Bring­ing some­thing ex­cit­ing to the party

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - GREEN SPACES -

know they will only end up ar­gu­ing with each other and fight­ing for at­ten­tion. And in the same way, you shouldn’t do this in your gar­den?

A big, showy hy­drangea along­side some­thing like an acan­thus is just wrong. Rather, plant your hy­drangea next to a vibur­num or cean­othus – th­ese are more pas­sive plants that will nat­u­ralise the showy flow­ers re­sult­ing in har­mony and avoid­ing you end­ing up with one dom­i­neer­ing shrub that stands out.

When asked: ‘If you were go­ing to be a flower what would you be?’ Laura replied ‘a poi­sonous weed.’ I sus­pect this may have been a de­lib­er­ate jape to throw me, but she has a very good point – a weed is only a plant in the wrong place, no mat­ter how an­noy­ing or toxic it may be (not you, Laura!) – it does have its place. For­get-Me-Not, for ex­am­ple, a weed in among my roses could not be more wel­come than among my showy tulips.

“They com­ple­ment one another re­sult­ing in hor­ti­cul­tural har­mony. But­ter­cups are another ex­am­ple, a weed pretty much ev­ery­where in the gar­den, they are en­cour­aged in wild­flower mead­ows, where it mixes with other sim­i­lar plants.

This com­bi­na­tion of putting the right plant in the right place, and then mix­ing it with ‘friends’ who it will com­ple­ment and get on with is the ba­sic prin­ci­ple of gar­den de­sign.

Clear­ing out my desk at work I came across a pic­ture of Laura from 2008 and it is fair to say that over the past six years she has changed some­what. Again plants are the same, some will grow taller, and stronger more vig­or­ously while oth­ers, for some rea­son or another, will not grow and give up on you after a few short years.

This is not a dis­as­ter, but an op­por­tu­nity to get to know new friends (plants) that can bring some­thing new and ex­cit­ing to the party, some­thing that will be just as cool, fun and sur­pris­ing as the last.

James Cal­li­cott tries an ex­per­i­ment by wa­ter­ing his friend Laura just to make his point about friends be­ing like flow­ers. Laura was ob­vi­ously over­joyed at the prospect...

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