Saturday, 2 July 2011

Rags to Riches

Quite a productive week has just passed. A meeting with the residents of the cottage estate in Mudeford has resulted in two very large planting schemes to plan and price up. Also, the residents of a very prestigious property in Branksome that I look after have asked for the main front border to be completely cleared and re-planted. We did this to the two large borders in the rear garden some 3 years ago, and the design has worked out really well. The picture below is of the centre part of the front border, to be cleared in August. The Laurel hedge, Arbutus unedo, Phormium tenax and large Hebe, along with many other shrubs, have all got to be removed, and we are really quite excited about the new design we are working on (Amanda is joining me in this one!).

On the other side of the drive is a border that once again shows poor planting design. Most shrubs were planted in three's, and in the case of this large Cistus, were totally the wrong choice for the spot. Next Thursday will see these three taken out and replaced with a single Chamaerops.

You may remember this new place of mine from a previous post. A property next to Poole Harbour that an existing customer has recently purchased and moved to. Our design changes to their old garden, which were extensive, were so liked that they have given us complete free reign to transform the whole garden, in terms of both design and budget allowance. Quite a responsibility to be trusted with, and so exciting to start getting ones teeth into. As a teaser, our ideas for the border below involve ripping everything out, putting in a multi tiered copper water feature (which we have yet to go to the Hampton Court Flower Show to discuss about with a designer), and re-planting around it with blue Agapanthus and orange Hemerocallis. Instead of bare soil, the whole border will be finished with grey/blue granite 40mm pebbles.

It's always a better idea to work a garden for a year before planning any major re-planting etc. This way it's possible to find out where the dry spots are, what is growing well and what struggles, how the sun and cloud change the appearence of certain areas etc, or just simply where the grass dies during the dry season. Such places as the latter, which are quite clearly visible in the picture below, can become extensions of the existing border, which itself will be completely re-planted with far more suitable and attractive plants, and again, to keep in with a theme, bare soil will become granite pebbles.

The house is of a very minimilistic design, and as a result the borders will be predominantly planted with architectural plants. Even the Agapanthus/Hemerocallis border, although very traditional and 'twee' in plant choice, will have all of the flowers on stems leading out of strappy foliage in the summer, and just the copper water feature and pebbles for the winter when the plants die back. This will probably be the only border planned around bold colours.

And so it leads us to the question of how to give an extremely formal garden some colour, and the decision has been made to use a selection of identical large stainless steel planters, placed in stragegic positions around the house itself. Two will be by the front door above, and several on the decking to the rear.

The borders above and below will be emptied and re-planted.

This odd bit of planting below will be taken out and turfed over, thus highlighting and opening up the rear decking (and the planters).

This piece of turf in the picture below, will have a blue and orange granite natural stone monolith, once again surrounded by granite pebbles.

And the rear corner border below will be completely emptied and planted with new evergreens, to give striking form and colour throughout the year. The whole length of timber fence, which is about 400 ft long, and varies in height from 3 to 6 feet, will be fronted by a Laurel hedge, which will be trimmed to match the varying height of the fence, to add abstract straight lines to the squareness of the house.
Of course, there is so much planned that I haven't mentioned, and no doubt some things will get altered when the changes start, but the ideas have to be put on paper to start, and that is where we are at. For now though, the existing garden is to be maintained until we are ready in the winter, then BANG!

By now it was nearly 3pm, and I had an awful lot of mowing to do at the large place in Branksome.
Up and down, and up and down the lawns I went, thinking of the evening to come.

We, along with about fifty others, had been personally invited by the owner to attend a Moet & Chandon Ice Imperial promotional evening at a favourite restaurant of ours on Bournemouth beach.

A spectacular evening of sunshine, good company, treaty canapes, and lot's of free Moet & Chandon. Sorry, but sometimes a cheese butty and a cup of tea just won't hack it! All very nice and civilised, and a perfect end to a day's gardening. I must admit that we left there a little squiffy!


1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you enjoyed your evening event!
    Thanks for sharing all the "before" photos. Looking for to seeing the changes. Those little patches of turf with sidewalk and/or buildings all around seem so useless with grass. Glad to hear something interesting is going in that one.