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Planting Schemes

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We have redesigned our garden (which was similar to a field)! Layout and hard landscaping not a problem but have you any tips about creating planting plans that will have interest all year? There are so many plants to choose from - we like what might be considered a traditional English garden with mixed borders. We don't want to end up with borders that are bitty and only interesting part of the year.

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  • Replies: 4
  • Posted: Wed. 25th March 2009 08:01

Planting schemes

Reply from Marissa Zoppellini

Hi Maggie, what a lovely prospect! My general advice is to start off with a backbone of evergreen shrubs on your plan, which will provide year-round interest. Too much evergreen will be very static, so the fun will be in the seasonal interest - this does not always have to be flowers, it could be berries or interesting shapes or textures of plants, an example is Corylus avellana 'Contorta' which has twisted branches and is particularly sculptural after leaf-fall. Summer is usually the easiest season to satisfy, so I won't make any suggestions for that. There are many different Clematis that flower at different points in the year, C. cirrhosa 'Freckles' is evergreen and flowers in late winter to early spring, Hellebores are also lovely during this time. Lonicera fragrantissima is a deciduous shrub that has scented flowers on bare stems around the same time. Bulbs are good for injecting colour at different times of the year and annuals are great for filling in gaps whilst the permanent planting is maturing. Another tip is not to be too hasty in tidying up in autumn, seed-heads of some herbaceous perennials and grasses are very attractive through until spring and also provide a winter habitat for wildlife. The RHS encyclopedia of plants and flowers is a great book for planning as it is arranged by colour by season, also visits to gardens and nurseries at different times of the year give the opportunity to see the plants in season for real. I hope this is helpful and wish you a lot of pleasure in your venture, all the best Marissa

  • Posted: Thu. 26th March 2009 23:41

Expert panel

Reply from Nicola

HI Maggie - just to let you know that in addition to Marissa's very good and considered reply to you that the experts will also be online to answer your question on the 8th April. I hope you can login then (6:30 pm to 8:30 pm) as they will be available to chat real-time to you. Many thanks Nicola

  • Posted: Sat. 28th March 2009 07:45

Where to start when planning a planting scheme part 1.

Reply from Mark Pumphrey

Where to dstart when planning a planting scheme. You have already realised the choice of plants is enormous and can be daunting.

Firstly you need to consider the look you wish to create. This is the style of the planting and will determine the way you plant within the beds.

Contemporary/formal schemes tend to use plants in bold groups using a distilled palette.

Traditional schemes have drifts of planting mixing planting in layers to create interest.

Natural schemes have planting that is both random and in bigger 'naturalised groups' and is the hardest to replicate.


Start your planning with your structural plants making sure you are mixing some seasonal interest within the scheme. Look at how the planting will add height but also shapes and texture. Consider views and how you see the garden. Add interest by inferring and obscuring a completely open aspect to the site. Do not ignore the fact that plants have interest even when they are not flowering or in leaf.

Then start to select your plants - consider the soil type and work with plants that enjoy those conditions and aspect. Take care when planning the garden not to be too Spring heavy as this tends to happen with many clients garden schemes we look at. Look to months when you will be using the site and where and use plants that will add interest to that area when you are using it. Scented planting to draw you in to the site needs to respond to the prevailing wind so scent is carried to you. As you can see there is often more to the planting than first meets the eye. Take time to compile your plan look at plant associations and how they complement one another with form and colour. Try to think beyond just the flower colour.

Mark Pumphrey MSGD
http://www.broadviewgardendesign.co.uk
http://www.sgd.org.uk

  • Posted: Wed. 8th April 2009 18:39

where to start planning a planting scheme part 2

Reply from Mark Pumphrey

There is a great deal to consider and without a full brief, understanding of the site and how you wish to use it I could not advise you further. I would suggest you may find it useful to call upon the services of a designer who has the knowledge and expertise to guide you in the right direction. A good source for designers would be through the Society of Garden Designers. They will be able to advise and plan the scheme responding to you and offering advice. Planning can save you money in the long run as the right plants will be used and the correct spacings for the plants will avoid you over stocking the scheme. You will also find the scheme will be more considered and less likely to contain impulsive buys. You will always add to the scheme so do not worry about the garden being taken away from you. A good designer will guide and work with you to ensure the scheme will be responsive to you.

Whether you do follow my suggestions I hope you enjoy the project.

Mark Pumphrey MSGD
http://www.broadviewgardendesign.co.uk
http://www.sgd.org.uk

  • Posted: Wed. 8th April 2009 18:40