Summer Garden Design
7 July 2016
What embodies an English garden? A shed, roses, striped lawn, bird bath…and a gnome, according to new research! Apparently we're spendaholics in the green-fingered department, frittering away around £345 a year or £17,000 in a lifetime beautifying our gardens – mostly to upstage the neighbours' well-manicured lawn and bountiful hanging baskets!
This year we've worked with our (great) neighbours as our shared fence blew down in the winter winds. Admittedly, I was only going to spend money on a new fence and split-reed screening. But the fence project has spiralled into a garden makeover and my purse has taken a serious pounding - all because of Monty Don!
He said the garden rule is to have seven statement plants. So, because of lovely Monty, out have gone the odd assortment of broken plastic and broken terracotta pots I've accumulated over the years and in with (pricey) towering black bamboo, glossy castor-oil plants and spiky cordylines in funky planters. I've also invested in some new solar garden lighting and mended our broken water feature – think a drop of water going down a sink rather than Versailles. My husband has likened our patch to a Tiki bar!
Despite Monty's advice, it hasn't taken me long to go beyond the magic seven. I couldn't resist the new ‘Ketchup and Chips' patio plant, where you grow cherry tomatoes and potatoes in one pot. There's also an Egg and Chips variation with aubergines – perfect for my bijoux garden. I also can't resist the rainbow-coloured summer-bedding displays of Geraniums, Lupins and Delphniums in garden centres and will soon need to restock my hanging baskets which are looking at little tired. The lavender border is looking woody, too.... I may end up with 700 plants at this rate! If you're after some summer colour why not invest in a Summer Sunshine planter - a verdis-gris trug filled with fragrant bee-attracting Lavender, Petunias and Chrysanthemums.
Some lovely ideas I've seen for jazzing up your garden include recycling old sieves for planters, trying topiary and hanging mirrors to make the space feel larger. To attract wildlife, paint used baked bean tins and hang them up with string – they make fun bird feeders. You can also dot some bug houses around your garden for the children to enjoy
One thing to make sure of is that you use every minute of the 154 hours a year we typically end up working in our gardens. When you're groaning about pulling out the umpteenth weed, think about the three and a half months we've gone without being able to enjoy our outdoor space.