A garden is made up of lots of different elements, paths, lawns, seats, sheds etc., most people see plants as just the decorative part of a garden, the icing on the cake.
We’re used to using them like this, but they can play lots of other roles,
so here’s my top 10:
- As focal points, e.g. to focus you’re eye at the end of a path
- To provide structural elements, such as topiary or hedges to divide areas of the garden
- They can determine your route round the garden, tall hedges encourage you to move on
- Remind us of the seasons, think of glorious autumn colours, or early spring bulbs
- Screen unwanted views, using hedges and trees
- Highlight favourable views, a gap in the planting to focus on a nice view
- Enclose and compartmentalise certain areas, using hedges or pleached trees
- Create height and volume, preventing the garden from looking flat and uninteresting.
- Provide valuable habitats and food for wildlife
- And in their most fundamental, time-honoured role they provide us with fruit and vegetables
The picture at the top of the page was taken at Loseley House in Surrey. The colour of the pink tinged petals of the daisy (Erigeron karvinskianus) is picked up beautifully by the tall valerian. Both plants love the sunny, dry conditions provided by this wall.
Pleached tree & hedges design by Luciano Giubbilei.
Have you incorporated any of these ideas into your garden?
images: Jill Anderson