A summer visit to 3 very different gardens that we have landscaped.

 

Encouraging Birds into the garden was important.

Encouraging Birds into the garden was important.

 

It is always good to go back and see the gardens you have designed, landscaped and planted a few years after the work has finished, to see how it is all settling in.

 

A journey down the garden

A journey down the garden

 

The first garden was designed for a couple who had a mature garden and were very knowledgeable and keen gardens, but as they got older they needed a garden which was easier to maintain. So the planting beds were reduced in size and planted with dense planting with all year round interest that would be easy to look after.

 

A wide sweeping path leads to the bench at the bottom of the garden

A wide sweeping path leads to the bench at the bottom of the garden

 

Also the narrow gravel path was replaced with a wide sweeping paved path, which was easy to walk on and less work to look after. A wide bench was placed at the end of the path, so views down the garden could be enjoyed. There was an enthuses on using plants to attach the wildlife particularly birds, So a row of Crab- Apple trees was planted, so not only could the blossom be enjoyed in the spring but also the birds could feast on the fruit in the Autumn. Bold and vibrant colours were chosen in the planting to cheer the sole at all times of the year.

 

The second gardens I went back to see were a front and back garden in East Grinstead. The back garden has strong lines of hard landscape and bold blocks of planting, giving it a crisp modern feel, with stunning warm Indian sand stone, and  the walls painted a soft yellow orca  and caped with the same warm stone.

 

The sunken hot tub garden, the yew hedges are still to reach their mature height.

The sunken garden with hot tub, the yew hedges are still to reach their mature height.

 

The sunken hot tub garden is screened from the main garden and the side of the house by Yew hedges, to aid privacy. The hedges have to still reach their mature height but are doing well after only a couple of years.

 

Views across the main dinning terrace

Views across the main dinning terrace

 

The planting round the main dinning terrace is in bold and dramatic blocks and squares and is beginning to fill nicely, the corners of the beds are picked out by low lighters, that give a gentle light pool and atmospheric soft light to lead you round the night garden.

 

 The front garden and sweeping new drive edged by generous planting

The front garden and sweeping new drive edged by generous planting

 

The front garden, needed a new larger drive to accommodate the new budding drivers and their first cars. So a larger circular drive was created, as there would be quite a bit of turning on the drive, gravel would not be suitable so instead a soft coloured gravel mix was used in a resin bonded surface. The colour scheme was pulled through from the back garden with the same orca walls and soft yellows and corals and purples for the planting. Clipped mounds of box and low Ballard lights, show the edge of the drive. A dense textured planting edges the drive set below the branches of groups of Crab-Apple Trees which are settling in well and making good growth. The trees give height and scale to the scheme. The front garden has a good balance between the needs for parking and generous planting to soften the hard structure and link the house to the garden. A wide path sweeps through the planting to reach the side gate into the back garden.

 

The third garden I went to see, was again landscaped only a couple of years ago and sits almost on the Downs on a very thin chalk soil. The new wooden extension of the house steps out into the mature shrubby of the garden which remained. The clients wanted a garden that was easy to look after and fitted with the down

Planting beds by the house give way to the informal lower garden

Planting beds by the house give way to the informal lower garden

land views beyond. So the design was to have a very light touch. A more formal upper garden was created round the new terrace just below the large windows of the extension adding to the existing mature shrubby. With minimal planting beds with soft country style planting

 

 An informal garden, views back to the house from the long grass meadow.

An informal garden, views back to the house from the long grass meadow.

 

The lower garden was to be much more informal, with few new trees and to become a meadow. As the garden is close to the Downs and the soil very poor it was decide to use a normal grass turf and allow the down land plants to seed and populate it over time, so that wild thyme, marjoram, ox-eye daisies, to name but a few would follow, which is beginning to happen.

 

 A newly planted Birch draws the eye to the end of the garden and the Downs beyond, in front is set the rustic oak pergola, so veiws

A newly planted Birch draws the eye to the end of the garden and the Downs beyond, in front is set the rustic oak pergola, so views can be enjoyed back up the garden.

 

Mown paths cut through the grass meadow leading to the central bird bath and on down to the rustic pergola at the end of the garden.

The meadow is under planted with naturalising narcissi,  to give early spring colour before the grasses and invading wildflowers get going latter in the year. The meadow is cut in August and the cuttings cleared to keep the lawn poor and encourage the next batch of invading wildflowers to take hold.

The garden is still very young but is beginning to settle down well and is much enjoyed by the new and keen novice gardeners who own it.

I hope you continue to enjoy your own gardens as Summer unfolds.

