In­vite touch with tac­tile plants

Garden Answers (UK) - - Celebrate -

Stim­u­lat­ing the senses is key to cre­at­ing a sen­su­ous ro­man­tic gar­den. A for­mal gar­den with straight lines and man­i­cured lawns where bor­ders are ti­died up in au­tumn will do lit­tle to in­vite you to ex­plore or tempt you out­doors. In­stead, in­cor­po­rate plants that in­vite you to reach out and touch them. Trees with peel­ing bark, re­veal­ing smooth pol­ished wood, such as Prunus ser­rula, cry out to be stroked. The furry buds of pussy wil­low are equally ir­re­sistible – Salix caprea ‘Kil­marnock’ is a good op­tion for small gardens. Along­side, grow feath­ery cala­m­a­grostis, molinia and mis­cant­hus grasses and leave their fad­ing seed­heads over win­ter. Ro­man­tic gardens of­ten have a loose, wild style of plant­ing with a frothy mix of flow­ers and fo­liage that in­ter­min­gles in a nat­u­ral­is­tic way. Plant­ing your gar­den with herba­ceous peren­ni­als that create this ef­fect in sum­mer will help carry on this look through au­tumn and into win­ter. When the flow­ers are no longer there, the win­ter gar­den will rely on their at­trac­tive seed­heads, so choose plants with a long sea­son of in­ter­est and re­sist the temp­ta­tion to cut them back in au­tumn. Look to peren­nial se­dums and achil­leas with flat-topped seed­heads, the pep­per­pot seed pods of pop­pies, ghostly-white stems of per­ovskia and rud­beck­ias and echi­nacea, which, once their petals have fallen, leave be­hind at­trac­tive cones. Find space for lace­cap hy­drangeas too, whose faded, parch­ment petals glow in the low, win­tery light.

LEFT Tac­tile pussy wil­low catkins are un­der­planted with conifers, heathers and other cush­ion­like plants

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