Transforming a Bolton garden
The plants and inspiration used in this week's garden
For this episode we were in Bolton. This has to be one of the biggest transformations we have ever done! The Frosts team really had their work cut out for them when it came to clearing the site, it was overgrown and had some huge trees that had to be gotten rid of before any work could begin.
I was left in charge of the bottom end of the garden. Alan wanted me to recreate a little piece of Scotland to serve as a calm retreat at the end of a long day. Although it was the end of the garden it was still huge! Probably as large as the whole of some people’s back garden, which was good for me as it meant I could have an outbuilding as well as getting really stuck into the planting which is the bit I enjoy the most. I wanted the whole area to feel restful and naturalistic, far removed from Dave’s energetic doggy playground!
The whole garden was divided into sections but Alan was keen that they all still had a link and seemed cohesive. One of the easiest ways to do this is with plants. Here is what went in.
AUCUBA japonica ‘Crotonifolia’ This has shiny leathery leaves and will give good form to a border. Prune to maintain the size you want with secateurs, so as to not rip the leaves.
BUXUS sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’ This evergreen shrub is perfect for topiary. Lightly trim in June to shape.
CISTUS x hybridus will tolerate drier soils and flowers for a long period.
CEANOTHUS ‘Italian Skies’ A medium evergreen shrub that flowers in late Spring, to maintain its size prune as soon as it has finished flowering.
CHAENOMELES ‘Red Trail’ Great for training up a wall will vivid red flowers.
CHOISYA ‘Aztec Pearl’ A good all round evergreen shrub with white flowers in early Summer.
JUNIPERUS scopulorum is another evergreen with aromatic leaves and small round fruits.
CORNUS kousa chinensis this is a magnificent tree with white petal like bracts, would make an excellent specimen tree where it can be admired from all sides.
Rhodanthemum Marrakesh has daisylike flowers and attractive evergreen foliage. Deadhead to prolong flowers. Needs a sunny spot.
Cerastium Tomentosa this has tiny white flowers above a silvery mat of foliage. Flowers late spring/early summer.
Saponaria Bressingham pink is useful for edging and gravel gardens. It creates little cushions of foliage upon which masses of tiny pink flowers sit.
Rhodohypoxis fairytale this is a perennial alpine so will come back every year.
Lewisia Elise Brilliant for rock gardens or growing in pockets of soil in a wall, they come in an array of exotic colours.
Daianthus Kahori pink needs free draining soil and requires a sunny spot.
Aubretia Westacre gold mounds in small cushions of foliage with lots of purple flowers early in the year.
Scented Violas flowers for months, they look good at the front of a border or in pots. Just put them somewhere you ca enjoy their fragrance.
Delospurma Sutherlandii in colour if poss.
Helianthemum Ben Mohr is a good trailer and has a relaxed from, it flowers over a long period and likes a free draining site.
Euphorbias come in lots of different varieties, some more much more vigorous than others. Whichever you choose make sure you have the room for it to thrive.
Lupins are nice in any colour, thread them through a border to give you splashes of vertical colour. Deadheading them will encourage more flowers.
Thalictrums are gorgeous plants, most varieties reach at least 5ft tall, their delicate foliage appears in Spring.
Hesperis matronalis (sweet rocket) was my favourite plant in this garden. It looked awesome against the black outbuilding, the purple colour almost glows in the twilight.
Heucheras come in all different varieties, good for semi shade and the front or borders.
Dicentra is a good addition to any shady setting. Use the white one to illuminate areas.
Delphinium ‘Black Knight’ are statuesque but will most likely require some stakes as a form of support in the first few years.
Sambucus black beauty has wonderful dark foliage and pale pink clusters of flowers. Can get huge if left unpruned.
Cytisus (broom) Lena and Goldfinch have excellent bright flowers early in the year.
Dryopteris are a genus of fern that planting a woodland couldn’t be without. Some have different foliage colours and size than others so check the label when buying and consider where you want it to go.
Erica (Heather) has either spring/summer flowering or autumn/winter flowering. I like to plant a mix to extend interest and colour.
Hydrangea have endless varieties, usually deciduous shrubs or climbers (although there is the odd evergreen variety). They like a moist but well drained soil in a cool shady part of the garden.
Geranium maccrorizum are an excellent plant for dry shade. Once established they are excellent ground cover.
Digitalis (Foxglove) are a biennial. This means they grow their foliage in year one, then they flower in their second year which creates seed the plant will drop that seed then die, and the seed will germinate starting the whole cycle again. In the last few years however a perennial foxglove has been developed by clever plant breeders so keep your eyes peeled for those at your local garden centres and nurseries.
Saxifraga is an alpine plant with send up sprays of flowers from its low growing foliage, its good at the front of a border or in a container.
Cardoons are an amazingly architectural plant with large silvery leaves, give it plenty of room and air space.
Circium is a thistle and has wonderful jagged foliage. Its tall stems have little purple pin cushions on the tops of them. They are quite a substantial plant, but still give you grace and movement.
Tiarella is another good plant for dry shade. It has semi- evergreen foliage that will carpet a woodland style bed.
Thanks for tuning in! See you next week.