If you want to transform your garden into a new and wonderful space, then do give me Emily a ring 01273 470753

Quinces and Pears- The Noble Fruit

An orchard of pear trees

An orchard of pear trees

While apples are all about quantity and glut, buckets of apples for cider making, huge pies and crumbles and endless chutney etc. Pears seem revered for their singularity and delicate flavour, if there was ever a fruit to be carried on a velvet cushion it would be a beautiful, blushed perfect pear. The Quince on the other hand is an ancient fruit enjoyed and praised for its culinary uses from ancient Prussia to medieval England and although more modern fruits have pushed it to the margins, it still has lots to recommend, not least it produces a tree with a beautiful habit, a rarity in most fruiting trees. Here are some to consider.

 

 Pear Buerre Hardy

Pear Buerre Hardy

P.Buerre Hardy:  Pollinator, from group 4.  A pear that will cope well with the colder conditions in northern England. A strong grower with good upright habit and good autumn tints. It is dual use. Fruiting in October with large, copper, russeted red fruit, with an excellent flavour. Pick when still hard and allow to ripen in store.

 

Quince Meech's Prolific

Quince Meech’s Prolific

Q. Meeches’s Prolific: Self-fertile, with a hansom shaped tree, which is slow growing and needs no pruning. With delicate wide single open blossom white blushed pink, it is a beautiful tree. Large pear shaped fruit, October, with a dusty down finish. A regular and heavy cropper.

 

 Pear Concorde

Pear Concorde

P.Concorde: This well know pear is very reliable and partially self-fertile, although fruiting will be more guaranteed with a pollinator from group 3. This pear produces a good compact tree. Fruiting October/November with dessert fruit, which are born in clusters, Long pale green fruit, ripening blushed yellow. Can be picked ripe from the tree, or equally pick hard and keep in the fridge and ripen one at a time.

 

 Quince Vrunja (Bereczchi)

Quince Vrunja (Bereczchi)

Q. varanja (Bereczchi):A very vigorous tree, with all the habit and growth as described above. Named after the Serbian Pomologist called Bereczchi. It produces large very golden fruit, with a good flavour and is a good cropper. Fruit September/October.

 

 Pear Doyenne du Comice

Pear Doyenne du Comice

P. Doyenne du Comice: Pollinator from group 4. One of the best know older varieties of fruit, produces a strong growing tree, with vigorous growth. Fruit November/December. Large golden fruit, with slight russeting and a red flush. A delicious flavour, this dessert pear is a good keeper, lasting up to April in store.

 

 Pear William Bon Chetien

Pear William Bon Chetien

P. Williams Bon Chrretien: Pollinator group 3. Must be one of the most widely planted and best known of pears, it will even grow very happily on a north wall as an espalier. This dessert pear fruits in September. With large pale yellow fruit and juicy white flesh with a delicious flavour.

 

 Pear Shinseiki

Pear Shinseiki

P.Shinseiki: Asian pears, offer a delightful twist on pear growing. This early variety is self-fertile, producing at the end of August into September, round rust coloured fruit about the size of an apple. With white crisp flesh with an aromatic flavour.

 picking pears

picking pears

All pears do best in a warm sheltered spot. They like a good water retentive soil, they do not like dry conditions. Root Stocks, Pears are grown on either Quince A ( approx 16ft.)

or on Quince  C (approx 10 -12ft) root stock. They can be grown as stand alone trees or a cordons or as traditional espalier, up a warm wall and a more modern approach is now fan trained pears up a wall.

 Pears and quinces, making it to the table

Pears and quinces, making it to the table

Storing of Pears and Quinces: Quinces, bruise easily and even if you have picked the perfect fruit and keep it in ideal conditions, they just do not keep. Best to get going with the pies, jams, and fruit cheese straight away. Or peal and quarter dip in cool water with lemon juice, pat dry and weigh, bag and freeze for future use.

 

 Quince jam in the making

Quince jam in the making

Pears on the other hand vary, some it is best to pick when hard and store to ripen. All fruit that is to be stored must be without any blemishes and dry. Store somewhere with out strong odours, so not next to the stack of paint pots and the old tub of creosote in the garage. The store wants to be dry and ventilated if possible and most important of all vermin free, as the mice will love your stored fruit.  Then put the fruit on trays lined with tissue paper, so each pear dose not touch. Or if space is an issue then wrap each fruit in a couple of  sheets of tissue paper and stack in a box, 1 layer per box is best but 2 layers is the maxim. Keep an eye on your fruit, it is a fine line between a slightly hard pear and a ‘sleepy’ pear.  For a small crop, keeping the pears in the bottom draw of the fridge and just bringing a couple out at a time to ripen over a few days in a fruit bowl, also works well. Long term storage of pears is only for ‘keepers’. Others will need to be enjoyed ripened straight from the tree.

 Pear pie

Pear pie

I hope I have inspired you to find a spot for the ‘noble fruit’ or enjoy the ancient fruit of the Quince tree. Making sure you choose the right root stock, for your site and situation.

Enjoy!

 

Heroic Hydrangeas

 Stunning Hydrangeas, make great cut flowers

Stunning Hydrangeas, make great cut flowers

I say Heroic hydrangeas, as they are often the wall paper at the back of a large boarder or thought of as lining the drives of stately homes, but these shrubs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, lace-cap or mop heads and some in between and a variety of colours that change with age and even are beautiful as dried flowers.

