Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Cambridge in bloom

One of the last gardens I finished in June before being ensconced at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show with the Homebase Show Garden was at Girton in Cambridge. A new build, the three storey town house has a tiny courtyard garden which, on my first visit in April, had the usual basic concrete path skirting round a pile of builder's rubble, cleverly disguised with a dusting of 'topsoil' over it.

'We love our plants,' said the owners, 'and entertain a lot. We've also bought this sculpture for the garden.' Hmm, I thought, staring at the requisite blank piece of paper on my drawing board along with various photos of the garden, there's no point in having a lawn in such a tiny area by the time I've filled the garden with plants. With so many angular lines surrounding the house - from other houses, the chunky fencing and the shape of the garden - it was a definite candidate for some curves and I created two flowing borders cut out of Indian sandstone with a couple of raised beds for height with the added benefit of extra seating. 'I do like my perennials so you'll get quite a few of them, and some grasses,' I said to my clients. 'That's fine,' they said.

I went back to the garden last week to pop in some field-lifted bare-root irises. Three month's earlier, the 'garden' was a sea of pretty awful soil; now it was a billowing feast of colour and interest. I'm really pleased at how the garden has developed and my clients are delighted. The sculpture looks great surrounded by fluffy grasses and brightly-coloured dahlias. Instructions on adding some bulbs - tulips, please - were left with the clients and I look forward to seeing the garden next year when the show will be even better!

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