SMALL PLOT, BIG AMBITIONS
Exuberant planting covers every inch of a compact cottage garden in Kent, filling it with lasting colour and form
Exuberant plantings cover every inch of a Kentish garden, filling it with lasting colour and structure
lovely mounded shape. It’s well behaved, which is how I like my plants.” Other favourites include
G. ‘Eureka Blue’, described as ‘Johnson’s Blue’ on steroids, and the ever-popular G. ‘Rozanne’.
Carolyn made several changes when she arrived, including taking out a fir tree and a willow, which were too close to the house and casting too much shade. She also had a pond dug at the base of the slope to attract wildlife, with a beach of pebbles to one side to allow easy access for amphibians to come and go and for birds to drink from. It is positioned beside her terrace so she can enjoy coffee or lunch out there and the margins are softened with Iris sibirica and I. laevigata, water hawthorn (Aponogeton distachyhos), flowering rush (Butomus umbellatus) and marsh marigold
(Caltha palustris), alongside fluffy whiteflowered aruncus varieties. Later on in the summer, pickerel weed (Pontederia cordata), planted in the water, produces handsome purple flower spikes.
To deal with the slope above the pond, the land has been terraced to give Carolyn plenty of planting pockets to play with and to make the most of limited space. Plants are crammed between moss-covered rocks, which virtually disappear among the foliage in the summer months. Ferns, phlox and veronicas thrive here, including pale blue V. gentianoides, mat-forming V. prostrata and bushy V. ‘Royal Blue’, which makes a softly shaped plant with spikes of starry blue flowers. “Veronicas are so pretty, I wouldn’t be without them,” Carolyn says.
Also dotted through this area, among the filipendulas and aruncus, are bright magenta Gladiolus byzantinus. Being hardy perennials, these don’t need lifting (unlike most of the
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TOP LEFT Tall bright perennials fill borders by the patio; Geranium ‘Eureka Blue’; coppery leaves of Acer palmatum ‘Trompenburg’ contrast with a mauve geranium below; the plan for the garden has a pond at its heart OPPOSITE Irises, pinks, phlox and Bowles’ golden sedge thrive around the water