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The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday - - Gardening - A RO­MAN­TIC LEAFY AR­BOUR

With its comfortable seat in the sun­shine, this pri­vate gar­den in Ger­many has a wel­com­ing, homely feel. Cre­ated by a keen but un­trained gar­dener, it has none of the hard edges or fash­ion­able fea­tures that abound in more “de­signed” gar­dens, but has evolved, with love and per­sonal at­ten­tion, over many years. The tall metal arch trans­forms the bench into a ro­man­tic leafy ar­bour (4). Planted with honey­suckle on one side for its heady sum­mer scent, and Vir­ginia creeper ( Partheno­cis­sus quin­que­fo­lia) (2) on the other for its au­tumn fo­liage, it makes a pleas­ant place in which en­joy the last rays of au­tumn sun­shine.

A curv­ing path made from bark chips winds all around the gar­den, tak­ing in other fea­tures such as the cherub statue (3) and pot­ted pelargo­nium (1) whose scar­let flow­ers and twotoned leaves con­trib­ute to the rich end-of-year colour. For much of the rest of the year, mauve and blues dom­i­nate, such as the last pur­ple flow­ers of Ver­bena bonar­ien­sis, while grey-leaved fo­liage cre­ate a cool year-round back­drop. And the cush­ions on the bench can be changed through­out the year, to tie in with what­ever is in bloom – an orig­i­nal per­sonal touch.

GETTHELOOK 1A colour­ful pelargo­nium in a large pot raised up on a plinth makes a cheer­ful fo­cal point in the gar­den. The one shown here is “Van­cou­ver Cen­ten­nial”, which Sul­man’s Pelargo­ni­ums (01638 712297, www.sul­mans pelargo­ni­ums. co.uk) sell at £4. Sul­man’s have an of­fer on a starter col­lec­tion of three an­gel, three re­gal and three mini-dwarf pelargo­ni­ums for £20. 2 Every­one rec­og­nizes Vir­ginia creeper (Partheno­cis­sus) when in its spec­tac­u­lar scar­let au­tumn fo­liage. But widely avail­able from gar­den cen­tres and Cro­cus (www.cro­cus.co.uk) has it on­line at a re­duced price of £7.99 in 3-litre pots. 3 Fig­u­ra­tive sculp­ture in the gar­den can be tricky to get right. Plantstuff (www.plantstuff. com) has some tra­di­tional but taste­ful pieces in­clud­ing cast iron white rab­bits (£24) and a pair of lead birds (£33). Or, for some­thing more con­tem­po­rary and to­tally unique, sculp­tor Adam Reynolds (www. your­bodysculp­ture.co.uk) will cre­ate a strik­ing metal out­line of your own body taken from an emailed pho­to­graph (prices start at £250). 4 This bench has been po­si­tioned be­neath a metal arch up which climbers have been planted. Se­cret Gar­dens Fur­ni­ture (0208 464 5327, www.se­cret­gar­dens­fur­ni­ture. com) have some lovely benches with back- pan­els for plant­ing in­cor­po­rated, and are also happy to work to com­mis­sion, cre­at­ing arched ar­bours over their range of at­trac­tive wood and metal benches. Prices start at £495. there are two dis­tinct types: those with deep-cut five-lobed leaves such as P. quin­que­fo­lia, shown here, which need wires or other sup­ports to af­fix them­selves to, and the self-climb­ing va­ri­eties such as P. triscu­p­i­data, com­monly known as Bos­ton Ivy, which can cover a large wall in a few years via ten­drils with tiny disc-shaped suck­ers. Easy to grow in light, well-drained soil and to­tally frost-hardy, P. quin­que­fo­lia is

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