Big and Bold Country Garden
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Big and Bold Country Garden

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This was a fabulous project to work on from start to finish, for a wonderful client, with a taste for bold, exotic, quirky planting.

A three acre country garden wrapping around a large country house, forming a woodland edge to screen the property, and wrapping around a circular drive. An inner, garden with bold and colourful planting flows around the side of the house, creating a space that opens up from a pool house and terrace.

The brief here was to create privacy and screening from the road, for a large country house. My client also wished to create an entrance with bold planting to frame the front of the house. Here I used a mix of shrubs and perennials with huge tree peonies and climbing shrubs that are trained to clothe the brick walls.

I designed an outer garden along the boundaries with an outer screening layer of dense evergreen shrubs as back drop to a woodland walk with specimen trees and planted with rhododendrons, deciduous azaleas and underplanted with a carpet of woodlanders and bulbs.

My client is keen on ferns, so together we created log piles and stumperies using old tree roots and stumps from trees that had been felled, and planted these with fern plugs with discreet irrigation to aid establishment. We planted a wonderful selection of fern species along the woodland walk, which is just stunning in spring, ablaze with rhododendrons in flower. Later the deciduous azaleas perfume the air.

The inner garden is a real surprise. I was asked to create a big, bold and contemporary garden around a pool house and terrace which opens up to the side of the house. My client wished to include exotics and bamboos, grasses and flowers with strong colours. To merge the woodland garden with this bright inner garden I used hydrangeas and evergreen shrubs with softer grasses like deschampsias and molinias on the outside, and inside went to town with bright monardas, red hot pokers, sunny inula, huge eupatoriums jostling together around exotic shrubs and trees. Swathes of bamboo frame narrow pathways through to the central lawn. The result is eclectic and upbeat, and shows just how versatile plants really are in creating moods and setting scenes.

There are several winding pathways taking you through the planting, brushing through soft grasses, aromatic bergamots, pushing through rustling bamboos, it is a garden for all the senses.

The garden is on free draining sand land. We improved the soil by incorporating tonnes of soil conditioner, the borders were mulched with bark mulch and we installed a discreet irrigation system to water trees and borders.

We planted over 120 specimen trees, including some lovely unusual species like the Foxglove tree, Acacias, Judas Tree, Trachycarpus, Magnolias, Pineapple trees, Indian bean tree, a grove of Cercydiphyllum japonicum and tall junipers.

The best for me was how excited my client was when he showed me a wren's nest in a newly planted juniper- it had been planted in the garden for just a few days. I love that about gardens - we make them for our clients and wildlife just arrives and feel at home.

Swimmers in natural pool