The trials and tribulations of
An independent designer.
An independent designer.
If you’ve just stumbled on this blog, you might have to scroll down to the last entry, otherwise this one will make absolutely no sense.
o, it turns out, you can remove the gardener from the garden, but you can’t take the garden, out of the gardener. As spring moves forward, the urge to plant, prune and deadhead things becomes overwhelming and I’ve decided the best way around this? is to cram as many plants as possible onto the tiny balcony attached to my flat, but it’s going to need quite a bit of planning.
My first instinct would be to plant something that’s familiar and recreate elements from my lost garden however, over the last few weeks I’ve come to realize, like so many gardens, some of its’ magic lies in its’ context. Set within a tiny estate village, dotted with ancient wood land, then land locked in a sea of fields and meadows, the air was always full of birdsong and thick with aromas. Jewel like Wall flowers in early Spring, clouds of scented bluebells in May, and then in quick succession, avenues of blousy rhododendron and woodbine. In summer, garden honeysuckle, hot, drying hay and roses, always roses. A place for all the senses, slightly out of time with the world, but in time with me. I loved these heady scents when I lived there…they’re stronger now I’ve left.
So, if not my old garden, what? A starting point could be the plants that came with me, which I love. But, these are plants whose roots were laid down in another time, it’s important now to plant something that puts down roots in this one, and so, as on so many occasions I’ve turned to the rose. I ordered a beautiful, white scented variety from David Austin Roses, over time this should slowly wrap itself around the edge of the balcony…the inside? well that’s a blank page, full of endless possibilities. I could recreate the gardens of Versailles, or maybe the breath-taking parterre at Hampton court, even one of the sunken, tudor gardens. As I’m at altitude I could attempt an Italian garden… but then I would need statues, there would have to be statues. I’m joking of course, the magic of these gardens lies in their relationship to their buildings, in their vastness and spectacular vistas; even I know I can’t create anything that requires a vista…not even a vis., and the only relationship my balcony has with its building, is that it is so close... It’s almost inside. But, I think it’s still ok to dream big, and ok to pinch an element here, take inspiration there, that’s what all gardeners do.
In the end, It was while I was looking at my newly arrived rose, willing it to shoot, that it came to me, I will evoke the spirit of Vita Sackville-West, by recreating her famous white garden at Sissinghurst Castle. The real artistry of this garden, lies in the rich variety of greens and foliage, these provide a canvas for those lovely white blooms. and that’s something anyone can create. Having a palette of different greens and textures can give the illusion of space, and white planting brings light to darker more shaded areas, heaven knows I’m going to need both of these tricks on, at best, an optimistic 4 x 6’ balcony, which I’m not 100% sure will ever get the summer sun. But I know what you are thinking…” Where will the hedges go”?... No?... well anyway, I don’t think it really matters whether you are choosing plants for a garden or a window box, the principles are the same. Choose plants that suit the environment, give them good soil, feed them and give them water and in theory? they should thrive. If you don’t have room for hedges, just suggest it by adding a pot planted with box of some other small leaved plant.
So, here we are, by harnessing Tardis technology, I have produced a planting plan which should bring scent and flowers for me and the insects way into late summer, and, as it’s Chelsea month… a plant list and supplier’s links below.
I don’t think this is going to get much sun, so it may not flower,
but it will be a lovely shade of green in the summer, and rusty red in autumn /winter.
Varieties unknown, but they were grown by
who also supply ferns and bamboo.
grown from seed, but also available from https://www.woottensplants.com/plant-shop-category/plantlist/agapanthus/
Mixed planting and box:
Most good garden centres will also sell the above and can provide you with an excellent variety of plants for hanging baskets and pots, but I think it’s worth choosing somewhere that is also a nursery. I’m lucky to have several garden centres locally but, for what it’s worth, my preferred one is Aylett’s Nursery. They are a family firm and are specialists in growing Dahlia, which has earned them many Chelsea golds over the years.
Of course…any other plant I can cram in the gaps.
Ive so got this!