How to make most of city space

Belfast Telegraph - Weekend - - GARDENING AND PETS -

For city-dwellers, cre­at­ing a leafy par­adise in the mid­dle of an ur­ban jun­gle can seem like a pipe dream. To the res­cue comes Lon­don-based gar­den de­signer Michael Co­ley, who’s a pro when it comes to trans­form­ing city spa­ces.

Ahead of the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show, where he will be ex­hibit­ing a gar­den on be­half of Macmil­lan Can­cer Sup­port, here are his top tips:

1. Look for the sun — in a small gar­den, the spot where the sun is shin­ing at 6pm on a Fri­day in July is the most im­por­tant part — your de­sign must re­volve around that golden spot. Put some seat­ing there so you can en­joy your sun­down­ers. 2. Don’t be afraid to be bold — don’t think that just be­cause you have a small space all you can do is put a 50cm flower bed around the out­side of the area. Break up space with plant­ing jut­ting out onto path­ways — that way even the small­est of gar­dens be­comes in­ter­est­ing. Care­ful plan­ning will help you use the space to your best ad­van­tage. Have a list of es­sen­tials and fit them into the gar­den in the best pos­si­ble way. I try to keep my ma­te­rial se­lec­tion down to three — that way the space is much more har­mo­nious and less clut­tered. Struc­ture is key. Plant­ing trees gives any gar­den good ver­ti­cal char­ac­ter and re­ally helps to cre­ate the frame­work for a gar­den.

3. In­cor­po­rate self-seed­ing plants like

fox­gloves (in­set) — these will fill holes and cre­ate their own plant­ing plan without you lift­ing a fin­ger. There is a lot to be said for just let­ting cer­tain plants do their own thing. If you keep the edges un­der con­trol, you’ve got a low main­te­nance gar­den that has cre­ated it­self. Michael Co­ley’s Chatsworth gar­den is in­spired by the im­por­tance of legacy do­na­tions to Macmil­lan, which re­ceives al­most a third of all fund­ing through gifts left in wills. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit macmil­lan.org.uk/ do­nate/gifts-in-wills

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