 Stunning Hydrangeas, make great cut flowers

Stunning Hydrangeas, make great cut flowers

Of course over the years there has been a fashion for fiddling about with the soil pH to produce blooms of deep blue on an acid soil, a pH of less than 7 ( the lower the deeper the blue) less acidic and it heads towards purple. Pink and into deeper pink on alkaline soils with a pH  above 7.  Personally I think the joy is letting your Hydrangeas just colour with what your soil is and see how they change in  different planting potions, but of course if you have picked a “ Blue” variety and you are on natural to alkaline soil, the chance it it will not be a deep  blue at all, so don’t be disappointed. They need a good humus rich damp soil, in dappled shade, but will cope with full sun. flowering from July to the end of September.

So baring all of the above in mind, here is a selection to consider.

 Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle'

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’

H. arborescens ‘Annabelle’: This has been the hydrangea of the moment or the last 7 to 10 years at least as the ‘new’ designer fashionable one that started to pop up at Chelsea in main avenue gardens and it is certainly a show stopper. A medium sized shrub with a floppy open habit, of large white to flushed green flowers up to 30cm across freely produced from July to September.

 Hydrangea paniculata 'Grandiflora'

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’ 

 H. paniculata ‘Grandiflora’: A large shrub, with a mass of panicle shaped flowers of sterile florets appear in August and become a deep pink towards Autumn.

 Hydrangea macrophlla 'Ami Pasquier'

Hydrangea macrophlla ‘Ami Pasquier’

H.macrophlla ‘Ami Pasquier’ : a small to medium sized shrub with a good compact habit, a good mop-head variety with deep red florets.

 

 Hydrangea macrophlla 'Blauer Prinz'

Hydrangea macrophlla ‘Blauer Prinz’  

H.  macrophlla ‘Blaucer Prinz’: A medium sized shrub. A good mop-head variety, with heads that are shades of pink into deeper red on alkaline soils and shades of purple into deep blue on acid soils.

 

 Hydrangea macrophlla 'Lanarth White'

Hydrangea macrophlla ‘Lanarth White’

H. macrophlla ‘Lanarth White’: A small to medium sized shrub with a neat compact habit, one of the best lace-cap varieties. It produces large flattened heads, with central flowers which are pink on alkaline soils and blue on acid soils , surrounded by white florets.

 

 Hydrangea macrophlla 'Madama Emile Mouillere'

Hydrangea macrophlla ‘Madama Emile Mouillere’

H. macrophlla ‘Madame Emile Mouillere’: a medium sized shrub with large mop head flowers of white florets with a pink or blue centre depending on soil pH. With serrated sepals.

 Hydrangea quercifolia

Hydrangea quercifolia

H. quercifolia: This unusual hydrangea has, leathery deeply lobed leaves, oak like in shape, with a white underneath that turn a blistering coppery red in the autumn. It produced large creamy white shaggy panicle s of flowers in August. It is a medium sized shrub.

 

 A mass of Hydrangeas.

A mass of Hydrangeas.

I hope I have made you think again about these shrubs that fell out of fashion and were considered some what Victorian, they are beginning to be planted more widely and have must to offer, in fact what is not to like about Hydrangeas.

 

 

 

 

Native Pond Plants- For A Wildlife Pond

A large pond with native planting

A large pond with native planting

Most of us want to encourage wildlife into our garden and a pond planted with native aquatic plants is high on the list to increase the biodiversity of your garden. One thing to bare in mind right from the start when planning what aquatic natives to use, is that nearly all pond plants are very vigorous, so less really will become more! So that your pond has a wide range of habitats, grade the sides of your pond to create different planting depths, each of these planting steps will become mini habitats and will suit different pond life. Here are some natives to consider.

 

Starting with shallow water on the margins of the pond.

Mentha quatica

Mentha quatica

Mentha aquatica: is the water mint, with creeping stems and aromatic leaves when crushed and pink/ purple flowers in spring. It will be happy in damp areas and in water up to 150mm. It is very vigorous so better in larger ponds.

 Caltha palustris

Caltha palustris

Catltha palustris: King cup/Marsh marigolds, this is a much better behaved marginal shallow water plant, forming a compact habit, with bright yellow large buttercup flowers in mid spring. Planting from damp margins up to 50mm deep water.

 Iris pseudacorus

Iris pseudacorus

Iris Pseudacorus: Yellow flag, no wildlife pond would look right with out this beautiful native, very tolerant from almost dry soil to damp boggy margins up to 75mm of water. Mid green sword like leaves and a secession of yellow flower from April into May.

 

Medium depth of water from  100 to  150mm deep.

