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Using Umbellifers in your Garden Design

I took these photos of Cow Parsley around the lower lake at Sissinghurst.

Cow parsley - Anthriscus sylvestris- is achingly beautiful in a wild setting but not great in a garden bed as it spreads and is a nightmare to contain.

However a good mix of plants in your garden should include the umbellifera shape as it softens formal hedges and topiary, compliments other flower shapes like daisies, balls, bells and spires and gives a general frothy and floating effect.

There are lovely well behaved alternatives.

If you want height you can go for Fennel or Angelica. If you are happy to grow them from seed each year there is Ammi Majus (which looks good with Dahlias or Cosmos al woven together). Other Umbells to look out for are: Selinum wallichianum and the Sweet Cicerly herb- Myrrhis odorata.

If you have shady conditions look at Chaerophyllum hirsute roses with its lilac petals.

 

 

 

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Inspirations from Nature

Being a garden designer means looking out for inspiration wherever I am.

The combination of colours on butterfly wings, strange metal twisted by the elements, the intricate pattern on a Dragonfly's wings, a tree wind-blasted in Sydney Botanical Gardens and seed pots pregnant and ready to drop.

I tried to share this with my daughter recently- everywhere one looks, it can be beautiful- if not beautiful, deeply interesting. If you look at something for a long time meaning can reveal itself. 

 

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Garden Design- using Eucalyptus

Garden Design in the UK- using Eucalyptus

There are over 700 species of Australian Eucalyptus. These are some of my favourites that I encountered in Sydney recently.

Growing Eucalyptus in the UK

Normally gardens are not big enough for these giant trees.

But there are number of benefits.

When the trees reach maturity they have a wonderful open structure which allows you to have a big specimen tree without loosing too much light.

They are evergreen.

They have beautiful bark and trunk colours.

They give an exotic look to the garden and can be used in a tropical scheme.

For cut flower arrangements keep your Gum tree about 5 foot tall and regularly prune the new foliage- given you decorative leaves throughout the season.

The cons would be:

Don’t let them near your house or drains as their roots are impressive

They can drop leaves all year round so make sure they are not near a pool

They can look like amputees if they are not in the right place and you find yourself having to prune them. They need space.

Two Species for the UK

Eucalyptus gunni – 25 meters tall
Eucalyptus pauciflora niphophila- only gets about 8 meters which a spread of 4meters

Why do they shed their bark—‘decoticating?

There are different theories but the main three are:

1)    When the tree sheds its bark it also cleanses itself of lichen, moss and parasites
2)    Both the bark and new trunk of a gum tree photosynthesizes so if the leaves are burnt in a bushfire the tree can take in the sun’s energy straight away and start regrowing.
3)    The tree trunk expands and therefore the bark is too tight . Most of the bark sheds after summer though this theory doesn’t explain why all trees don’t need to do this



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Dutch Garden Design

For the last 40 years the Dutch have been at the forefront of very interesting pubic natural planting designs.

I came across this municipal area on the site of a busy road in front of some apartments near Narden Bussom just outside Amsterdam.

The key elements are large swathes of single species planting linked together with other swathes of differently coloured and textured plants.

Perhaps it is a little too bright and tacky on the eye but cycling past this every day would give you a lift.

The benefits of this style is that it gives the eye a place to relax into and it creates ribbons of movement that give a musicality to a landscape, working especially well in an urban setting.

Also it is very low maintenance!

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Garden Design - Using inspiration from all sorts of places!

Here is a little tropical garden we put in this week. The smaller the garden the more achingly important are the plant choices. It is harder in some ways that a medium sized garden where if a plant gets a little bigger than intended the garden can wear the extra growth.

Getting a ten foot palm through a small Brighton house was a challenge.

Also today, a mysterious flock of white pigeons on a roof in the town of Storrington, a still life of a humble apple, a door in Parham House, West Sussex (look at the black metal markings closely), the beauty of lines in an Underground station in London and lastly three different types of fungi on one small section of log.

 

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