The idea for this page was prompted by a visit by Claire Takacs, the award winning Australian garden photographer, (click here for Claire’s website), for a magazine shoot in the garden on May 30th 2016, when Claire asked us what our dozen favourite plants were. We obviously eventually whittled numbers down to just twelve, which seemed to be the most significant players in the garden’s aesthetic at that particular moment in time. But a week earlier or later, and it would have been a different mix. Since we’ve tried to design and plant a garden with flowers and interest year round, we thought it might be fun to create a record of what these plants might be throughout the year. Some will be very familiar, others maybe less so, and perhaps readers might pick up the odd idea for a new plant, or new plant combinations from this page.
We’re not real plants(wo)men, honestly, and never plan in detail anything in the garden in advance on paper, apart from working out the annual spring bulb order. It’s all based on trial and error, and patient observation, combined with a fair bit of editing of mistakes. We really enjoy the overall sensory and artistic impressions that the garden has given us over the years, as well as its benefits as a home or feeding ground for other visiting wildlife. Partly as a consequence, there are quite a few common and native plants included. Minimising bare soil, and maximising floral displays, have increasingly become the most important features of the garden, since at its simplest, flowers support insects, which in turn support all higher life forms. Equally we prefer plants which seed naturally or are perennial, at least to some degree, since any soil disturbance means more weeds will appear. By the end of a year, this section of the website should become more of a complete record of our own particular paint box of really useful and attractive plants – subject to subsequent revisions!These plants then, grouped in dozens, have become our colour palette, which we turn to and exploit, to ‘paint’ our garden pictures. Usually tough and reliable, at least in our wet upland conditions, I’ll add a few cultural pointers to any of them that require a little more careful attention.
To make the whole palette easier and quicker to access, each fortnightly list of a dozen plants loads separately on its own page. Please click on the sub page headers.