This post follows on a post from the earliest days of my blog in late August, which you will find here. It tells how I first planned the borders and how I feel about the results three years on. Let’s take a closer look at the thinking behind the design now. Three distance shots from the arboretum over more than 16 years give ‘the lay of the land’.
In the early days of planning the gardens along the axis from the front door I was concerned with how the lawned gardens on one’s left as you came down would differ from one another. With some imagination it was possible to see that the second lawn, being somewhat longer and considerably narrower, could be turned into a long vista towards a focal point. My dad bought into the idea and after I installed the Italian pot at the end of the vista, he decided a wall needed to be built, echoing the one below the house. I protested, rather half-heartedly, that the money could be spent more effectively elsewhere in the garden. He won the day, and I am eternally grateful, for this rather non-descript transitional area has become the most effective part of the entire garden, and gives us the most joy from the house.
The garden got its name quite early on in my planning: I intended to mask the slopes above and below the terrace with two Rosemary hedges. The lower hedge has happened, successfully grown from cuttings planted in situ and thinned out later. The upper hedge, once the wall was built, became a rhythmic punctuation with clipped balls of Rosemary. Humph. They were planted, but never clipped. On my endless TTD list, “clip rosemary balls” hardly ever features. I would like clipped balls along the way… but I don’t think Rosemary lends itself to such close clipping, and so this becomes one of the refinements I dream of… oneday, when the garden is a tourist attraction… oneday, when I am rich… oneday when I start looking for things to keep me busy…
If one looks in the opposite direction, one sees the pots that flank the entrance to the Rosemary Terrace from the path on the axis from the front door. They were my 50th birthday present from my parents, and I treasure them! Getting the hedges level instead of following the contour is one of the challenges of 2009 we never got around to facing. To the left of the hedge Pride of India is in full flower. (Crepe Myrtle, Lagerstroemia indica, and actually from China!) It combines spectacularly with the mass of cosmos in the Lower Rosemary Border, an effect I can easily repeat and really ought to! Above the hedge there is another tree in flower which is also sometimes known as Pride of India. It is Koelreuteria paniculata or the Golden-rain-tree, also from China. The hedge we grew from cuttings of an evergreen viburnum bought years ago, I suspect Viburnum tinus; it makes an excellent hedge in my climate, dense, clothed to the ground and not needing too much cutting.
In Part 3 I will look at the planting in these two gardens. Prepare for a colour assault for Christmas, as I post collages of annuals from the Lower Rosemary Border!