Butomus umbellatus

Butomus umbellatus

Butomus umbelletus: Flowering Rush, this beautiful reed has dark leaves up to 70cm tall and in May heads of dropping pink bells, borne on  thin stems that radiate out, like an umbrella, it forms dense clumps in water from 50 to 100mm deep, not quite as vigorous as some other pond plants.

 Menyanthes trifoliata

Menyanthes trifoliata

Menyanthes trifoliata: Bog Bean, this lovely pond plant creeps around in deeper water, round the base of reeds, with pink buds in mid spring giving way to white fringed flowers. From 100 to 150mm deep water.

 

Deeper water planting from 130 to 170/200mm deep.

 Scirpus lacutris

Scirpus lacutris

Scirpus lacustris: common club rush, this is a very hardy rush from the margins to deeper water, with rounded rush leaves in dark green. With a ‘fuzz’ of brown flower/grass heads about 100mm below the top of the rush stem. It may not be the most glamours plant, but it is invaluable as a habit maker in a pond.

 Sagittaria trifoliata

Sagittaria trifoliata

Sagittaria Trifoliate: Swamp potato, it’s common name dose not really sell it, it has arrow head shaped leaves held upright with white flowers in the spring. Suitable for smaller ponds. Water depths from 100 to 130mm.

No pond would be complete with out a water lily, and don’t be tempted, one is all you will need unless we are talking lake in size.

 Nyhoides Alba

Nyhoides Alba

Nyphoides ‘Alba’, is the native white water lilly, in any still water, but it is big so if your pond it only a couple of meters in size it really will be to big. But it is a beautiful addition to any pond.

All natural ponds that do not have moving water are going to need oxygenates. These can be very vigorous and it is important to work out the water volume of your pond, to work out the numbers you are going to need, most good Aquatic Nurseries will help you with this.. Here are 2 native varieties to consider.

 Potamegeton crispns

Potamegeton crispns

Potamegeton Crispns, curled pond weed

 Ranunculus aquatilis

Ranunculus aquatilis

Ranunculus aquatilis, common water crow foot

Planting tip: either plant into aquatic plant baskets or to get a more natural growth pattern, cover your planting shelves in screened aquatic plant soil ( this will be very low in nutrients and mostly clay and will have been screened for stones) and plant straight into the soil. It is fine to spread the pond soil on top of the liner, just take great care of the liner when planting.

 Planting pond plants in an aquatic planting basket

Planting pond plants in an aquatic planting basket

If you want to learn more about looking after a wildlife pond then have a look at November 2015 Blog also have a look at the portfolio section of the web site to see wildlife ponds that Arcadia Garden Design has created.

 A wildlife Pond created by Arcadia Garden Design.

A wildlife Pond created by Arcadia Garden Design.

I hope I have inspired you to think about creating a wildlife pond or replanting with natives an existing pond. If you want help with your pond project, then do give me Emily a ring 01273 470753, I would be delighted to discuss your project with you.

 

 

 

Planting on thin Chalk Soils

 

 

Planting thieving on poor soils.

Planting thieving on poor soils.

For most gardeners, the soil is the thing that gets us all most worked up, and thin chalky soil for most would seem a real challenge and perhaps a hurdle to far; but do not despair, because in fact there is a huge variety of plants that love thin poor well draining chalky soils. Think of all the billowing scents and colours of the southern Mediterranean and you already have a plant palette to build on. Here are just a few to whet your appetite.

 Thymus vulgaris 'Sliver Posie'

Thymus vulgaris ‘Sliver Posie’

Thymus vulgaris ‘Sliver Posie’: this is one of my favourite thymes, it grows to  about 15cm high and produces a compact habit. With soft evergreen silvery leaves with cream variegation and light mauve flowers in the mid summer. It will do well in a sun baked spot.

 Iris 'Brathwaite'

Iris ‘Brathwaite’

Iris ‘Braithwaite’: Breaded Irises do very well on poor soils with good sharp drainage. This tall variety up to 75cm, wants full sun. it has grey leaves and stunning flowers with regal purple velvet uppers and soft mauve falls and an orange throat, flowers produced in May. It will flower well, where its rhizomes can be baked.

 Lavendula angustifolia 'Munstead'

Lavendula angustifolia ‘Munstead’

Lavendulea angustifolia ‘Munstaed’: This small compact variety has all the traditional traits of the common ‘English lavender’ but without the size, so is more suitable for a small garden growing to 40/50cm tall. With good evergreen aromatic sliver foliage and the light mauve of traditional lavender flowers produced freely in midsummer.

Salvia officinalis 'Purpurascens'

Salvia officinalis ‘Purpurascens’

Salvia offcinalis ‘Purpurascens’: Herbs are not just for the herb garden of the cooking pot and this is one of them. This beautiful evergreen purple sage, makes a good low growing ground cover plant, with soft grey/purple foliage and spikes of  small purple flowers in the summer, it likes a good sunny spot.

