This area, which contains the communal hot tub, was designed and planted by myself in the summer of 2013. My intention was to create a relaxing, secluded outdoor space which could be enjoyed by our guests all year round.
The plants I have chosen are all hard workers, providing long seasons of interest. From the earliest crocus which scatter the lawn in late February to the rich, warm pink and red hues of the Sedum in Autumn, there is always something to look at and enjoy.
The ‘bones’ of the garden are the hard landscaped areas of paving and decking, providing form and structure, whatever the season. These areas have then been ‘clothed’ with plants to bring the garden to life and soften any harsh lines.
I am particularly fond of grasses, as there are so many different species available, all of which give a lovely softness to a planting scheme, creating movement and fluency, as well as providing the perfect backdrop to the jewel like colours of Agapanthus and Verbena bonariensis.
For edging the paths I have used thyme and a lovely low, spreading Campanula, as well as Wall Germander (Teucrium), which has the benefit of being a robust evergreen plant, flowering profusely over a long period and is very attractive to bees. In the shadier areas, Lamium maculatum (deadnettle) comes into its own, with its beautiful silver-marbled foliage and candy pink flowers.
The circular picnic table is surrounded by lavender, giving out its heady scent when brushed past on sunny summer days.
Adjoining this garden is the wildlife pond which is home to a range of aquatic creatures, including newts, fish and dragon flies. We and some of the guests were lucky enough this summer to witness some of these beautiful creatures emerging from the nymph stage, resting in the sun while their wings dried out. Many of them can be observed flying around, displaying a flash of bright blue or emarald green as they pass.
by Cathy Jefferies