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.