Category Archives: Gardening News

Wall Tumblers !

 tumbling plants over a wall

tumbling plants over a wall

Most people think of climbers when it comes to walls, but a wall can be packed with planting possibilities including, a range of creeping and scrambling plants that are just made for the dry and harsh conditions of growing on or over a wall.  Here are some to consider

Arabis ferdinardii-cobungii 'Variegata'

Arabis ferdinardii-cobungii ‘Variegata’

Arabis ferdinandii cobungii ‘ Variegata’: This hardy vigorous alpine is a must for any wall, it makes dense carpets of low growing foliage and is smothered in tiny white flowers in late spring early summer that pack a visual punch.

 Aubrieta 'purple cascuade'

Aubrieta ‘purple cascuade’

Aubrieta ‘Purple Cascade’: This is the classic wall tumbler and is very vigorous. It will spill over walls creating dense mats of semi-evergreen leaves, with vibrant open purple flowers  from late spring to early summer. A must for any sunny wall.

 Campanular arvatica

Campanular arvatica

Campanula arvatica: An attractive low growing campanula, that seeds readily and will happily put it’s self in lots of niches and crannies of any wall. Low clumps that spill and crawl over any wall surface, with small soft mauve flowers early summer. It will also do well in part or denser shade.

Dianthus freynii

Dianthus freynii

Dianthus freynii: a delightful, low growing alpine pink with mats of evergreen grey foliage, that will creep over walls. Small pink single flowers are borne , mid summer.

 Geranium saguineum lancastriense

Geranium saguineum lancastriense

Geranium sanguineum lancastriense: A lovely delicate small leaved geranium that crawls along the surface, perfect to flop over the edge of the wall. Clear pink flowers produced intermittently from spring to late summer, as long as it is dead headed.

Hellianthemum nummularium 'Whisley Primrose'

Hellianthemum nummularium ‘Whisley Primrose’

Hellianthemum nummularium ‘Wisley Primrose’: This is a lovely rock rose, that produces a carpet of sliver evergreen foliage, that will cascade over any wall. Soft yellow flowers are produces in a splash of intense colour in mid summer.

 Wall timbering plants add an extra splash of spring colour!

Wall timbering plants add an extra splash of spring colour!

Top tips: Most the plants I have suggested, will need full sun. They will do very well in thin, free draining soil. After flowering gently shear off the dead flower heads. This is also a good time, to keep the shape of the plant in trim, particularity if there are dead or bare areas, in the mats the plants form.

I hope I have inspired you to look again, at the walls in your garden, and consider adding a splash of planting colour.

Evergreen ground cover

Mixed ground cover

Mixed ground cover

Ground cover, is the unsung hero of all planting schemes, whether scrambling over the base of trees in a densely shady area, or hiding unsightly man hole covers in the middle of the flower bed. Crawling under shrubs and other plants from it’s most basic being a weed suppressant to a highly decorative added element to the planting scheme. Ground cover planting deserves as much thought as the main stars of the planting show. Here are a few to consider.

 Vinca minor 'Illumination'

Vinca minor ‘Illumination’

Vinca minor ‘Ilumination’: This is a superb ‘periwinkle’ like all of the minor variates it dose not have the same thug like qualities as the major and this is a real star. A low creeping habit with dark glossy green leaves, and a striking central splash of golden variegation. With purple open flowers in early spring. Witch tolerate quite dense shade, will cope with almost all soil conditions except waterlogging.

 Geranium macrorrhizum 'Album'

Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Album’

Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Album’ : A wonderful, low growing geranium with a spreading habit and easily seeds. The soft light green foliage, takes on red autumn hints when it gets cold. Soft pink buds open to white delicate flowers from mid summer, dead head to prolong flowering. Will do well in quite dark shade and dry conditions.

 Euphorbia myrsinites

Euphorbia myrsinites

Euphorbia myrsinits: A lovely crawling ground cover plant for a sunny position on poor soil. Whirls of glaucous grey foliage spread low across the ground. Clusters of sulphur green flowers are borne at the end of the creeping stems. A striking plant.

 Lamium maculatum 'Sliver Beacon'

Lamium maculatum ‘Sliver Beacon’

Lamium maculatatum ‘Sliver Beacon’: This is a vigorous spreading plant, growing low to the groud , it can be a thug, so only plant where it can get up a head of steam. Mid green foliage with central sliver/white variegation.. With soft pink small flowers in early spring. Will cope with dense dry shade. Most soils, accept very thin and water logged soils.

 Bergenia 'Baby Doll'

Bergenia ‘Baby Doll’

Berginia ‘Baby Doll’: A valuable ground cover plant that makes crowed dense groups up to 20cm high. Of glossy dark green leaves and flower spikes of vivid pink flowers in early spring, sun to dappled shade. Grow in a humus rich soil.

