My Garden – Planting – It’s getting exciting!

So spring has sprung.. or at least it’s springing! I’m not quite sure why new shoots and buds are so exciting but to all gardeners they really are! And in these times of ‘weird weather’ they are also, of course, a sign that a plant has survived the winter. Which I’m very happy to say is the case with all the plants that I planted in my garden last November and December. Hooray!

So before I get carried away with spring and planting lots of perennials I thought I’d do a recap on where I’m up to with my garden and the plants that I’ve already put in and why. You may need a whole pot of tea/coffee and a slice or two of cake to get through this one!

As I said in my last blog I want lots of permanent evergreen structure so when we look out of the lounge or kitchen window on a winter’s day there’s still plenty to see. And it has worked! Even though there’s still a lot of bare earth, we’ve been very grateful for the evergreens this winter and the Taxus topiary balls looked lovely with little snow hats! Some of the evergreens echo the overall formal design; Taxus (yew) topiary balls, Taxus baccata fastigiata (Irish yew), box hedging and Ilex aquifolium aureomarginata (holly) half-standards in stone planters.

I intend the rest of the planting to be informal and am trying to incorporate contrasts in form, texture and the shades of the greens. And, as I’m going for a mainly restrained, romantic, cool colour palette, I have restricted any variegation to white. Almost all the deciduous shrubs have purple foliage, so hopefully they will really change the look of the garden when they come into leaf – although they are an experiment in such a shady garden and may not produce the dramatic contrast in foliage that I have in my ideal mind’s eye!

So here’s a summary of the remainder of the plants that are in so far – the photos aren’t the best but I hope they give you a good idea.

Bed 1 – Left hand bed nearest house – Mainly shade. Rear of bed (left to right): Mahonia x media ‘Charity’ (architectural, winter colour, scent), underplanting – Pachysandra terminalis (evergreen, ground cover) Gap left for a Hydrangea – possibly the compact, green-flowered ‘Bombshell’, Choisya x dewitteana ‘Aztec Pearl’ (white flowers, scent) & Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’ (purple foliage, pale pink but unobtrusive flowers) you can’t see it in the pic, but it is there!

Bed 1 – Mid bed – Viburnum davidii (low growing, mounded form – visual anchor), Helleborus argutifolius (glaucous architectural foliage, white to pale green flowers) & Euonymus ‘Kathy’ (upright larger leafed form with white-edged foliage).

Bed 2 – Left hand bed furthest from house – Mainly shade. Rear of bed (bottom to top): Sambucus nigra ‘Black Lace’ (disected purple foliage – unobtrusive flowers), Aucuba japonica ‘Rozannie’ (plain dark green glossy foliage), more Pachysandra underplanting. Gap for another white flowering Hydrangea – though I may change my mind! Skimmia confusa ‘Kew Green’ (compact, mounded shape for the corner – can you tell I like green flowers?!).  Mid bed: Euonymus ‘Kathy’ & Viburnum davidii repeated.

Bed 3 – Right hand bed furthest from house. Sunniest bed. Rear of bed (left to right): Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’ (purple lollipop foliage, unobtrustive flowers), Cornus alba ‘Sibirica Variegata’ (white/cream edged foliage, winter stem interest), Eleagnus x ebbingei (glaucous foliage – am intending some silver plants in this bed), Osmanthus x burkwoodii (dark green foliage, white scented flowers in spring). Mid bed: Gap on left for something small and evergreen, right; Euonymus (you guessed it) ‘Kathy’ repeated.

Bed 4 – Right hand bed nearest house. Mainly shade/some sun. Rear of bed (left to right): Aucuba japonica ‘Rozannie’ repeated, Acanthus mollis ‘Alba’ (architectural foliage and flower spikes, white form), Viburnum tinus ‘Eve Price’ (long flowering period winter & spring, pale pink to white), Sambucus nigra ‘Black Lace’ repeated. Mid bed: Left – gap for something evergreen, right; it’s that ‘Kathy’ again!

And… (nearly there now, phew.. plant Marathon!) last but not least please meet the climbers, which have been planted on each side of both arches…

the evergreen honeysuckle – Lonicera japonica ‘Halliana’ (to permanently ‘clothe’ the arches, white & pale yellow flowers, scent), Rosa ‘Madame Alfred Carrière’ (almost white flowers, shade tolerant, free flowering, scent) & Clematis ‘Etoile Violette’ (masses of deep purple flowers late summer & reliable) hopefully looking yummy with Mrs A. C.!

I’ve tried to use my head a little more than my heart by choosing shrubs that will provide a good permanent structure and a foil for the flowering perennials  without their own flowers imposing themselves too much. Well, that’s the theory anyway! Happy spring everyone!!

9 responses to “My Garden – Planting – It’s getting exciting!

  1. Blimey – I couldn’t take in all those plants – but what a great record for you to have them all itemised.

    Want to see it all in full growth!


  2. Hi Libby,
    This really is a good blog and well written. You certainly have done a lot in the garden. Keep it up. Me, Ive done a bit of digging, weeding and also put some poles/netting ready to plant some bean and peas. Will do a bit more at the weekend.

  3. Hi Libby,
    Great to follow all your thought processes.
    Structure makes perfect.
    It will make a great showcase for your professional life as well as a lovely personal space.
    Loving that hedge!

    • Thank you so much Robert for your lovely comments, very much appreciated.

      I agree about structure and am so glad now that I’ve included more than a third evergreen, and there will be more in some of the perennials. For various reasons (road noise, horrible farmer neighbour) we really don’t sit in the garden all that much & mainly view the garden from inside the house – so it’s important that it has good permanent structure. And it looks fab in the snow!

      Yes, I love the beech hedge too; looks amazing in the winter sun that we do get. It’s rather late coming into leaf of course and has a lot of thickening up to do yet, but I do feel it was ultimately the right choice.

      Thanks again and best to you,


  4. Libby, it’s great to read blog posts about what designers are doing in their own gardens, always fascinates me to see what we do for ourselves. I really like your choice of structural plants and look forward to seeing how it matures, and which flowers you choose to include. Have fun!

    • Hi Tracy,

      To begin with, I feel so privileged to have been able to start a garden from scratch; it’s also such a luxury to be able to experiment! Glad you like choice of structural plants – of course for first couple of years some of them will be outstripped in growth by the perennials and be somewhat out of scale, but it hopefully it will all come into balance eventually! I’m also aware that some of the shrubs have the capacity to become way to large for the space – but I am going to be very strict with them! For instance, the likes of Physocarpus and Sambucus can be cut right back every year and be kept very narrow if necessary.

      Thanks again for your comments and I am having wonderful fun with it!

      L x

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s