Tum­ble to­wards sum­mer

Siss­inghurst’s head gar­dener Troy Scott Smith cre­ates three sim­ple dis­plays that let spring blend seam­lessly with early sum­mer


Siss­inghurst’s head gar­dener Troy Scott Smith cre­ates three stun­ning con­tainer dis­plays that link spring to early sum­mer

Colour pro­vides the base note for any gar­den and it is the most po­tent de­sign tool a gar­dener has. Gar­den­ing with colour is not about in­di­vid­ual plants, but how plants with dif­fer­ent colours are com­bined. Of­ten, as with this dis­play, the con­tainer is the start­ing point. This cop­per pot im­me­di­ately sug­gested a pink Ar­gy­ran­the­mum that would ef­fort­lessly com­ple­ment the pot’s verdi­gris patina and look de­li­ciously fresh against the yel­low Banksian rose be­hind.

How to achieve the look

In this ar­range­ment for a cor­ner of the Court­yard at Siss­inghurst, I stud­ied the colour of each ingredient, in­clud­ing the cop­per pot and the neigh­bour­ing plants, be­fore de­cid­ing on the colour and shape of the flower to use in the dis­play. The pot sets the nar­ra­tive – it’s the colour of the Adri­atic Sea and is em­bed­ded with the his­tory of the gar­den and the lives of all who have gar­dened here; any plant is merely a sup­port­ing player. To bring the colour alive I’ve cho­sen a pink form of Ar­gy­ran­the­mum, a na­tive of the Ca­nary Is­lands. Both its grey­green leaves and daisy-like pink flow­ers work beau­ti­fully with the blue of the cop­per pot while the yel­low boss at the cen­tre of each pink flower so­cialises well with the Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’ that swirls and ed­dies around the ar­range­ment from April through to June. I pur­pose­fully chose to con­trast the rugged­ness of the pot with the in­for­mal plant­ing that gen­er­ously spills and sprawls lend­ing a lav­ish and ro­man­tic qual­ity. In the pot, as with all three dis­plays, I’ve used a peat-free com­post with added leaf mould and up to 6mm grit. To link the pot to its sur­round­ings I’ve planted more Ar­gy­ran­the­mum around the base, and this com­bines with other low-grow­ing plants to give a lovely dis­solved fray­ing feel­ing to­wards the edges. Be­hind it the ex­u­ber­ance of the tum­bling Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’, foam­ing and froth­ing in abun­dance with but­ter-yel­low flow­ers, en­hances the over­all feel­ing of hap­haz­ard lux­u­ri­ance I so de­sired.


1 Ar­gy­ran­the­mum ‘Petite Pink’ A woody-based, ev­er­green peren­nial or sub shrub, from the Ca­nary Is­lands, with blue-green, dis­sected lin­ear fo­liage and nu­mer­ous flow­ers. Its daisy-like flow­ers bloom from late spring to au­tumn. 50cm. AGM*. RHS H2, USDA 10a-11†. Also look out for the older pink cul­ti­var Ar­gy­ran­the­mum ‘Mary Woot­ton’ (70cm), which has large, anemone-cen­tred, soft-pink flow­ers or the long-flow­er­ing, sem­ishrubby cul­ti­var Ar­gy­ran­the­mum ‘Ja­maica Prim­rose’ (90cm) with soft-yel­low flow­ers.


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