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Shady Town Garden


The client for this scheme is a professional photographer, highly creative with a very good eye for colour and detail. The layout was existing, having been landscaped 2-3 years previously.  The client had then moved abroad and rented the property.  Unfortunately, many of the plants from the first planting did not survive so the garden was quite empty and bare apart from some very strong structure.  The soil was heavy London clay that needed much improving. The client had a huge array of pots which needed some thought on grouping.

Design Brief

 My brief was to create a planting scheme for her shady garden to include a sophisticated plant palette of green, purple and white with year round interest.  Plants had to withstand the clay soil which is claggy, heavy, cold and wet in the winter whilst cracking open and drying out totally in the summer.  Ornamentation was to be used to increase the interest within this small garden.

Garden Design

First up was the soil improvement which we tackled with sacks of organic matter dug through with a slow release fertiliser to give the new plants a good start.

By planting diagonally across the garden, I created expansive triangles and a sense of rhythm using groups of ferns, purple Heucheras, Alchemilla, Hellebores, Gillenia, Actaea and white Digitalis (Foxgloves).  I also repeated three purple Acers in silver tubs as features.

I turned the disused children’s tree house into a platform for an interesting collection of pots when viewed from below looking up through the foliage, and giving a height interest from the patio.  Bulbs were used extensively to bridge the seasons, such as Galanthus (Snowdrops), Leucojum (Giant Snowflake), Tulips, Narcissus and Cyclamen.

This garden was open under the National Gardens Scheme in 2017 and 2018.