People are often worried about having deep borders because that means more planting. Some come to me because they do not have the first clue about plants, especially how to look after them, so they initially shy away from lots of planting. However, my experience has been that these same people by the time we have worked through the design process together, they have taken a shine to their new garden and are really bonding with their plants. Some even help with the planting!
So, I say, bigger is better when it comes to borders. Deeper borders give plants the space to breathe and to show themselves in their best light. You only have to look at the borders in various country gardens to see how this works to best effect. Deep borders give impact to your garden through planting in swathes or layering so that you have successional flowering and interest all year.
So how deep is deep? A border should be at least 1.5 m depth. Any less and the plants will be in a single line. Think of a plant, say Astrantia, which has a spread of 60 cm and you want to put another plant behind that has similar spread - that’s the depth of the border almost full. But you don’t have to limit yourself to 1.5 m deep!
So what are you waiting for? Now is a great time to expand your existing borders and create new ones - just remember, be generous and you’ll be florally rewarded!
I also loved The Telegraph Garden designed by Andy Sturgeon and built by Crocus. Apparently so did the judges as this was awarded Gold and Best in Show. Whilst it used very architectural, even harsh lines that divided opinion, I thought it was balanced by the beautiful, naturalistic planting, which had a muted and restricted colour palette.
This garden drew inspiration from geological events with the bronze-coated steel 'fins' inspired by Stegosaurus! You could see the entire garden through framed views and site lines created by these 'fins'.
The fins also provided a wonderful backdrop to the plants.
And whilst the planting was inspired by an arid landscape comprising plants from warm, temperated climates across the globe, it was not a recreation of habitat. Like the Winton Beauty of Mathematics garden, the planting colours were harmonious with other aspects of the garden, with the orange flowers of the Isoplexis canariensis picking up the flames in the fire bowl and contrasting beautifully with the hard landscaping!
I was lucky enough to visit Chelsea this year on the first of the two RHS members only day and as ever, there was plenty of inspiration in all three of the show garden categories, as well as in the Floral marquee. Judging by the number of photos I took and my excitement for the garden, I loved the Winton Beauty of Mathematics garden designed by Nick Bailey and built by Gardenlink.
The garden immediately drew you in. It had depth as well as height in the form of both trees and elevated platform, the copper band that ran through the garden offered a focal point (as well as a bench, handrail and planter), but also a visual guide as your eyes meandered through the garden.
And then there was the planting...... beautifully naturalistic with a harmonious softness offered by the colours and forms of the plants and the materials used in the garden, and with enough repetition of colour and form to add highlights and punctuation.. It was a garden that you just wanted to get into and explore!
Rachel Bailey, a garden designer and gardener in Scotland.