A sea­side gar­den with colour­ful per­form­ers

Amateur Gardening - - Contents -

Aglo­ri­ous gar­den in sunny Bournemouth is a theatre for plants thanks to Bar­bara Hutchin­son and Mike roberts. You can see most of the plot in one sweep as it re­veals waves of colour from bright flowerbeds and dis­tinc­tive fea­ture plants, all care­fully tended and beau­ti­fully pre­sented, ready to take their bow.

Mike says: “The gar­den was flat, so we wanted to in­tro­duce some height. We’d

“I go on a slug hunt with a torch”

planned to have a pond, and when it was dug out the spoil was piled on one side to make a raised bank.” With this in place, flowerbeds were cut in the lawn and a per­gola erected.

“i think gar­dens re­flect peo­ples’ per­son­al­ity,” says Bar­bara. “i’m fussy and i move things around un­til i get them just right. Dahlias are per­fect for my style of gar­den­ing.”

“We’re largely or­ganic,” adds Mike. “We use a few slug pel­lets to pro­tect cher­ished plants, but i also go on a slug hunt with a torch ev­ery night. They get fed to Dave, the big coi carp in the pond, and he loves them!”

A mag­nif­i­cent brug­man­sia in a

huge pot on the pa­tio is the va­ri­ety ‘Herzen­brucke’. “The flow­ers smell re­ally good,” says Bar­bara, “I grew it from a cut­ting I was given at a gar­den open day.”

Tak­ing cut­tings has not only saved a for­tune in buy­ing plants, but also re­sulted in sub­tle rep­e­ti­tion through­out the plot, help­ing to bring a great sense of bal­ance to the plant­ing.

“The gar­den has evolved largely through peo­ple giv­ing us stuff,” says Mike. “We were given the Port­land Stone rocks for the rock­ery. More re­cently we’ve used hand made bricks, res­cued from a skip, as brick edg­ing around the lawn.

To the front of the prop­erty a court­yard is shel­tered from the road by a tall beech hedge. Bar­bara says: “As it’s south­fac­ing we wanted it to have a trop­i­cal feel with lots of hot colours.” It’s home to can­nas, dahlias, a ser­pent-like trum­pet vine, gi­ant Turk’s cap lilies and a mag­nif­i­cent Aeo­nium ‘Zwart­cop’ which came from a visit to Tresco gar­den on the Scilly Isles. Mike ad­vises: “When you take cut­tings from aeo­ni­ums you have to let the ends dry out be­fore putting them in com­post, or they just rot.”

Asked how they would sum up their gar­den, Bar­bara says: “tran­quil”, while Mike’s of­fer­ing is: “full!” Ei­ther way, when open for char­ity, it’s a plot that the vis­it­ing au­di­ence is un­likely to for­get.

Edg­ing around the lawn at Rich­mond Park Av­enue is made up from bricks found in a skip, Set to the same level as the grass it makes mow­ing easy and keeps the edges tidy with­out any ef­fort

Beau­ti­ful and sweetly scented flow­er­ing plants like Brug­man­sia ‘Herzen­brucke’ are ideal for a po­si­tion close to a seat­ing area Don’t waste any­thing. Spoil dug out to cre­ate a pond can be used to add height and cre­ate con­tours else­where

Make a fea­ture even of small plants. This slate bed close to the pond frames an Acer pal­ma­tum given by a friend. It’s flanked by Zin­nia ‘Starlight Rose’ that Bar­bara grows from seeds saved from the plants each year

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