 Hedra cancariensis 'Sulphur Heart'

Hedra cancariensis ‘Sulphur Heart’

Hedra cancariensis ‘Sulphur heart’ ( paddy’s pride): This ivy is the “Big daddy” of  ground cover planting. Ives are not just for large walls, they do very well scrambling across the ground. With large shinning leathery leaves of mid to dark green with a strong central yellow splash and cream leaf edges, this is a dramatic ground cover to brighten any dark corner. Will tolerate even dense dry shade and most soil types accept  water logged soil.

I hope I have inspired you to look again at ground cover planting and the many plants that fill this all important niche.

Valiant Viburnums

 Valiant Viburnums

Valiant Viburnums

Viburnums are wonderful shrubs, forming the evergreen back ground of the boarder, to specimen shrubs and much more in between, With varieties giving interest through out the seasons, there is much to recommend these fine garden plants.

 V. x bodnantenes 'Charles Lament'

Viburnum x bodnantenes ‘Charles Lament’

V. x bodnantense ‘Charles Lamont’: An elegant medium to large up right With mid green foliage and clusters of waxy blush pink highly scented flowers, borne on bare stems in December to January. Full sun to semi -shade.


Viburnum Carlesii

V. Carlesii: A medium sized compacted domed shrub with soft green foliage, with good crimson autumn colour. Round clusters of pure white flowers with a heady scent in April – May. Full sun.


Viburnum davidii

V. davidii: A small dense low mound forming evergreen shrub. With distinctive broad pointed oval leaves with well defined veins. White flat headed flowers in June followed by blue/black berries held well into the winter months. Full sun to shade

V.opulus Aureum

Viburnum opulus Aureum

V. opulus ‘Aureum’: A more zooped up version of the native ‘Guelder Rose’ Medium shrub with less vigorous growth and lime yellow leaves splendid autumn colour. Flat heads of white flowers May-June followed by rich red berries, thrives on thin soils. Semi-shade to full sun.

Viburnum Plicatum f. tomentosum

Viburnum Plicatum f. tomentosum

V. plicatum f. tomentosum ‘Mariesii’: This is a real statement shrub and can be planted as a solo specimen. A medium sized shrub with wide tiered spreading branches, giving it a striking habit even in the winter. Mid green leaves with dark red autumn tints. Showy wide flat headed white flowers, are borne raised above the branches in mid summer. Full sun.

Viburnum tinus 'Eve Price'

Viburnum tinus ‘Eve Price’

V. tinus ‘Eve Price: A medium to large evergreen shrub with dark glossy leaves that will cope well in semi-shade. Small pink white flowers are feely borne in mid winter.

scented Viburnum flowers

scented Viburnum flowers

Viburnums are versatile shrubs which are easy to grow and very hardy, They will grow in most soil conditions apart from water logging. Some will even cope with thin chalk soils.

I hope I have inspired you to look again at the shear range of plants and find a spot for some viburnums in your own garden.

Scent through the Seasons

A bunch of scented roses

A bunch of scented roses

Scent, is one of the great pleasures of the garden, whether, you turn a corner on a damp winters day and a get a waft from a scented shrub or plant your nose deep in a rose. Or sit on a summer evening and scent fills the air. It is something we all enjoy.

Winter: It may be hard to imagine, but there are many scented flowering shrubs in the winter, just the thing to cheer up the walk from the garage to the back door on a gloomy winters day.

 Winter. Sarcococca ruscifolia

Winter. Sarcococca ruscifolia

Sarcococca ruscifolia: A dwarf slow growing form, with upright habit and dense evergreen shiny foliage. Highly scented clusters of small almost insignificant flowers, that pack a very big scented punch in January to February, followed by small glossy red berries. Sun to quite dense shade. Good humus rich soil.

Winter Lonicera x purpusii 'Winter Beauty'

Winter Lonicera x purpusii ‘Winter Beauty’

Lonicera x purpusii ‘Fragrans’: A medium sized shrub with a shabby mound forming habit. Highly scented creamy yellow flowers are produced on the bare stems in mid-winter. Full sun and a little shade. Most soils.

 Spring. Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata'

Spring. Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’

Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’: A small evergreen shrub with a dense mound forming habit, emerald green leaves with a narrow cream band around the edge. Clusters of blush pink waxy flowers with a powerful scent from April to early May. It is one of the few Daphne’s that will cope with some chalk. But it prefers a good soil. Sun to semi-shade.

 Spring. Skimma japonica 'Fragrans'

Spring. Skimma japonica ‘Fragrans’

Skimmer japonica ‘Fragrans’:  It is the male form of this shrub, that you need. A small compacted mound forming evergreen shrub. Covered in clusters of creamy white highly scented flowers April to May. Sun to semi-shade, humus rich soils, neutral to slightly acidic.

