Style Guide – Romantic Gardens Part 2

Tree peony

Romantic gardens are more ordered than the haphazard jostling of a cottage garden. The garden will be delightful not just to look at, but also to smell, hear, touch, perhaps even taste.

Read: Style Guide – Romantic Gardens Part 1

Plants for a Romantic Garden

There will be roses, of course, and they must have an old-fashioned scent. David Austin’s roses are renowned for their excellent range of colour, combined with the ability to repeat-flower and the fragrance of old garden roses.

Rosa Falstaff is a fragrant shrub rose, with deep crimson petals. It grows to 1.25m high.

The Generous Gardener is a climbing rose, growing to 4.5m. Its pale pink blooms carry a delicious Old Rose fragrance. It has...

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Gardening Mediterranean Style

Windowboxes of red pelargoniums for a Mediterranean style garden

In the summer, you can smell the herbs on the air as you head south towards Provence, but our visit at Easter was a tad too early for that. The morning and evening air was chilly, but by mid-morning the sun was hot enough to cast off cardigans and enjoy an alfresco café noisette.

Not too early though for the vines to be in full leaf or for red pelargoniums to be flowering brightly in window boxes at wooden-shuttered windows.

Scented Jasminum officinale – summer jasmine – was already clambering over stone walls and above blue-painted windows in St Rémy de Provence.

I’ve admired the flower displays on French roundabouts before, but here the road islands have a distinctly Provençal...

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Garden Border Ideas – In Search of the Wow Factor

Informal garden border

Inspiration

Sometimes we don’t know what we want until we see it in someone else’s garden!

In all these internet searches every month, what gardeners are looking for is a little inspiration. Pinterest is great for sharing ideas. Try scrolling through some images to see which ones you instinctively fall in love with and start collecting your favourite pictures on your own board.

For thousands of gardening ideas, click here to follow the Weatherstaff PlantingPlanner on Pinterest.

Even with a glorious mood board of beautiful images to inspire, though, it’s not always easy to transfer these ideas to our own garden borders. Here are some ideas for creating the garden of your dreams.

Style

The first step is to decide...

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Long, narrow gardens and other awkward shapes

Polystichum munitum, Myosotis sylvatica, the frosted foliage of Brunnera macrophylla Jack Frost and new buds opening on Centaurea monana - woodland plants from the Weatherstaff garden design software

When is a triangle not a triangle?

Our main garden is an elongated, right-angled triangle, bordered by a wild hedge edging a country lane. When we first moved in, the entire garden was laid to lawn and could be viewed in all its triangular, tapering glory! Pythagoras might have been delighted with the opportunity to experiment with the properties of our triangle. We were more perplexed by the dilemma of how to make a triangle look more like a rectangle!

In our vast expanse of grassness, we were also keen to add interest by creating pathways and hidden areas, as well as planting up flower borders to soften the boundaries.

We ended up making the lawn area smaller, with...

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A Crescendo of Crocuses

Spring Crocuses - from the Weatherstaff PlantingPlanner

What’s the collective noun for a group of crocuses? A cluster, a crowd, a colony? A swathe, a dazzle, a drift?

On a bright, chill-nipped, late-February afternoon in Cannizaro Park, the word which comes to mind is crescendo – the pale buds, pushing up in clumps through the crumpled dead leaves and winter mud-brown soil, gradually increasing in number and intensity of colour, spilling across the grassy borders, unfurling to reveal orange stamen and deep purple petals, peaking at the very moment I reach the park gates!

Cannizaro Park is a 34-acre Grade II* listed English Heritage garden, to the south of Wimbledon Common. A private garden for 300 years, it was acquired by Wimbledon Borough Council, now London Borough...

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What’s flowering in early March?

The cheerful little crocus - spring garden border idea from the Weatherstaff PlantingPlanner

So many plants flowering in early March. Here’s what I found flowering this week…

For more gardening ideas, click here to follow the Weatherstaff PlantingPlanner on Pinterest.


Autumn Colours

Autumn Leaves - Weatherstaff PlantingPlanner

The trees are looking spectacular at the moment and it’s hard to resist taking yet another photograph of the glowing colours at canopy level. But down on the ground, there are some hardy perennials which are still flowering their socks off!

Here’s my choice for the best 5 perennials for autumn colour.

Helenium

These are stunning perennials with daisy-like flowers on an upright, clump-forming plant. They flower profusely from mid-summer into the autumn.

Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’ has glorious autumnal colours – fiery orange-red rays surrounding a velvety brown central disc. The rays reflex strongly as the flowers age. It has been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

‘Pipsqueak’ has yellow rays surrounding a velvety yellow and...

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Winter Scents

Hamamelis x intermedia Jelena garden design

No one wants their garden borders to be a muddy, lifeless patch in winter! Though a touch of frost can transform the dullest of gardens into a magical wintry landscape, most gardeners aim to create an outdoor space, with delights which are less transitory.

Choosing plants for winter interest usually means selecting attractive skeleton forms or handsome evergreen foliage, picking out plants with winter flowers or looking for colourful stems and interesting bark. All of these can make the winter garden a pleasure to view from your kitchen window.

When you get up close and personal though, it will be those heady winter scents which engage the senses and lift the spirit. With pollinators few and far between, the flowers...

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What makes a successful planting plan?

The Weatherstaff PlantingPlanner - intelligent garden planning software

Creating a successful planting design for your garden borders can involve hours of decision-making. I know – I’ve put those hours in and scrawled lists of plants on countless sheets of paper and backs of envelopes.

The first step is to know your garden.

1. Go on a fact-finding mission

Check out which areas of the garden catch the sun and at what time of day. In other words, where’s the best place to drink your morning coffee? And is it the same for your afternoon tea?

Know where the wind whips through, creating draughty corridors and which parts still have frost on the ground long after the rest of the garden has warmed up.

Find out what your soil...

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