 Helianthemum nummularium 'Wisley Primrose'

Helianthemum nummularium ‘Wisley Primrose’

Helianthemum ‘Wisley Primrose’: is one of the best ‘rock roses’ there is, it thrives in dry poor spots  in full sun and it will happily grow on the tops of walls or the edge of dry Rockies. Reaching the dizzying height of about 10cm, with soft evergreen sliver foliage  and a succession of  round open clear yellow flowers from midsummer onwards.

Ulex europaeus 'Flore Pleno'

Ulex europaeus ‘Flore Pleno’

Ulex europaeus ‘Flore Pleno’:  There is nothing quite as tough as old boots, than gorse, it will grow on the very poorest and thinnest of soils and in the south of England has an unbelievably long flowering time, starting from late February through to midsummer and even a flush in the autumn. This variety has a compact habit with dense spiky evergreen foliage and  brilliant yellow pea like flowers, which bees love.

A garden of planting for poor soils.

A garden of planting for poor soils.

I hope I have inspired you to think more positively about your chalky poor garden soil and realise that there is a large variety of plants that can be grown and even thrive  on your garden soil type. All of the plants I have chosen happen to be sun worshippers but there are also shade lovers that will do well.

If you need some help planning the planting in your garden, then I would be delighted to help you, give me,  Emily a ring on 01273 470753.  Also have a look at the portfolio section of the web site to see some of the many garden projects we have been involved in.

Happy Gardening!

 

 

Delightful Daphnes

Delightful Daphnes in mixed planting

Delightful Daphnes in mixed planting

Daphens are a welcome addition to any early spring to mid summer garden, with fragment flowers over a long season and with attractive foliage and a compact habit. They are worth including in a planting scheme, particularly one near a path, so their gorgeous scent can really be enjoyed. Here are a few to consider.

 D. bholua'Gurkha'

D. bholua’Gurkha’

D.bholua ‘Gurkha’: A medium sized shrub, with a dense upright habit with mid green foliage. Clusters of richly scented purple to white flowers are produced from December to February, plant in a sunny sheltered spot to get a, long flowering period. The flowers are followed by black fruits.

 D. x 'bankwodii'

D. x ‘bankwodii’

D x burkwoodii: A small moderately slow growing shrub with compact habit and small whirls of evergreen foliage. Groups of pale pink flowers open white, with a good fragrance and are produced along the branches from May to June, it likes a sunny spot.

D.creorum 'Variegata'

D.creorum ‘Variegata’

D.cneorum ‘Variegata’: A low growing prostate shrub, that makes good ground cover, with vargated evergreen foliage. It is a vigorous grower and is happy in semi-shade. Dark rose pink flowers are produced in clusters from April to May.

 D. collina 'neapolitana'

D. collina ‘neapolitana’

D.collina ‘neapolitana’: A compact moderately slow growing dwarf shrub, with mid green evergreen foliage, grows well in full sum. One of the darkest pink flowers of any Daphne, with good scent produced April to June.

 D. mezereum

D. mezereum

D.mezereum: An upright small shrub, which needs full sun, it will cope well with growing on chalk. Flowers are produced up the stems in pink clusters and are highly scented, from February to March. Small orange poisonous berries follow.

 

 D. odora 'Aureomarginata'

D. odora ‘Aureomarginata’

D.odora ‘Aureomarginata’: a beautiful small to medium shrub with long glossy emerald leaves with a creamy white edge. Scented clusters of waxy blush to white flowers are produced from  February to early April, it will tolerate a chalky soil. Best grown in semi shade to full sun.

 

Bringing Daphnes indoors, to enjoy the scent.

Bringing Daphnes indoors, to enjoy the scent.

Growing conditions: most Daphnes prefer semi-shade, although some do well in full sun. also as a rule they needs to be neutral to slightly acidic soil which is humus rich which has good moisture retention but is not water logged. The one big exception to this rule is Daphne odora, which will cope with an alkaline soil, but it still needs lots of compost and humus, it will not like drying out and very poor soils, so it will be important to make sure it dose not suffer from magnesium deficiency with yellowing leaves.

I hope you will be inspired to add these worth while shrubs to your next garden planting scheme.

 

The Shady Courtyard

 A Shady courtyard garden

A Shady courtyard garden

In town centres, surrounded by buildings or the basement flat, shady courtyards are common as the outdoor space for a lot of town dwellers. They can be more then the space to dump the bike or keep the bins. With good planting they can become a vibrant and beautiful outdoor place to sit and enjoy. Low light levels mean plants need to be chosen with care. Here are a few selections to consider, whether planting into the ground, raised beds or gardening in containers, all will do well.

 Hydrangea anomala petiolaris

Hydrangea anomala petiolaris

Hydrangea anomala petiolaris: a superb clinging wall climber which dose well in dense shade. Deciduous, with mid green leaves and open ‘lace cap’ type hydrangea flowers in white, in late summer, make this a must to brighten any courtyard wall. It is moderately slow growing but worth the wait.

