It’s all about the plants, the plants!
One thing that strikes me, when I think of the portfolio of gardens that we have designed and installed this year, is that whilst the practical aspects of the design are of the utmost importance – surfaces, levels, materials selection are all key parts of garden design that I spend a great deal of time pondering about and which are needed to make the garden work – the selection and planting of the gardens at the end of the construction period still remains the most satisfying. Furthermore, it is this aspect that brings the whole design together for me and for my clients. This is true even if the brief is for minimal plant selection and extreme low maintenance.
It is the form and texture of plants that thrills me the most and how there really is a plant for every place. We are living in a golden age in terms of plant choice and selection with the, generally, amenable climate in Ireland allowing the planting of a very diverse range of plants, both native and exotic. And our nurseries stock a fantastic range of plants to indulge our desires and fantasies.
Even with our two main enemies of wind and rain (in Ireland), there are still plenty of plants out there that can bear the brunt of this and provide us with a fabulous display for most of the year. And the plants that we put in for shelter or screening, namely trees and shrubs, themselves offer a dramatic variety of form, texture, colour and scale. So no plant is boring in my book, as long as it is placed carefully and for best reason and effect, which can be a very practical reason such as providing shelter.
The plants are what makes a garden feel human and what provide us with our intrinsic connection with nature too, whether they be woody trees and shrubs or soft flowing grasses and perennials.
At the end of the design, it’s like overlaying the garden with a delicious sugary coating of icing and decoration that makes you want to dive in headfirst and take a bite!