24th August 2019

Garden Notes

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More garden visits and more ideas. We visited Radcot House, here the planting is most unusual. Every plant was given its own space and did not touch its neighbour except the occasional drift of similar plants. Between each was a thick mulch of large sized bark. It reminded me of earlier styles of planting where each newly discovered plant would be proudly displayed. The effect was strangely calming. Like a peaceful lawn while on coming home my borders looked like a crowded London pavement. It certainly made weeding easier. Both the mulch and the ease of spotting weeds.

Another garden was Woolton House. Three and a half gardeners and a summer weeder. We can only dream of this. A magnificent huge hot border bulked out with shrub roses, and an enormous walled garden planted to echo Mondrian paintings. Blocks of colour with black lines between. Here strips of lavender divided lime green lettuce and santolina. The owner is an artist and my favourite area was an enclosed patio in pale yellow and black. Dark purple elders enclosed one side. Two large limey yellow Rhus typhina bushes enclosed the other. Pale yellow petunias, californian poppies and ferns in tubs and between the paving. And just for fun a design in the paving of black lily grass, ophiopogan nigrescens. The whole thing surrounded a large stone table with a planting of yellow petunias sunk into a trough down the middle of it. This was a garden with no pink or pastel borders.

I find pink and pastel borders the hardest to get right. They so easily look dull with none of the sparkle of other coloured borders. Thank heavens for the ubiquitous alchemilla mollis. The one plant that seems to fit in anywhere.

Stella Strachan

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