 Buxus sempervirens 'Aureovariegata'

Buxus sempervirens ‘Aureovariegata’

Buxus semperviens ‘Aureovariegate’: this is the variegated Box, with it’s delicate creamy variegation to the dark green leaves it will add a splash of colour to a dark courtyard. It has the added bonus of being able to be clipped into topery forms from the traditional ball to cones, squares and even a wacky peacock.

Vinca minor 'Illumination'

Vinca minor ‘Illumination’

Vinca minor ‘Illumination’: a wonderful evergreen ground cover plant, with creeping stems of dark shiny green leaves with brilliant splashes of golden yellow in the centre, to help add vibrancy to your dark space. It has the added bonus of purple flowers produced from early March to late April early May.

 Hellaborus 'Nigra'

Hellaborus ‘Nigra’

Hellaborus ‘Nigra’: This is a more elegant Hellebore than the common orientallis. With finer palmate leaves in a soft grey-green. With clear white flowers from December round to the end of February.

 Carex 'Evergold'

Carex ‘Evergold’

Carex ‘Ever Gold’: This as an easy to grow evergreen grass which is as tough as old boots it makes neat clumps of mid green striped yellow leaves up to 20/25cm tall. It will help to bring colour to a dark corner.

 Phyllostachys aurea

Phyllostachys aurea

Phyllostachys aurea: A superb statuesque clump forming bamboo. With soft mid green leaves and canes that mature to a beautiful golden yellow.

 A hansom shady courtyard seating area.

A hansom shady courtyard seating area.

All the plants I have chosen are moderately easy to grow and will do well in most soils with good organic matter added. I have chosen mostly evergreen plants to help green a courtyard space and give a good constant back drop, variegation, yellow and golden foliage help to lift the light levels as do white flowers.

I hope I have inspired you to get creative with your courtyard space. If you need help with designing your courtyard garden, then I know just the person to help you. Give me, Emily a ring on 01273 470753, I would be delighted to discuss your garden project with you.

Conifers: Little and Large

 Giant church yard yew tree.

Giant church yard yew tree.

Conifers in more recent years have been much maligned in gardening circles, with thoughts of the mixed conifer and heather island beds. But this is to miss out on a superb group of plants, that come into their own as focal points and structural planting in the winter months, here a few choice selections from very large to the very small.

Pinus mugo pumillio

Pinus mugo pumillio

Pinus mungo ‘Pumillio :A wonderfully hardy pine, which is so forgiving it grows in nearly any soil including chalk. Pairs of long needles in a bright emerald green, with a dense bushy habit. A slow growing medium sized shrub, with prostrate or ascending branches up to 2m. It makes for a great addition to any planting.

 Chamaecyparis lawsoniana pygmaea argentea'

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana pygmaea argentea’

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Pygmaea Argente’: This conifer has all the good growing habits of all lawsonianas. It is a superb selection, with a dense compact habit of blue-grey foliage with white tips. It is slow growing and possibly one of the best dwarf conifers with variegated foliage, a must for the front of a boarder or the rockery.

 Juniperus communis 'Depressa Aurea'

Juniperus communis ‘Depressa Aurea’

Juniperus communis ‘Depressa Aurea’: A good low spreading conifer, making excellent ground cover, with densely packed foliage. Leaves are a particularity vibrant yellow when young, going darker green through the growing season and it has good bronze tints in the winter months.

Cupreeus macrocarpa 'Goldcrest'

Cupreeus macrocarpa ‘Goldcrest’

Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Goldcreast’: An excellent conifer which is moderately fast growing and will cope well in coastal areas and is a good wind break. It is a medium sized tree, with a broadly conical habit when young, old trees broaden out. Golden sprays of foliage are densely packed, giving this conifer a striking look and is one of the best golden conifers, the colour is best in full sun.

 Picea pungens 'Koster'

Picea pungens ‘Koster’

Picea pungens ‘Koster’: A wonderful conifer with a striking habit, forming a conical small to medium sized tree, with flat tearied branches of bright blue grey foliage, a very striking addition to a mixed planting or great as a specimen tree.

 Taxus baccata 'Fastigata'

Taxus baccata ‘Fastigata’

Taxus baccata ‘Fastigata’: The humble yew, has lots to commend it and this fastigate form, just adds to those. Faster growing than most people think and coping on poor soils, this is a brilliant medium to large tree as a focal point in a garden or to act as sentinels on either side of a path, they add structure and elegance to the winter garden. Dense dark green foliage, acts as a foil to other planting, with a compact columnar habit.

Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca'

Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca’

Cedrus alantica ‘Glauca’:As conifers go they don’t get much larger or more hansom than a cedar and this is defiantly the one to consider. If you are lucky enough to have a garden, verging on the stately home size or a field or piece of land you are considering making into an arboretum, then this is the specimen tree for you. Remember you are planting it for future generations. It forms an attractive conical shaped tree when young and matures into a wide spreading specimen when older. The branches are clothed in whirls of deep blue-grey foliage.