Summer: spoilt for choice from Lavender to roses and beyond, the garden is bathed in perfume in this season.

 Summer Philadelphus Beauclerk

Summer Philadelphus Beauclerk

Philadelphus ‘Beauclerk’: This has one of the most pungent scents of all of the ‘Mock Oranges’, it can waft over the garden on a mid summer evening. A medium sized upright shrub, mid green foliage. A mass of single white flowers with a deep maroon central splash and a very heady scent. Full sun, most soils.  A must!

 Summer. Lavandula stoechas

Summer. Lavandula stoechas

Lavender stoechas: This can be a tender variety and may need protecting in harder winters, so possible plant in a pot that can be moved into a frost free spot over the winter months. But is is well worth the effort for its strongly aromatic feathered foliage which almost smells of eucalyptus as well as lavender. With small ‘eared’  purple flower borne in mid summer. A sunny spot on free draining soil, plant somewhere your hands will naturally brush against it.

Autumn: Scent is getting a little thinner on the ground in this season but there are still a few scented shrubs to delight your smell respecters.

 Autumn Rosa 'Geoff Hamilton'

Autumn Rosa ‘Geoff Hamilton’

Rosa ‘Geoff Hamilton’: Roses have a very long flowering season particularly in the South East of England. This delightful, disease resident rose, flowers right up to the first hard frosts. With delicate soft pink flowers and a strong heady scent. Full sun and a rich soil.

 Autumn Osmanthus armatus

Autumn Osmanthus armatus

Osmanthus armatus: A large dense evergreen  shrub with upright habit to 2m and above. Dark green spiny holly like leaves. With clusters of scented white flowers in the autumn. Sun or dappled shade. humus rich moist soil. Full sun to dappled shade.

 Winter flowers- Snowdrops

Winter flowers- Snowdrops

I hope I have inspired you to think about scent when planning your garden and at all times of the year. If you would like help designing a planting scheme or even a whole garden. Then I know the woman to help you, just give me Emily a ring 01273 470753 to discuss your garden project.

Go on Get Heady with the Scent!

Vivid Variegation 

Some purists don’t have any truck with variegation, but I think they are wrong. In the dull days of late autumn and in a shady corner, variegation can bring a vibrancy to planting and add an extra dimension  Here are some plants to consider.

 Euonymus fortunei 'Emerald and Gold'

Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald and Gold’

Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald and’ Gold’:  A wonderful sturdy evergreen shrub. With shiny mid green leaves with a thick band of yellow variegation on the edges. It is a small shrub and will grow in full sun to part shade on most soils, but will not tolerate water logging. It can even be trained as a good dense wall shrub.

Sadly there is no Free from copyright image to illustrate this plant.

Phormium ‘Maori Sunrise’:  A dramatic evergreen shrub with bold sword like foliage, which arches gracefully. The leaves are a mix of bands of colour, from soft pink, to red and cream.  A good statement shrub or for a focal point pot. A Small to medium sized shrub, grows on most free draining soils in full sun or a little shade.

 Pittsoporum tenifllium 'Garetti'

Pittsoporum tenifllium ‘Garnetti’

Pittosorum  tenuifollum ‘Garnettii’:  A hansom medium to large evergreen shrub. With a broad conical habit and beautiful foliage. Small clusters of wavy edged leaves in soft green with white almost sliver variegation, produced on dramatic black stems. Makes a dense shrub or even a small tree. Good to lighten the back of a large border.

 Cornus alba 'Ellantissma'

Cornus alba ‘Ellantissma’

Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’:  This is a beautiful medium sized shrub. With all the dramatic winter colour of it’s red stems and the added bonus of soft green and cream variegation. Like all dogwoods, very tough and will grow almost any where as long as it is not to dry. Sun to semi-shade.

 Mischanthus sinensis 'Zebrinus'

Mischanthus sinensis ‘Zebrinus’

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Zebrinus: This is a stunning grass which has the wow facture. Growing to nearly 2m tall. Its upright green leaves have thick horizontal yellow stripes, defiantly one for the jungle garden. Grows well in full sun in water retentive soil.

Iris pallida 'Varegata'

Iris pallida ‘ Aurea Varegata’

Iris  pallida ‘ Aurea  Variegata’: There is lots to love about this mid height bearded Iris. It’s scented light mauve flowers and its grey leaves with striped cream variegation add a little extra. Grow on well draining soil in full sun.

 Vinca minor 'Illumination'

Vinca minor ‘Illumination’

Vinca minor ‘Ilumination’: This is a wonderful new variety of the lesser ‘periwinkle’ it has been around for a few years now and is a must for a dark and gloomy corner. An evergreen ground cover, that crawls over the ground and will grow in dark shade in most soils. The mid green glossy leaves have a large central splash of gold. Small open purple flowers are produced in spring.

