A year in the life

PINK: Roses are a romantic touch

PINK: Roses are a romantic touch

First published in Gardening

VISITORS to this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show (May 22 to 26) will no doubt see spring flowers in bloom long after their natural flowering period, while late summer perennials and other flowering plants will be brought forward in artificial conditions to ensure they are flowering for the event.

But Arne Maynard, garden designer of the Laurent-Perrier Bicentenary Garden at this year’s show, says his aim is to create a usable gardeners’ garden that works through all seasons.

It’s his second garden for Chelsea and Maynard said: “The garden is designed to be an inspirational yet achievable realisation of enduring elegance – something that can be grown and enjoyed in a real situation. It will bear fruit and provide flowers throughout the year, with each element having its time to shine.”

Low-level topiary and pleached copper beech trees provide structure and beautiful colour all year round, as the copper beech leaves turn a stunning golden colour over winter.

Rich, deep burgundy, soft pinks and pale lilacs make up the colour scheme and plants which add a romantic veil during the summer months include roses, poppies, salvias, geraniums and dianthus.

“Creating a garden with yearround interest, for most gardeners, is a gradual process,”

he said. “It takes time to gather plants that work well in the different aspects of a garden and to work out successful plant combinations.”

He offers these tips to create a garden with year-round interest.

UNDERSTAND YOUR GARDEN.

Look at its aspect, soil type and consider the effect you are hoping to create. Your choice, whether it be a neat, clipped look, or a billowy, natural feel, will affect your choice of plants.

VISIT A LOCAL NURSERY OR GARDEN CENTRE EVERY MONTH FOR IDEAS.

Look for colours that will suit a particular area of your garden and include flowers and foliage.

LOOK FOR PLANTS THAT SEEM TO THRIVE IN NEIGHBOURS’ GARDENS.

Also look for those that appear naturalised in hedgerows or fields.

DON’T BE AFRAID OF TREES.

Even in small gardens, a wellplaced tree can set everything else off.

KEEP YOUR PLANTING SCHEME TIGHT.

Either choose a colour scheme or a limited palette of plants, to ensure your garden feels like one whole space rather than a series of separate spaces. Repeat a few plants throughout the scheme to give the garden an elegant simplicity.

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