ELSPETH THOMP­SON’S GAR­DEN CHOICE

The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday - - Gardening - THIS WEEK: PLANNED SPA­CES BY A PLANTS­MAN

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)

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