 Varigated foliage adds a splash of foliage colour in a display of containers.

Variegated foliage adds a splash of foliage colour in a display of containers.

Top tip: If you suddenly see sections of your plant reverting to plain green, then get going with the sectors and prune them out. Remember variegated foliage is not as strong growing as normal green foliage, so if you don’t act your plant will quickly loose all its variegation and revert back to plain green.

I hope I have inspired you to look again at variegated foliage, it is not just white variegation, but gold, pink and many other colours. Evergreen variegated plants really have an added bonus in the winter months. Add an extra touch of colour to your garden.




 Prairie planting

Prairie planting

Prairie planting is often short hand for a more naturalistic style of planting that started to be made popular in Germany in the 1970’s and 1980’s and by great exponents like Piet Oudolf and Nigel Dunnett among others. It tends to concentrate on using grasses and mostly but not always late flowering perennials. Hence the ‘prairie ‘ part of the name, using a lot of North American and Mexican native plants. Using a reduced pallet of plants that thrive on the same soil and climatic conditions and maintenance requirements. The plants are planted in bold groups and sweeps, with the odd accent plant (Piet Oudolf and the early German style) and Nigel Dunnett has taken the principles of the same habitat requirements and planted in a more naturalistic way, where the varieties are ‘scatter’ through the planting either totally mixed or the odd one or two together or a few in larger groups, to give a look that broadly represents planting in nature. So here are a few plants to consider, that work well in Prairie planting.

 Panicum virgatum 'Heavymetal'

Panicum virgatum ‘Heavymetal’

Panicum virgatum ‘Heavy Metal’: This is a top favourite of mine, possible because of the name? Stiff metallic grey leaves in good upright clumps up to 90cm tall. Powder blue flowers turn soft yellow in the autumn, up to 1.20m in height. Prefers a richer moisture retentive soil.

 Pennisetum aloepearoides

Pennisetum aloepearoides

Pennisetum alopecuroides: clumps of mid green arching leaves up to 75cm.With soft feathery brown spikes of flowers produced August to October that turn yellow in winter. Flowers best in full sun. Will cope with dryer soils.

 Rudbeckia fulgida var. sulivantii 'Goldstrum'

Rudbeckia fulgida var. sulivantii ‘Goldstrum’

Rubeckia fulgida sulllivantii ‘Goldstrum’: The late flowering perennials never fails to gladden the heart, it produced massive of buttercup golden  daisy like flowers with a distinctive black centre from August, right up to the first frost. Above mid green clumps of leaves. Reaching heights of 70cm. It likes a good moisture retentive soil in full sun.

 Helianthus Lemon Queen

Helianthus Lemon Queen

Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’: Sunflowers, what a joy in late summer and this is a beautiful soft lemon one, that flowers freely from July to September, up to 150m tall, planted in a clumps, so they have maximum impacted. And plant in full sun.

Solidago rugosa 'Fireworks'

Solidago rugosa ‘Fireworks’

Solidago rugosa ‘Fireworks’: this is a twist on common ‘golden rod’ and no ware near as invasive. It produced dense clumps from 1 to 1.5m, with graceful long racemes of golden flowers from late summer well into autumn, it likes a good moist soil, neutral to acid.

 Echinops bannaticus 'Globe Blue'

Echinops bannaticus ‘Globe Blue’

Echinops bannaticus ‘Blue Globe’: clump forming with large, serrated dark green leaves with white undersides, spiral up the tall 80cm-1m stems. Round thistle like blue flowers, much loved by insects from July to September. Will grow on most soils. Full sun.

Vivid Prairie Planting

Vivid Prairie Planting

Tips:  First decide what soil type you have and how, fertile it is and how moisture retentive it is. A lot of the classic prairie type plants, surprisingly like quite a lot of moister, I have seen Helianthus growing in drainage ditches in Kansas. It is important to choose plants that are going to grow well on your site and grow well together. It is important to decide which are going to be the thugs, and rampant self seeders, to  reduce their number and possible slightly contain them so they will not over whelmed the scheme. Remember the thing about naturalist/prairie planting, once it is established it is meant to look after it’s self to give it that natural look, so your choice of plants needs to grow well together. Watering well and weeding well in the first couple of growing seasons will be needed for the prairie scheme to establish. The joy of the planting is that although it is very heavy on perennials although there is no reason why some sub-shrubs and even shrubs can not be used, the planting is left to stand for the winter, giving invaluable resource to wildlife, but also the grasses looking great in winter winds and the seed heads wonderful in the frost and snow.

Then end of February or early March here in the south east of England, cut all old flowering stems down and most grass varieties to the ground, spread a good thick layer of organic mulch to help keep the moisture in and feed the planting and most importantly to help suppress the weeds.