 Conifers adding structure to a mixed planting.

Conifers adding structure to a mixed planting.

Growing conditions: conifers grow on a wide range of soils, some will cope with poor soils and little water, junipers for example, some will even cope with sitting in water, like Taxodium. Some will cope with thin soils and some chalk. But most prefer a neutral to slightly acidic soil with a good quantity of humus and do not like to be water logged.

They can truly be the back bone of the garden, particularly at this time of year and should planted much more.

 Conifers adding green texture to a mixed border

Conifers adding green texture to a mixed border

 

If you would like some help, renovating a planting area with a new planting plan, then now in the dormant season, is the time to get planning and planting, then contact me, Emily on 01273 470753. I would be delighted to discusses your garden design project with you.

Winter Gardening

The Winter Garden

The Winter Garden

Many may feel the depths of winter are not a time to be in the garden and the only type of gardening jobs that should be considered, are flicking through seed catalogues while sitting cosy in front of a fire. But the winter is in fact a good time to carry out remedial and repair work in the garden and get the garden ready for the next growing season.

 falling down fences

falling down fences

The first thing to look at is the garden boundaries, now that a lot of plant cover will have died down, check all walls, remove any large quantities of ivy, it is good for wild life so leave some, but it can be a disaster with old mortar particularly on flint walls. Also check fences and posts, that they will be up to winter winds. If repair work is needed, then while plants are dormant this is the time of year to have the work carried out.

 Over grown wall

Over grown wall

Now that it is mid winter, take time to walk round your trees and check all trees ties, which may have become loose in the autumn gales.

check tress ties

check tress ties

While large sections of the garden are dormant, now is the time to add a thin layer of garden compost or well rotted farm yard or horse manure, over whole beds or round the base of shrubs and trees, Also top up mulch on flower boarders. Be sure not to build up the height of compost round trunks and crowns.

 adding compost

adding compost

Now is the time of year to get cracking on pruning your Apple and Pear trees. Removing dead and diseased wood, branches that rub and prune to fruiting spurs, for full details on fruit tree pruning see January 2016 blog.

 fruit tree pruning

fruit tree pruning

Check climbing plants and wall shrubs, make sure they are tied in well and will not be pulled off the walls and fences in the winter storms.

tieing in wall shrubs

tieing in wall shrubs

If you have free standing structures in the garden like archways, pergolas, trellis sections, now is a good time to check them, and repair where needed also carry out any re-staining, while most of the planting has died down.

 staining trellis and fences

staining trellis and fences

So as you can see there is a lot of gardening to carry out in January, but hopefully you have planted some good scented winter shrubs and hellebores and snow drops which will cheer the sole while you work.

Winter Garden Magic

Winter Garden Magic

Happy Gardening.

Elegant Camellias

A mass of Camellias

A mass of Camellias

By the time mid-winter comes about with short and dull days anything in the garden that adds a splash of colour, is to be grabbed and celebrated. So Camellias, with varieties that flower from October through to April are a good choice. With evergreen glossy foliage and attractive habit, whether grown in the garden as specimen shrub or on mass or even as an individual specimen in a pot are a must. Here are a few favourite

Camellia 'Cornish Cream'

Camellia ‘Cornish Cream’

C. ‘Cornish Snow’: This lovely Camellia rightly has a AGM award. With a good strong upright habit which can become a large shrub. Delicate single white flowers with gold stamens, which are produced on mass.

 Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide'

Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’

C. sasanqua ‘Yuletide’: This is one of my top favourites, a medium sized shrub with an open habit. Flowers are borne in a succession a few at a time from mid -October until the end of January. Small single red flowers with a mass of yellow stamens, add a real splash of colour in the depths of winter.

 Camellia japonica 'Kramer's Supreme'

Camellia japonica ‘Kramer’s Supreme’

C. japonica ‘Kramer’s Supreme’: This camellia has a good compact habit forming an upright shrub. This Camilla packs a punch with large loose paeony like flowers in red and has a delicate fragrance, wonderful in an enclosed space or a pot by the back door.

 Camellia japonica 'Lady Vansihart'

Camellia japonica ‘Lady Vansihart’

C.japnica ‘Lady Vansihart’: this upright camellia has unusual holly like twisted foliage, which is a real talking point. With small sauces blushed pink flowers.

Camellia japonica 'Lavinia Maggi'

Camellia japonica ‘Lavinia Maggi’

C. japonica ‘Lavinia maggi’: A dramatic camellia which grows into a large shrub. Large double blousy flowers, some white, some, pink, some red. But most striped and blotch in all 3 colours. It is as if someone has had a mad Alice and Wonderland joke with a couple of paint pots. If you want a statement shrub this is the camellia for you.

Camellia sasanque

Camellia sasanque

C. sasanque: A graceful open habit, with sauce shaped white flowers with rich yellow stamens from late autumn through to early spring, giving a long display.

