Take your ideas with you
Hannah Sephenson reveals how to get an upwardly mobile garden
Front gardens are so often an afterthought for homeowners, who see the front of their house only as a point of access and more specifically as a place to park their car and site their wheelie bins. However, there is so much you can do with a front garden to make the whole house welcoming and increase its value, and it doesn’t have to be high maintenance if you choose the right plants. This year’s Chelsea gold medalwinning Upwardly Mobile Garden got me thinking about how people who invest in their front gardens can take many of the plants with them if they move, either by planting them in large containers or propagating them. John Lord, managing director of John Woods Nurseries, which co-created the garden with London’s Capel Manor College, said: “We wanted to show how with woody plants you can create a front garden that inspires. “When you go to Holland and Germany you see that people invest in their front gardens, but people here don’t take care of them. Yet they can add value to their property.” The theme of the Upwardly Mobile Garden was to demonstrate how easy it is to create a garden – especially your first – and take components of it, such as planted containers, with you when you move home. In this way, you take your ideas and learning with you throughout life. “We’ve used plants that are happy in different types of soils and situations, for example, to help inexperienced gardeners understand their options,” said John. Included in the garden were low maintenance plants including Diervilla Cool Splash, Prunus Kojo-no-mai, Geranium Johnson’s Blue, Sambucus Black Beauty and Heuchera Midnight Rose. Invest in the biggest pots you can afford for permanent plantings which you intend to take with you when you move. If you want a tree as a focal point in your front garden, think about buying a specimen that will grow in a pot, which will be able to move with you in years to come. The Upwardly Mobile Garden featured a Cornus Venus, a flowering dogwood with good drought tolerance and a high resistance to diseases, in a large container. It produces striking white bracts up to 15cm in diameter each May, followed by rich red autumn colour and grows to around 3.5m in 10 years. When planting permanent plants in containers, use a soilbased compost like John Innes which has a bit more body than some of the others and give the plant a good mulch and feed in spring.
Hydrangeas in pots were a dominant
factor in John Wood Nurseries’ gold medal-winning Upwardly Mobile