Monday, May 21, 2012

The Garden Vineyard: Part 2 - The Perennial Border & Grey Garden

There is something magical about walking through a well designed and well loved garden. It's an almost subconscious feeling that moves through you as you experience the rooms and appreciate the arrangements of things. I don't know if its the sheer beauty, the 'success' of the composition or even whether its part of human nature just to feel good when connecting with landscapes... Or maybe all three and a million other reasons and meanings.

I find it interesting seeing traditionally English style gardens in Australia, with soft leaved perennials, annuals and clipped hedges. The colours are often so bright, the textures and shapes so exciting and dynamic - so different to the soft, almost melancholy romanticism that I see in the typical Australian bush. The landscape industry (especially the commercial sector) is heavily swayed towards the use of native plants and 'low maintenance', monotone garden design that it is refreshing to see a garden that throws all that out the window and exalts in the sheer fun of plants and planting design, resulting in a truly pleasurable garden experience.


Looking back to the gravel courtyard entrance to the perennial border. 
The clipped hedge forms a lovely textural contrast to the climber over the arbour - and doesn't the dark green of it all bring out the bright colours of the red and green variegated Cana Lily! 

Oh, and nothing says luxury like a perfect lawn path. 


Soft greys, light greens, white flowers and hints of deep reds, all blend and mingle to create a soft and pretty picture. Particularly striking (and perhaps not so soft) is the ornamental grass Calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster' in front of the clipped Lilly Pilly column - quite the display of textural contrast! 


The soft colours make way for the bright ones in a combination of purples, reds and yellows. For late Autumn, this perennial border was looking pretty good with many of the Salvias, Buddlejas and Roses forming the backbones - not to mention the punctuation of the rusty coloured heads of the Sedum 'Autumn Joys'. Again, the clipped Lily Pilly columns add structure and definition to the border, providing a place to rest your eyes. 


Speaking of structures, what a way to add interest with such striking foliage colours! The burgundy Berberis  pops against the Lilly Pilly column behind, which again is contrasted by the more manicured ball shape of the Philadelphus to the right.  


More fabulous clipped shapes on the right side of the border - yellow and red hues here. 


The perennial border terminates with an off centre Liquidambar and lovely lush, dark green hedge and just the hint of paths to the left and right. 

The path to the right leads to this lovely scene that opens out onto the Grey Garden.




This section of the garden is quite well known for the play on colour and texture and especially for using Lemon Scented Gums (Corymbia citriodora) with their ghostly grey trunks set amongst the clipped shapes of the Coastal Rosemary, French Lavender, Echiums, Helichrysums and Teucriums - all in the grey colour palette. It is my understanding that originally the designer envisioned this garden to be more informal and relaxed but the owner took it a step further to create the clipped, undulating waves of grey - perhaps more striking than if it were indeed to be left wild...


The Grey Garden, like most other areas of the garden is enclosed by clipped hedges which open out into small spaces often of just lawn or with a single tree. These sorts of spaces are fun to explore and ponder. What is the designer trying to tell us in this space? Are they trying to tell us anything at all - is it perhaps to make us feel something? To feel safe, a sense of  peace perhaps, or just a great place to hide when playing hide and seek?



Believe it or not but there is still more of this garden to come! Next up is the Walled Garden - a play on colour and form.

Readers note: I hope you don't mind my little explanations / analysis of the photographs. I find I always have to break down gardens into their components but sometimes I worry that it's not the most exciting reading. If you like it then GREAT but if not, sorry - I'll try and lighten up!


12 comments:

  1. The garden is lovely but I must admiot to preferring the natural shapes of plants rather than carving them into unnatural shapes. Having said that I often cut the lower branches from shrubs so I can grow things beneath them.

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    1. I'm quite a fan of natural shapes too Sue - imagine the work all that clipping is!

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  2. beautiful gardens the work it must take

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    1. I know JH! I think the garden is so much work that the gardeners have no energy for vegetable growing!

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  3. I really like your explanations and appreciate the info. I love the colour of that sedum, it kind of fits against the eucalypts I can see in the background - the red earth and all that. I do like an English style perennial border especially with eucalypts in the background.

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    1. Thanks Liz. Me too! I quite like the contrast of the 'wilderness' behind the clipped hedge and border...

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  4. Its interesting to hear how you feel when walking around a garden and discovering all there is to be found, i suppose its a sign a a great designer who can create a place of enjoyment and peace for all who visit......
    Just love the beautiful long white limbs of the gums and the sedum Autumn Joy, one of my favorites.
    I also enjoy the way you write your posts(don't change)full of little bits of information and ideas......I have a large Teucrium fruticans which i think i will have fun shaping into a ball......

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    1. I think you're right Andrea - when you feel yourself responding emotionally to a space you know that your in the hands of a clever designer. Or perhaps I'm just a little garden mad!
      Very glad you like my posts!!!

      Make sure you don't the Teucrium down too hard, they dont like it! Just a little shaping over time...

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  5. What an awesome garden! I love the Grey Garden and all the clipped balls/waves! Very inspiring!

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    1. It was a pretty cool concept planting out a garden in a grey colour theme - you'd think that there wouldn't be enough going on, but this example is indeed to the contrary!
      Thanks for stopping by Ginger May!

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  6. I've loved these posts. It's a stunning garden. I like the 3 liquidambars, might need to find a couple more! Is it too early to plant the poppy seed outside? I've been wondering?

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    1. I sowed my poppies in early autumn last year, but they were near the house where there is residual heat. I'd give it a go, but you might have to protect them from frost.

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Thanks so much for commenting, I love reading what you have to share!

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