 Camellias grow well in containers.

Camellias grow well in containers.

Tips: All Camilla like a neutral to slightly acidic soils with a rich humus compost that retains moisture well but dose not become water logged. They do best in dappled shade but will cope with some full sun. It is best to avoid early morning sun so that frost covered buds and flowers do not brown. The important thing to remember is that even when they have stopped flowering they need a good water through the summer months and must not dry out as this is when the flower buds are forming for the following year. A good helping of rotted leaf mould and feed should be added as a topdressing after flowering to help with flower bud development for the following year.

 Beautiful flowers of Camellias

Beautiful flowers of Camellias

If you would like help developing a winter garden, then I know just the person to give you a hand. Give me, Emily a ring on 01273 470753 to disuses all your garden design needs.

I hope I have inspired you to add Camellias to your garden, weather in a boarder or a couple in pots by the front door. Enjoy!

Ornamental Bark

Mass of birch with sliver trunks

Mass of birch with sliver trunks

Birch Bark

Birch Bark

As the leaves finally fall it is the skeleton of deciduous trees that give structure to the winter garden and distinctive and colourful bark in the rosy lights of the winter can be a truly stunning addition to the garden and are well worth considering when choosing trees to plant.

Acer capillipes

Acer capillipes

Acer Calliopes: The ‘snake bark’ maple, this hansom tree has real wow factor at all times of the year, with the new growth a lovely coral red and leaves turning a strong red in autumn. But the bark is truly magnificent, the mid green stems, have vertical stripes of white to light green and soft pink shades. This small tree makes a good focal point for a small to medium sized garden. Grows best in good humus rich soil in dappled shade.

 Betula 'Jermyns'

Betula ‘Jermyns’

Betula ‘Jermyns’: A dramatic medium sized tree with mop headed habit. With superb creamy-white pealing stems and trunk, showing coppery coloured bark beneath. Good golden yellow autumn colour, any free draining soil.

 Prunus serrula

Prunus serrula

Prunus serrula: ‘The Tibetan cheery’, this beautiful small tree has a lot going for it and is a great addition to a small garden. It has glossy mahogany coloured bark, which positively shines. With elegant small white blossom in April any good soil that dose not dry out.

 Acer griseum

Acer griseum

Acer griseum: The ‘paperbark maple’, A striking tree particularly if grown as a multi-stem. With attractive bronze coloured pealing bark, with qualities similar to papery birch. The trifliolate leaves have wonderful fury autumn colours. A small tree, which likes humus rich soil.

Arbutus andrachne

Arbutus andrachne

Arbutus andrachne: the ‘Grecian Strawberry tree’: This small evergreen tree, is tender and needs a sheltered spot, to get it started, but becomes hardy once mature. With dark green glossy leaves and delicate bunches of waxy bell shaped flowers in a stunning red, it is a dramatic tree. The added bonus is the smooth cinnamon brown bark. It needs an acid soil which is humus rich.

 Salix daphoides

Salix daphoides

Salix dalphnoides: The ‘Violet Willow’ This is a fast growing and striking tree for a small garden. It will grow in most soils although dose not like drying out. The new growth is a rich purple which matures with a white bloom. Catkins are produced in spring before the leaves.

 Group of hansom Eucalyptus

Group of hansom Eucalyptus

 Close of Eucalyptus

Close of Eucalyptus

With deciduous trees you have over five months with out the leaves, so the bark is well worth considering particularly if your garden is small as everything you plant needs to work hard for you. I hope I have given you food for thought. If you would like help choosing and planting trees as part of a new planting plan, I know just the woman to help you. As the bare root season will be starting shortly, there is no time like the present, give me, Emily a call on 01273 470753, to discuss all your garden needs.

Keeping Everyone Safe- Covid 19

 

All government and local government guide lines and advice are to be adhered to. As much as possible, all meetings are to be held outside. This means entering your garden through a back or side gate if possible. If the garden can only be reached by walking through the house, then I/we will wear face masks.

Some sections of the meeting will involve paper work and the presentation of plans, this is to be outside if possible, on garden tables, or inside porches or garages or conservatories etc. If due to weather or the time of day, it means a meeting does have to be inside your home, then everyone present at the meeting should wear a face mask.

Landscapers and all site contractors will also follow all COVID-19 guidelines and best practice outlined by government and local government, at the time of landscaping. They will avoid entering your home as much as possible. If they need to come into your house they will wear a face mask at all times.

Clients Please Note: Due to the COVID-19 shut down and reduced working practices, some supplies of materials may be harder to source and there may be longer lead in times. Also work may be disrupted if a landscaper has to self-isolated, quarantine or is ill, due to COVID-19. Also, government guide lines may change without notice and work on a garden may have to stop. All of these things are beyond the control of Arcadia Garden Design. We will do our upmost to keep you informed if any of these problems arise and will be in discussion with you.