Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Looking good at the moment...

Helenium 'Chipperfield Orange'
The sneezeweeds, prairie plants from the Americas, flower in late summer and early autumn. They associate well with grasses, sedums and the fading bracts of eryngiums. This variety, with a clearer, brighter colour than some of the duskier forms, is valuable in giving potentially uniform autumnal plantings a jolt.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

An idealised landscape

I spent Sunday morning at Stowe, the great landscape garden in central England which is generally recognised as the most complete expression of this native style. A little over-mature now (the wooded glades probably looked at their best a hundred years or so ago) the garden still has impressive vistas and retains its power to entice the visitor along its paths to view the idealised landscape that is evoked. The temples, columns and follies that are strewn throughout the glades and walks draw the visitor on through the garden, whilst also indicating the political and intellectual allegiances of its makers - we are in the English version of Ancient Greece, with its lofty idealism and anti-establishment mores.
There are in fact rather too many structures in this landscape for my taste - from one vantage point at least six are in view at once - and when first completed there were even more, but the existing landscape has been magnificently moulded and adapted, and the famous approaches have lost none of their power to impress, with the great house appearing and disappearing over successive ridges, framed at times by the arches and pavilions along the way.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Society of Garden Designers' Student of the Year? Well, maybe...

It has been a very busy year since last September, and the completion of my diploma in Garden Design has coincided with the competition to find the Society of Garden Designers' Student of the Year. I am one of four people from the Oxford College of Garden Design to be put forward this year, and it is a great honour. I am submitting my work this week - the judging will take place in early September, so there isn't long to agonise over the outcome.
The project I am putting forward is a bold scheme which uses mass planting to create a densely textured prairie effect, within a strong geometric design of terracing and water that will allow the clients to give full rein to their love of entertaining. We'll see how it goes down with the judges...