Top European perennials
Airy spires (below), that age well and look semi-transparent in drifts. unsubtle. All those browns and dark reds can get so boring. I think the British are still the masters, because of the delicacy and their use of colour.” (Lennox-Boyd is permitted to say such nice things because she is half-Italian.) She observes that the soft English light permits this kind of delicacy, while in the Mediterranean it is usually better to emphasise the shape of plantings because of the strength of the sun.
Garden designer Bunny Guinness highlights the influence of Chelsea Flower Show on taste, especially a string of gardens sponsored by Laurent-Perrier through the 2000s.
“A lot of people copied that style,” she says. “It’s a more muddled-up look [than Oudolf ’s] but then again it’s only designed to look good for a week or so. My clients need something that looks fine from the windows every day of the year. A sea of dead perennials doesn’t do that.
“I like to use shrubs, bulbs and lots of annuals. I just find big puddles of perennials too relentless, and rather boring to garden. It’s lovely to see a garden age, as the three dimensions come into play. Shrubs and trees give