 Prairie planting in the winter

Prairie planting in the winter

I hope I have inspired you to consider creating a Prairie garden or at least planting up an existing boarder in a more naturalist style. If you would like help creating your Prairie garden, do give me, Emily a ring 01273 470753, I would be delighted to discuss your planting project with you.

Sussex Heritage Trust Award Winner 2023

The Byre - Sussex Heritage 2023 Winner

The Byre – Sussex Heritage 2023 Winner

Sussex Heritage 2023 Winner logoThe Byre is a 13th C. grade II listed flint barn. It’s restoration and conversion and it’s surrounding landscaping and pond were awarded a Sussex Heritage Trust 2023 award in the small residential category.

Read the full story of the restoration of the pond, it’s surrounding landscape into a variety of different wildlife habitats and connecting the Byre and it’s new extension with steps and paths to the new garden, using local materials, in keeping with the historic building and the South Downs National Park environment.

The jetty after a few years of growth, leading out through the pond rushes to the water.

The jetty after leads through the rushes to the waters edge.

Learn more about the Sussex Heritage Awards.

Arcadia Garden Design, worked with the clients from surveying of the site, to commissioning environmental reports, designing the pond and surrounding landscaping, producing all the technical and construction drawings for the project from the steps leading from the Byre to the restoration of the pond and the jetty. Designing all the planting and carrying out the aquatic. marginal and bog garden planting.

The pond after a few years, the planting has now settled in.

Views across the pond to the Byre.

Find out about staying at the Byre – A luxury retreat, lovingly created from the restored Barn, set in the heart of the South Downs National Park.

Pretty in Pink

 A pink flower border

A pink flower border

The white garden and even now the hot garden and cool counter part, has been pretty much ‘done’ to death. So if you want to be in the vanguard of a new look, why not hit your dreamy feminine side, get all ‘Barbara Cartland’ and go ‘Pretty in Pink’.  Here are a few plants to get you started.

Hebe 'Great Orme'

Hebe ‘Great Orme’

Hebe ‘Great Orme’: A wonderful domed evergreen shrub up to 1.2/1.5m in size. With Swirls of long mid-green leaves and large dramatic spikes of bi-coloured flowers from rick pink to soft white. Mid summer. Any good free draining soil. Full sun.

 Syringa pubescens Subsp. microphylla 'Superba'

Syringa pubescens Subsp. microphylla ‘Superba’

Syringa pubescens subp. Microphylla ‘Superba: This is a lovely slowish growing compact Lilic. Getting to about 1.5m in height or a little taller. Small rounded mid green leaves. With small clustered mid pink flower clusters which are highly scented in June – July. Good soil full sun.

 Rosa 'Gertude Jekyll'

Rosa ‘Gertude Jekyll’

Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’: This is a vigorous upright rose, produced by David Austin. Up to 2m, also can be used as a short climber for a fence or arch way. Good disease resistance. Eye popping shocking pink cupped flowers with strong scent produced from early summer up to the frosts. Good humus rich soil with good moisture retention. In full sun.

 Anemone hupehensis japonica 'Prinz Heinrich'

Anemone hupehensis japonica ‘Prinz Heinrich’

Anemone hupehensis japonica ‘Prinz Heinrich’: This is a great end of summer perennial that will just flower and flower. The huge advantage is it is shorter than most Anemones at 70cm and much better behaved, it is less likely to spread. Flowering from July to the first frosts with rich pink open flowers and golden stamens. Full sun or part shade. To even quite dense shade. Most soils.

 Bergenia 'Eroica'

Bergenia ‘Eroica’

Bergina ‘Eroica’:fabulous low growing ground cover perennial. Evergreen with rounded leathery leaves of mid green that go a superb wine red in the colder months. Flowers held on red stems are a eye shocking magenta with a black central eye. March/April. Good humus rich soil dappled shade.

 Salvia hemorosa 'Rosa Queen'

Salvia hemorosa ‘Rosa Queen’

Salvia nemorosa ‘Rose Queen: Clusters of base leaves in mid green and a mass of mid pink flower spikes produced from May to August, this perennial earns its keep. Height 45cm. Full sun well drained soil.

 Pretty in Pink !

Pretty in Pink !

I hope I have inspired you to try something a little different, whether you decide on one particular shade of pink or mix it up, don’t forget shades of foliage and even pink new growth. Splashes of white can help to space the colours, you can go as mad or as restrained as your creative juices desire. Good Luck.

Don’t forget,if you want help creating an eye catching pink garden, I would be happy to help, just give me Emily a ring 01273 470753.

