As the garden drifts slowly into it’s winter rest, you get a different, clearer view. It becomes more open as the foliage mostly disappears and it’s easier to see its’ basic lay-out.
A perfect time then to decide what changes need to be made and how the planting can be improved, so here’s part 2 of Planting your Garden.
Following part 1, you’ll have the makings of a manageable list of plants tailored for your garden. However tempting it can be to include plants that you love, but secretly know won’t suit the conditions in your garden, harden your heart and give yourself a stiff talking to. No matter how much you love lavender, if your garden has heavy, clay soil and not much sun, it just won’t survive in the long run. Concentrate on plants that will be happy in the conditions in your garden.
There’s still some editing to do to your plant list. I don’t rely on colour as the mainstay of the border, it’s more about shapes and form. However, colour does plays a big role so decide what colours you’d like to include. Blue and yellow compliment each other well, or a cool green and white theme always looks good, particularly in shady areas.
Armed with all this information, the next step is how to arrange them all together.
In a small garden or areas near the house that you see through-out the year, I like to have a backbone of plants that will provide structure throughout the year. These are usually evergreen shrubs or they could be ornamental grasses, either way they have a strong shape.
You probably have these type of plants in your garden already, some of them may need moving to a new position, and now is the perfect time to do this whilst they’re dormant. Seasonal plants like spring-flowering bulbs, roses, early and late flowering perennials are added to the structure, so that the scene is always changing and interesting.
Think about the ratio of plants, be generous with quantities of each plant but limit the number of different types. The smaller the plant the larger the number you need to have any impact. If you just plant one of each type you’ll end up with a garden that looks random and bitty, a bit like a pin-cushion.
In a larger garden you could plant an area with a big block of one type of grass, or have a swathe of one type of plant through a border, but that could be monotonous in a small garden.
Apart from the obvious advantages of saving time and money by not having to replace plants, you’ll enjoy watching them develop and reach maturity and your garden will be much more sustainable. Think in terms of the cost to the environment , the energy that’s used, in getting a plant to a garden centre ready for you to buy and it all makes perfect sense.
I hope this gives you the encouragement to have a re-think about your garden and how you can get to grips with the planting. One more thing I’d like you to include is perfumed plants, they add another lovely dimension to your garden through out the year.
You can find Part 1 of Planting your Garden here, if you missed it earlier in the week.
A shameless plug here for my book if you want to learn more about planting your garden: Planting Design Essentials, click on the link for details, and sign up in the box at the top right of the page so you don’t miss future posts.
images: Jill Anderson
Hover over the images for the names of plants.