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A Traditional Garden in the Grange

“creating new borders and refurbishing ‘tired and overgrown’ borders”

The situation:

A detached Victorian stone built property, with a large south facing rear garden on three levels, running down from the house. The ‘jewel’ in the garden is a beautiful water feature running through the top two levels.

The brief:

The clients, a professional couple with teenage children wanted to develop the bottom level of the garden, (30m long by 21m wide) which was a sloping lawn, with two narrow flower beds running down the boundaries, and an existing rhododendron border at the bottom of the garden, with a wooded area behind. The client wanted to add to the rhododendron border, and had ordered from Glendoick Nursery in Perthshire around twenty 2m specimens for delivery in late autumn 2004. I was commissioned to produce a planting plan with appropriate under planting for this area, and two large borders running down the side boundaries of the area.

We are often asked to produce planting plans for clients, either as part of a new design for a garden, adding new borders to an existing garden, or refurbishing ‘tired and overgrown’ borders. Planting plans can be the most complex part of the design process. In design terms thought must be given to form, texture, colour and seasonality, and the brief from the client of their likes and dislikes. However, consideration must also be give to horticultural requirements, such as soil type, aspect of the garden, (sun, shade, wind level, frost pockets etc), level of maintenance, and speed of growth and establishment of plants.

In keeping with the ‘woodland’ feel of this area of the garden, the new 30m borders were dug out with long soft informal curves, encouraging people to walk around them to enjoy the planting. A tree was removed, and others ‘crown lifted’ and an old hedge removed, and a new beech hedge planted along the west boundary. Maintenance strips were left next to both boundary hedges to allow easy access for hedge cutting.

The planting in the new borders was primarily of large shrubs with summer and autumn colour in flowers and leaves, for example, Philadelphus ‘Virginal’, Viburnum opulus, Enkianthus campanulatus, with some spring interest to ensure the area looked cohesive and several smaller trees were also added to the planting. Softer front of border smaller planting was added to give a more intimate feel. Spring bulbs were also planted in the lower area of the lawn, and borders to give a brilliant spring display.

The clients also asked me to look at other areas of the garden, where the planting was ‘tired’ and overgrown. An area of the water feature was totally overgrown with conifers and these were removed to reveal it, and soft waterside planting added to compliment the feature. Next to it was a rose bed, and this was dug up and a new rockery bed established with existing stone from the garden.

On such a large project a number of people were involved, in addition to ourselves, Polley Garden Design:-

Plants supplied through Kevock Garden Plants, working in conjunction with Polley Garden Design. www.kevockgarden.co.uk

DeLisle Wood Chipper Hire & Site Clearance - tree work and conifer/hedge removal. www.delislegroup.com

Wild at Heart Gardens - pruning of specimen shrubs. www.wildatheartgardening.co.uk

Water Gems - refurbishment/maintenance work on water feature. www.watergems.co.uk

Alasdair Cooper - building/planting of rockery. Tel: 07814-642766

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