Gar­den guru shares tips on how to de­sign a gar­den well

Talk of the Town - - Neighbourly Notes | Diarise This -


Draw­ing on a flip board, he sketched out his ideas as he ex­plained the prin­ci­ples of good gar­den de­sign.

“Good gar­den de­sign is based on pro­por­tion,” he said.

He spoke of cre­at­ing “rooms” in the gar­den so that on­look­ers are not over­whelmed but see dis­creet bite-sized gar­dens they can ap­pre­ci­ate.

McLag­gan said that us­ing the pro­por­tions of the build­ing and ex­tend­ing these to the gar­den would also give bet­ter pro­por­tions in a gar­den.

He sug­gested that if there is a win­dow in the cen­tre of a wall then the di­men­sions of the win­dow, in­clud­ing its height from floor-level, its width and height to the top, can be trans­posed onto the gar­den and used to block-out a sim­ple gar­den plan.

“Bal­ance the var­i­ous rooms you cre­ate. Sym­me­try is key,” said McLag­gan.

He also sug­gested that gar­den­ers should em­brace the cli­mate and know the times of the year when plants spring into life or be­come dor­mant.

“Use lo­cal ma­te­rial and plants, ones that are adapted to the lo­cal con­di­tions. Soil is the most im­por­tant thing,” he said.

Some­what sim­i­lar to the sug­ges­tions given in the “farm­ing God’s way” ini­tia­tive, McLag­gan sug­gested the no-till method.

“Al­low the com­post to lie on top of the soil,” he said, point­ing out that dig­ging spoils the high­ways that roots, worms, moles and other crea­tures have al­ready de­vel­oped. So, it is im­por­tant to un­der­stand the lo­cal con­di­tions be­fore plant­ing.”

He also spoke of bio­dy­nam­ics.

“Don’t worry about in­dige­nous and ex­otic plants, just plant what works and is ap­pro­pri­ate for your gar­den,” he said.

At the end of his very in­for­ma­tive talk, McLag­gan spoke of the moon cy­cle, say­ing it was more im­por­tant than the sun as, when the moon was full, grav­ity caused the wa­ter in the plants to rise.

“Sol­stices and equinoxes are very im­por­tant when plant­ing your gar­den,” he said.

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