How many of us have spent good money on bedding plants or exotic plants that have either shrivelled up and died or needed to be watered every day throughout the summer? Although we get plenty of rainfall in the UK, there can be weeks where we have very dry periods which can really affect the more delicate garden planting.
I have long advocated for designing gardens and creating planting schemes using both native and drought-tolerant plants rather than plants or trees that require intensive care and extra water.
Naturalistic planting design has become much more popular in recent years, and is now a mainstay at the large garden shows such as RHS Chelsea. This simply means using plants that mimic a natural distribution via self-seeding or spreading, as if they were out in the wild. This creates a natural pattern, or ‘drifts’ of plants which gives it a really beautiful aesthetic.
Of course, this still has a highly planned element to it but the benefits of a naturalistic planting design is that is fairly low-maintenance throughout the year and is far more environmentally-friendly as is uses mainly native planting which appeals to our own birds, bugs and other garden wildlife.
If you’re planning to re-design your garden or simply to add more planting to a specific area, I would recommend specifying naturalistic planting that doesn’t require extra care.
City centre greenery
Small areas of planting in built up areas can make a huge difference to the feel of an area. Take a look at the above image on Whitworth Street in Manchester where a fairly decent-sized planting area has been added on a large corner of pavement between the beautiful old university buildings and the new ultra-contemporary building on the right. As well as absorbing carbon dioxide, planting areas softens a city centre, provides shade and increases well-being of residents.
What am I reading?
I have long been a fan of designer and architect Thomas Heatherwick so I was intrigued to read about this kinetic 10-sided glasshouse he has designed for a National Trust estate in West Sussex.
It is composed of ten steel components that support angled glass panes and were designed to resemble the sepals on flowers that provide protection for flower buds. It’s a stunning piece of artwork as well as being a functional design too.