DIVERSE HABITATS WORK AS ONE IN THIS GARDEN, PROVIDING ITS OWNER WITH ABUNDANT OPPORTUNITIES TO SHOWCASE A RANGE OF PLANTS
Diverse habitats coexist in this English garden, allowing for a range of plants to flourish
‘When we first saw it, we were impressed by how well it fitted into the landscape,’ says roger newton of their home and garden in dorset, where he and his wife doreen have lived since 2005. Mature trees help knit it into its surroundings. The rare black poplar grows on the river banks and they have inherited various trees planted in the sixties by a previous owner, including a gingko on the front lawn, a Japanese maple and a metasequoia. all provide a framework for the classic ‘plantsman’s garden’.
The term ‘plantsman’s garden’ is sometimes a warning for the horticultural stamp collection. here at Braddocks, roger’s gardening passion has created something more enticing: a range of habitats that all seem to be naturally there. each is full of plant life – some of it common, some not so common, some rather special indeed, but all co-existing and complementing one another.
roger’s overriding passion is magnolias, camellias and other plants that need acidic soil. Indeed, he says he ‘chose the garden for its acidic soil’, which is, however, 1.1 hectares of heavy clay. Its water-holding qualities can be valuable, but not suitable for everything. Therefore, his love of spring-flowering shrubby species is indulged by membership of the rhs rhododendron, camellia & Magnolia group.
a pair of ponds draws the eye towards the centre of the garden. one was here already; the other roger had dug and linked to an artificial stream and a bog garden, which provides an important habitat for some of the most spectacular planting. The 25-metre-long bog garden shares a liner with the new pond, but is separated from it by a line of stones holding back a layer of soil. It is home to the giant leaves of Gunnera manicata, the very early-flowering Lysichiton
americanus and, in early summer, hosts of candelabra primulas. native to wet meadows and streamsides in the himalayan region, these primulas are some of the most vibrant of garden perennials reaching to more than a metre high and self-sow even beyond the bog garden.
Much of the planting exemplifies Roger’s philosophy of ‘letting plants do their own thing’
Towards the centre of this English garden in Dorset, there are two ponds surrounded by mature balsam poplar trees. One of the ponds is linked to a bog garden text