The Gravel Garden

 A gravel Garden

A gravel Garden

The Gravel Garden, was brought to public notice, by the wonderful gravel garden that Beth Chatto created out of the car park, of her garden in Essex. It has developed into a particular garden style, not only defined, by free draining soils and in full sun. But the radio plants to decorative mulch and rocks and stones. The plants tend to be more spaced and in small groups, so the individual habit can be enjoyed. The choose of mulching chippings is important, to frame the plants and large Peebles, rocks and stones can also be used, begging the question when is a gravel garden not a rock garden? Most gravel gardens tend to be flat or on slight slopes, with generous irregular shaped beds and winding paths, allowing self seeding to create the informality that is a hall-mark of a gravel garden. Here are some plants to consider.

Cistus dansereaui 'Decumbens'

Cistus dansereaui ‘Decumbens’

Cistus dansercaui ‘Decumbens’:  A good compact small cistus, with aromatic evergreen foliage. Wide flat open papery flowers, which are white with a big splash of red at the centre and golden stamens. Flowering June into July. Full sun.


Ceratostigma willmottianum

Ceratostigma willmottianum

Ceratostigma ‘Willmottianum’: A small open twiggy shrub, with stems that are red  with small leaves that turn a rich red in autumn. Clusters of sky  blue flowers with white centres are produced freely from late summer up to the first frost. Full sun

 Ulex europaeus 'Flore Pleno'

Ulex europaeus ‘Flore Pleno’

Ulex europaeus ‘Flore pleno’: A mound forming compact shrub with prickly evergreen foliage. Sweetly scented double flowers produced from April-May and into June. Full sun.

 Hebe 'Red Edge'

Hebe ‘Red Edge’

Hebe’ Red Edge’: A lovely densely mounding low hebe with dramatic evergreen sliver foliage which has winter tints of red and purple. The flowers are pretty insignificant and are small and white, if produced in mid summer. It is all about the foliage.

 Euphorbia myrsinites

Euphorbia myrsinites

Euphorbia myrsinites: This is a very unusual looking plant, it creeps and crawls its way across the ground. It is evergreen, with pea-green stems with sparsely produced green glorious leaves and clusters of pea-green flowers in April. A must for the edge of the gravel  garden. Full sun.

 Heleanthemum 'Wisley Primrose'

Heleanthemum ‘Wisley Primrose’

Helianthemum ‘Wisley Primrose’: No gravel garden would be complete  with out a mound forming and spreading rock rose. This is a lovely sliver leaved variety with soft yellow flowers from mid to late summer. Full sun.

 A very colourful gravel garden

A very colourful gravel garden

Top Tips: Gravel gardens require very good drainage and are best in a sunny spot on poor free drainage soil. You can help the drainage of your gravel garden, by adding pea-beach and horticultural grit. Also by mounding the planting beds with crushed stone or even crushed brick, before adding a layer or top soil mixed with gravel. Choose gravel and chippings for mulching that are local to your area, are you going to vary the sizes, so the paths are different? Decide if you are going to have groups of  larger stones as focal points in the planting or around specimen shrubs. Are there going to be large rocks at path junctions or as seats. There is a lot to consider when designing your gravel garden.

If you would  like help designing a gravel garden, then I know just the person to give you a hand. Give me Emily a ring on 01273 470753 to discuss your garden project. I would be delighted to help.




A Small Front Garden

 A small front garden

A small front garden

Sadly front gardens tend to get over looked, or just seen as a way to the front door or a car park. But a well designed and planted front garden can give both you and your neighbours joy as well as passers- by. It can also be a rich habitat for wildlife.

Most front gardens need privacy, either from neighbours or the road, so boundaries are all important. Move beyond the obvious fencing and add hedging as a living boundary which will change through the seasons and  be a home to birds and help to reduce, noise, car lights and pollution. Here are a couple of suggestions.

Hebe hedges

Hebe hedges

Hebe ‘Mrs Winder’: This is a lovely hebe with a good compost habit up to 1/1.3m in height, with dense evergreen foliage of mid green, which has winter tints of purple and red in the older weather. It has purple flower spikes produced in late summer July-August. Most soils, with good drainage. Quit hardy for a Hebe. Full sun.

 Berberis hedge

Berberis hedge

Berberis: x frikartii ‘Amstelveen’: This Berber’s makes a compact dense prickly hedge ideal of a street boundary. Growing up to 1.5m or more it has small glossy green leaves with a glaucous underside. A mass of small bright yellow flowers in spring followed by blue-purple berries. Soil with good drainage, sun to part-shade.

A tree is a must in a front garden, even if a small space, it gives height and scale to the garden particularly to balance a high house facade.

 Malus Everest

Malus Everest

Malus Everest: This is a wonderful tree for a small garden reaching 3/4m in time and with a compact habit of acceding branches, giving it a champagne flue like shape. With blush pink clusters of flowers in the spring, giving way to mid-green foliage on the light crown. Followed by rusty autumn leaf tints to its, crowning glory clusters of small red crab-apples which hang on the bare branches through all of winter into early spring. All good soils, not water logged, full sun, will cope with a bit of shade.

