ad hoc planting with no consideration given to providing interest throughout the year. A wooden trellis across the end of the garden was built to provide privacy from the communal path across the ends of the gardens and planted with evergreen honeysuckle, clematis and fragrant rambling roses to provide a vista from the back of the cottage.
A new pergola was also commissioned to better show off the existing climbing roses and new wisteria and clematis were also added.
The planting is structured with evergreen shrubs and roses and complimented with bee loving cottage perennials such as nepeta, astrantias, scabiosas, salvias and hardy geraniums. Mass planting of pink and purple tulips and white and pale yellow narcissi add a splash of colour from March through to May.