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Drifts or general melee, your thoughts please.

(12 Posts)
SkodaLabia Thu 18-May-17 13:13:37

Smallish garden, 3 trees (rowan, autumn cherry and silver birch). I love lots of green and love plants like ferns, hostas, Japanese anemone, hakonechloa etc.

The landscaping bit is finally done and I'm happy with the positioning of the trees, but can't decide whether to go for drifts or a general melee for the perennials. I thought drifts were the way to go until I saw the pics of the woodland garden at the Barbican, where all the perennials are used across the whole space. I'm wondering whether I should treat the two beds of my garden that meet in an L shape more like one large bed, and have everything in together jumbled up, rather than go for, say, a drift of hostas, then one of grasses etc. Perhaps this would be a lovely bold statement?

The pic without the rather amazing 'The Prisoner' style privet balls is from Chelsea, the other one is the Barbican one.

mydogmymate Thu 18-May-17 13:27:57

That's a gorgeous garden. No advice cos I don't know anything about gardening but I'm jealous!!

SkodaLabia Thu 18-May-17 13:32:02

They're beautiful, aren't they?

Argh, a typo: the one with the privet balls is from Chelsea.

JT05 Thu 18-May-17 14:15:18

What about a drift/ Melee of plants going from white through to pinks, purples and blues. Interspersed with silvery leaves?

SkodaLabia Thu 18-May-17 16:31:17

Hello JT!

Do you mean starting at one end with white and changing colour from L to R?

I suppose what I'm wondering is whether to separate out types of plants into clumps/drifts, or whether to mix all varieties together to aim for the effect in these pics.

I'm proposing:
ferns
hostas
campanulas ( blue and white)
Japanese anemones (white)
Siberian Iris (blue)
Euphorbia robbiae
Sweet Cecily
Anemone nemorosa (blue)
Hellebores (white)

Obviously they flower at different times. I also have some privet balls (sadly nothing as mental as the ones in the pic) and climbing hydrangea.

SkodaLabia Thu 18-May-17 16:32:14

Ah, just realised my OP doesn't make it clear that I consider a drift and a melee to be two different things! grin

JT05 Thu 18-May-17 16:53:26

Yes, I saw the idea in Elizabeth McGregor's walled garden. She starts with with and moves round to the purples, which end up next to the blues.
The plant types are grown in multiples, drift like, but mixed varieties. It does take up a fair bit of space though.
Your plant choice sounds lovely, pretty much as I would choose. I'd add some cranesbill geranium for lasting flowers and cineraria for a sliver splash!

ArseyTussle Thu 18-May-17 18:57:47

Hhm, I see what you mean. Sounds lovely, but I wonder whether it's best when there's a large space. Cranesbill geranium! Lovely.

traviata Fri 19-May-17 08:48:28

I think some of the plants in your list look best in drifts of the same, and others can hold their own as individuals. So my unhelpful response is that you should do a mixture of drifts and melee.

eg: Euphorbia robbiae - this IMO is good as punctuation, and a drift of it can look a bit municipal;
Anemone nemorosa on the other hand benefits from being in a crowd because the individuals are not significant enough.

I love JT05's idea of a spectrum.

The convention about garden design would say that you should treat your two beds as one in the sense that repetition creates unity, but that doesn't mean they should be identical, just that they should be linked by themes/colours.

Other ideas for silvery leaves;
Artemisia Valerie Finnis
lychnis coronaria if you like magenta flowers
Stachys

SkodaLabia Fri 19-May-17 12:54:25

Thanks traviata. I'm keen to avoid municipal at all costs! I get what you're saying about some plants making better punctuation marks than others.

Should I rethink euphorbia? I was also considering luzula nivea, which of course looks nothing like euphorbia but is evergreen.

traviata Fri 19-May-17 13:29:45

euphorbia does have an excellent strong shape though as well as the lime green jolt of colour.

SkodaLabia Fri 19-May-17 18:40:10

I wonder whether my hostas would serve the same purpose? Although not evergreen, of course, and god knows what the slugs will make of them, fuckers.

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