ELSPETH THOMPSON’S GARDEN CHOICE
To artistically-inclined gardeners, the term “a plantsman’s garden” has become shorthand for a plot packed with unusual specimens but rather lacking in design. The garden belonging to John Massey, well known plantsman and owner of hellebore and hepatica specialists Ashwood Nurseries in the West Midlands, cannot be included in that generalisation. His 1.2 hectare (2.9 acre) private garden is a series of orchestrated spaces, including enclosed seating. It has the south-facing sweep of hurdle fencing (1) that separates the garden from the nursery as a backdrop, and these natural textures and colours predominate. Indian slate (2) was chosen for the irregular dolmens, and also for the paving — it sits well with the sculptural wooden table and seats (3) and the greys and greens of the planting. Clipped box, Pittosporum tobira, silverleaved lavenders and santolinas provide colour and structure all year, while the golden ivy Hedera helix ‘Buttercup’ (4) is like a splash of sunshine against the stones. The bleached plumes of dwarf pampas (5) create movement upfront.
Ashwood Nurseries, Ashwood (01384 401996/ www.ashwoodnurseries.co.uk)