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