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The Reflective Garden

By Clare Agnew. Although The Reflective Garden is geometric in plan and structure, it was inspired by nature. Tall structural trees and flowering plants are in huge contrast to cool, still, reflective pools and horizontal groundcover.

Chelsea 2008 reflective garden

The garden is bounded by Carpinus hedging and bamboo screening and within it there is an eye-catching vista along the back length. Pleached Carpinus, roof-shaped Platanus and Cornus controversa surround and overhang three still dark pools, providing both shelter and structure for contemplation and relaxation. The pools reflect the trees and passing clouds and the edges are flanked by early-flowering plants and grasses that glisten in the water.

Chelsea 2008 reflective garden

The garden plays on two senses; as the eye surveys the reflective pools, the ear is drawn to the running water from the wall fountain. The movement of water is in contrast to the stillness of the reflective pools, which in turn reflect the sky and bring light into the garden.

Chelsea 2008 reflective garden

The planting is leafy and textural, with tall early-flowering plants and grasses reflecting in the water. Flowers are mainly creamy whites with a touch of warmth thrown in, planted in bold clumps and drifts.

Chelsea 2008 reflective garden

Strap-like leaves of bamboo and grasses rustle in the breeze with bold use of Calamagrostris and Buxus cubes. The stems of pleached Carpinus and six roof-shaped Platanus trees mirror themselves at the water's edge along with Aruncus, Rheum, Zantedeschia, Iris sibirica, Osmunda, Angelica and Crambe cordifolia.

Chelsea 2008 reflective garden

Planting list:
HEDGES
Carpinus betulus

TREES
Cornus controversa
Koelreuteria paniculata

SHRUBS
Paeonia delavayi var. delavayi f. lutea
Buxus sempervirens
Cornus alba 'Sibirica'

BAMBOO
Sasa palmata f. nebulosa

GRASSES
Luzula nivea
Calamagrostris × acutiflora 'Karl Foerster'
Stipa gigantea
Carex pendula

FERNS
Dryopteris wallichiana
Osmunda regalis 'Purpurascens'

PERENNIALS
Aruncus dioicus
Angelica archangelica
Ammi majus
Astilbe 'Deutschland'
Astrantia major subsp. involucrata 'Shaggy'
Crambe cordifolia
Cirsium rivulare 'Atropurpureum'
Digitalis purpurea 'Pam's Choice'
Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii
Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae
Filipendula ulmaria
Foeniculum vulgare
Foeniculum vulgare 'Purpureum'
Hosta (e.g. Hosta crispula)
Iris sibirica 'White Swirl'
Geranium phaeum 'Album'
Gunnera manicata
Leucojum aestivum 'Gravetye Giant'
Nepeta subsessilis 'Sweet Dreams'
Nepeta longipes
Pachysandra terminalis 'Green Carpet'
Petasites japonicus
Rodgersia sambucifolia
Silene fimbriata
Soleirolia soleirolii
Tellima grandiflora
Thalictrum aquilegiifolium
Trifolium repens 'Purpurascens'
Zantedeschia aethiopica 'Crowborough'