In a small garden boundaries are very dominant but they also have the advantage of being another planting space. Scent in a small space, particularly near the front door where you can enjoy it can really lift the sprit.

 Rosa 'Buff Beauty'

Rosa ‘Buff Beauty’

Rosa ‘Buff Beauty’: This is a wonderful ‘David Austin’ Rose all the beauty and scent of old fashioned roses but repeat flowering. Roses are wonderful, as they will start flowering in May and will go on even to Christmas depending on the frosts. This is a small climber with healthy dark green growth. With clusters of old gold /Apricot flowers highly scented which fade to a creamy yellow. Followed by deep orange hips. Good fertile soil which holds moister, not water logged. Full Sun.

Pyracatha 'Golden Charmer'

Pyracatha ‘Golden Charmer’

Pyrcantha ‘Golden Charmer’: This wonderful wall shrub can be clipped into a dense shrub to clothe a side wall or fence or cut to shape round house windows. A great nesting spot for birds. Also growing climbers on house walls has been shown to keep your home at a more balanced temperature throughout the year, reducing heat in Summer and heating bills in winter. A spiny evergreen shrub with glossy dark green leaves. Clusters of slightly scented white flowers in spring. In the late summer and autumn great bunches of golden yellow berries. Good fertile soil to poorer soils. Sun to part-shade.

In a small space every plant has to work hard, with long flowering seasons and or evergreen foliage so there are no blank and dead spaces in the winter months.

Daphne x altantica 'Eternal Fragrance'

Daphne x altantica ‘Eternal Fragrance’

Daphne x alantica’Eternal Fragrance: This is a wonderful small compact evergreen shrub with dark green leaves and a neat habit. Its main flowering season in June, but it will flower on and off throughout the growing season. Small clusters of waxy blush flowers are produced which are highly scented. Humus rich soils with good water retention. Full sun.

 Lavendula x intermedia 'Grosso'

Lavendula x intermedia ‘Grosso’

Lavendula x intermedia ‘Grosso’: This is a lovely Dutch Lavender with large sliver grey foliage on a mounding shrub. The attractive aromatic foliage is evergreen, making it perfect for edging the front path or drive. Long stems hold the large elongated light mauve flowers well above the foliage. Flowering in July and into August. The scented flowers are a magnet for a great variety of insects. Poorer soils in full sun.

 Hellaborus orientallis

Hellaborus orientallis

Hellaborus orientallis: This is a wonderful long flowering plant. Mounds of large evergreen palmate dark green  leaves make a compact herbaceous perennial The flower stems rise from the base in late December to flower, December to the middle of March or latter. The colours vary from, clear white, cream with purple spots, dusky pink, dark purple and to light green. The Flowers are followed by very attractive seed pods which last till May. Good humus rich soils sun to deep shade.

Geranium 'Rozanne'

Geranium ‘Rozanne’

Geranium ‘rozanne’: One of the best and free flowering of the hardy perennial geraniums a clump of mid green leaves are produce in early spring. A mass of clear blue/purple flowers with a white centre are produced from mid spring right through the summer up to the autumn. After each flowering shear of the dead flowers, to encourage latter flowering. Sunny spot on most soils.

 Small front garden

Small front garden

I hope I have inspired you to look again at your front garden and to make the very most of it.





Planting steep slopes and Banks.


 A stunning example of a sloping garden.

A stunning example of a sloping garden.

Although lots of people feel a steeply sloping garden or area is a hindrance and a problem area, they do have their advantages. It allows you to see a cascade of planting with different textures and colours, also most banks can be viewed from many angles giving alternative views. But there is no doubt they do have their planting and maintenance challenges. Here are some plants to consider.

Cotonester dammari: This is a must for all steep and sloping sites, this plant will grow almost any where, although it will not like water logging. a very low growing shrub that hugs the ground. With evergreen foliage of neat dark green leaves and small white flowers in spring, followed by blood red berries in the autumn.

 Ceanothus griseus var. horizontallis 'Yankee point'

Ceanothus griseus var. horizontallis ‘Yankee point’

Ceanothus griseus var.horizontallis ‘Yankee point’: This is a prostrate form of ceanothus with dark evergreen foliage and small mid blue puffy flowers in May-June. Grows on most well drained soils. It reaches heights of 1-1.3m or higher on good soils, and has a very wide spread. It will add a good splash of colour to a planted bank and may even have the odd repeat flower in the early autumn.

Rosa 'Snow Carpet'

Rosa ‘Snow Carpet’

Rosa ‘Snow Carpet’: This delightful rose, literally crawls along the ground with neat leaves and small clusters of mini white roses, repeat flowering through the summer into early autumn.

