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The Sundial Garden

Designed by Tara Dalton of Tara Dalton Garden Design. The house is a 1920s Arts and Crafts style house in a stunning position with sweeping views of the Weald. It is a large garden of approximately two acres with a paddock and large wildlife pond.

The Sundial Garden in Kent by garden designer Tara Dalton

The area of the garden that the client asked Tara to redesign was called the sundial garden. It was already quite pretty with some lovely lupins and poppies and it comprises a set of 8 beds, all approximately 3.5m x 3m in a rectangle with grass paths between them, in pairs of two – four beds on either side of the sundial in the middle. The area is beside the end of the house that the client has lovingly restored and faces south with the stunning view in the background. It is surrounded by a clipped evergreen hedge of Lonicera. Over the years some things had started to dominate and it needed tweaking to bring it back to its former glory.

The Sundial Garden in Kent by garden designer Tara Dalton

There were lots of great plants that we wanted to save and reuse and we spent September/October lifting and dividing plants.  Luckily, there is a large terrace where we could store the plants until we were ready to replant them or decide where to move them to. Some of the larger shrubs stayed in the beds – for example, Cistus purpurea in a vibrant pink and a few old white standard roses which we didn’t move. There were also lots of Lupins, Lysimachia with wonderful purple leaves, Stachys byzanitium and geraniums that we wanted to keep and reuse but there was also a lot of self-seeded verbena bonariensis, day lilies and a large-leaved purple salvia that seemed to be taking over. The whole area was dug over and compost added before we started planting in November/December using many of the plants that had been lifted and divided and adding many more including lots of bulbs.

The Sundial Garden in Kent by garden designer Tara Dalton

Tara wanted to add more lupins as they seemed to do so well there as well as adding peonies and bulbs for spring interest and more dahlias for autumn colour. We brought in more roses – a lovely dark purple David Austin rose that I love called Mustead Wood that has a wonderful scent, Pittosporum Tom Thumb topiary balls for winter interest and Stipa lessingiana which is a soft floaty grass that goes very well with Nepeta. The colours in summer are vibrant with a predominance of pinks and purples.

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Designed by Tara Dalton