loose and vivacious

August 5, 2010

To visit a project, in this case a private garden, after planting is crucial. The first stage of planting happened here in late autumn of 2009 and was followed by that harsh winter. Spring was also cold so the second phase of planting was slightly dodgy too!

In this site, the areas around the main buildings are quite defined with a strong structure of hedging – some low that will remain as such and some that will be higher in a couple of years time. Above is a view by one of the main paths showing Eryngium tripartitum with an underplanting of Stachys. 

The sun so bright at 8 am! Here is Miscanthus ‘Grosse Fontaine’ in the foreground, which will make a lovely reedy sphere later in the summer, with Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’ and the inevitable Verbena. This perennial is hugely useful for newly planted areas – gives immediate impact  – height + colour – but can get quite dull if there’s too much. I think there is too much in this part of the garden !

Helenium with Sanguisorba tenuifolium alba and obtusa (pink bottle brush flower) and glimpses orf Persicaria amplex. ‘Atrosanguinea’ 

The exotic garden is still quite raw – the planting will rampage over the path edge.  The yew hedges need to be another 50% higher but already there is a good display of powerful colour and drama which was a requirement  from the client. He likes to spend ‘quiet’ time here. He likes plants with strong shape and form (loves kniphofias) – echiums will take centre stage in this part of the garden next year alongside Hedychium gardnerianum, Lobelia tupa and also Yucca recurvifolia. I am really taken with  a wonderful dark red Gladiolus papilio ‘Ruby’ and, of course, Ricinus communis.

The rose garden is structured and filling out. The group of Rosa ‘Lili Marlene’ in the foreground are destined for the exotic garden next year. Soft yellowy cream roses will take their place. Along the fence in the distance, the Chusquea are pushing up well ensuring that this boundary line will be screened by next spring.

The view to the south east – need more height in the border on the left – more delphiniums, I think. We always need to tweak things a little – move some plants and usually order  some infills – the first flowering after planting. The gardener here is totally hands on, reliable and knowledgeable and patient – this makes a huge difference to our job.

This where we need to add a few inky blue delphiniums and maybe a sprinkling of white as well. The deschampsia works well with the Digitalis ferruginea. Rosa ‘Celestine Forester’  will climb the green oak posts to give some floriferous height.

The path to the front entrance is lined with gaura – an old trick but still works really well – all the insects gather and hover here . .

  . . .  a gentle buzzing and movement of all sorts of wings. 

Like trains of cars on tracks of plush
I hear the level bee:
A jar across the flowers goes,
Their velvet masonry

Withstands until the sweet assault
Their chivalry consumes,
While he, victorious, tilts away
To vanquish other blooms.

His feet are shod with gauze,
His helmet is of gold;
His breast, a single onyx
With chrysoprase, inlaid.

His labor is a chant,
His idleness a tune;
Oh, for a bee’s experience
Of clovers and of noon!  Emily Dickinson

4 Responses to “loose and vivacious”


  1. Ho hum. What splendid and yet not too manicured order. You’ve done an admirable job. The owner must be very happy with a planting design that will clearly go on rewarding for many years

    Here where our garden is clawed from the surrounding farmland, and where the schemes evolve according to available time and finances, I sometimes lose track of what I’ve planted and where, at which point my schemes get rather eccentric. Weeding, hedge-cutting and mowing the verges, lawns and orchard paths is as much as our one-afternoon-a-week gardener can manage in the summer. (And not even that when the weather is against him.) I do as much as I can… two days last week given over to raking the newly-strimmed grass of the lower orchard… but there are never enough hours to do everything. Nevertheless the garden has moments of sheer, usually accidental beauty, when all the hard work pays off. And even when it’s lamentably hairy around the edges, I find myself standing dumbstruck at some unexpected loveliness. For example, when standing and fretting over the weediness of one of the shrubby borders of the lawn this morning, I saw a couple of this season’s juvenile pheasants stalking through undergrowth that had I been faster at tackling would not have afforded them such safety. It’s all a series of balances and compromises.

    Well done Julia. If I could have a garden designer then I’d be knocking on your door!

    • julia fogg Says:

      Thanks Clive. We will get looser with this project when we tackle meadow, pond and maybe hazel copse. The next area is around the newly installed swimming pool but fortunately there’s a good layer of ornamental fruit nearby and a Catalpa for height + structure. the catalpa may have suffered from all the movement of machinery close to it and piles of slabs leant against it!! Next year will tell all. It’s always easier planning others gardens than one’s own! I enjoy the mix of art + science – one won’t work without the other.

  2. Adam Hodge Says:

    Hi Julia What is the pale purple flower very close to the house in your 2nd picture..maybe more V bonariensis or something else ?
    Your planting combinations are neat !

    [I did some interior landscaping for you many years ago near Iver. Hope you ‘re keeping well.]

    • julia fogg Says:

      Thanks Adam, good to hear from you + yes, remember the project well. It was Lord Curzon’s estate – Elk Meadows – for a new arab owner.
      The pale purple is as you surmise Verbena which is why I say that there’s is too much but that it has great value as a first summer flowering effect.I’ll post some more images when the grasses reach their maximum height. J


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