 Juniperus horizontalis 'Bar Harbour'

Juniperus horizontalis ‘Bar Harbour’

Juniperus horizontalis ‘Bar Harbor’: This is a wonderful low growing conifer, it may be a bit slow but it is worth planting. It has attractive blue green foliage which turns a dusky purple in cold winter months.

 Juniperus horizontalis 'Bar Harbour'

Helianthemum ‘Wisley Primrose’

Helianthemum ‘Wisley Primrose’: This is a wonderful rock rose, low growing it will spread well. With sliver evergreen foliage and a clear yellow open flower from May to June.

 Rosmarinus officinallis 'Prostratus Group'

Rosmarinus officinallis ‘Prostratus Group’

Rosmarinus officinallis ‘Prostratus Group’: This lovely shrub has evergreen sliver foliage which is low growing and spreading. With rich mauve flowers in late spring to early summer. With the added advantage that it is a good cooking herb.

A planted bank with dram from top to bottom

A planted bank with dram from top to bottom

Top Tips: When considering planting a bank, do look at how steep it is, will you be able to comfortably stand to weed and prune? Also think about the depth of the boarders on a slope, if possible you want to be able to stand on a path or step and lean into the planting to weed.. Particularly as most of the shrubs I have suggested, have a dense habit of growth and standing in amongst the planting would be difficult and may well ruin the shape of your shrubs.  So if it is a very wide slope, or very steep it may be advisable to break the slope up with a flight of steps with wide landings and possibly the odd path, so you can maintain your planted slopes better.

I hope I have given you some ideas and inspiration to get started on tackling your own planting bank. If you need help with your planting project or with any aspects of garden design, then I know just the woman to give you a hand. Do give me Emily a ring on 01273 470753.

Sliver and White Planting


Sissinghurst famous white garden

Sissinghurst famous white garden

The concept of the white garden was created when at the turn of the 20C  Vita Sackville-West designed her famous white garden at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent. No doubt many before her had hit a upon this winning formula, but as a prolific garden writer her creation hit the fashionable gardening titles and garden supplements of her day. The fashion for the white garden or just white border for those with humbler gardens was born.

Here are a few plants to consider adding to your sliver and white border.

 Pyrus salicifolia var. orientalis pendula

Pyrus salicifolia var. orientalis pendula

Pyrus salicifolia var.Orientallis ‘Pendula’: A beautiful small weeping tree, with delicate thin foliage held on graceful dipping branches. This tree will give height and elegance to a white garden.

 Philadelphus coronarinus varigatus

Philadelphus coronarinus varigatus

Philadelphus coronarinus varigatus: This medium sized shrub is a must for the white garden, with an upright habit and almost sliver variegation, and strongly scented white flowers in  mid-summer.

 Hebe albicans

Hebe albicans

Hebe albicans: A wonderful small compact shrub with a domed habit, this evergreen hebe is a must for the front of the border . With tight sliver foliage and small white flowers in late summer

 Artemisia absinthium 'Lambrokk Mist'

Artemisia absinthium ‘Lambrokk Mist’

Artemisia absinthium ‘Lambrook Mist’:  Has  fine feathery  aromatic foliage with a colour of soft grey. With clusters of small white flowers in mid-summer. It is a  small sized sub-shrub which can be a  bit tender, but it’s dramatic foliage means it is a worth while addition to the garden.

Convolvulus cneorum

Convolvulus cneorum

Convolvulus cneorum: A delicate small mound forming shrub. With soft sliver foliage. Small white blushed trumpet flowers are produced from mid to late summer. This evergreen, is a valuable shrub for the front of the boarder.

 Helianthemum 'The Bride'

Helianthemum ‘The Bride’

Helianthemum  ‘The Bride’: For a sunny spot at the edge of a path, or tumbling over a wall, this rock rose, has small grey evergreen leaves and a mass of semi-double white flowers produced in mid -summer. A good addition to the white garden.

 White and sliver planting

White and sliver planting

Top Tip: White is a recessive colour so it makes things seem further away, which is a good illusion to use in garden planting, It enables the designer of the planting to use white to give a stretchered and false prospective. Also white as a colour ‘leaps out’ of darker surroundings so is wonderful in shady spots. A Sliver and white border will particularly come into its  own  in the lower light levels of twilight and into dusk.  As wonderful as a solid white and sliver border may be, consider using splashes of soft mauve and light blue, intermittently through the planting, to help to add visual lift the planting palette.

 white and sliver , make for a

white and sliver , make for a dramatic cut flower display

I hope I have inspired you to get creative, if you need help to design your white and sliver garden, I know just the woman to give you a hand. Do give me Emily a ring on 01273 470753, I would be delighted to design your garden  project with you.