Plant hunting and garden design back in England


Every so often I am invited back to the UK to design a garden and my most recent trip took me down to Cornwall. This is the county where I spend most of my childhood and my Grandmother, now 103 years old, still lives there.

Many things in the gardens seemed so different to those of my new life in central France; orange Montbretia (Crocosmia) was everywhere to be seen, in gardens and hedgerows, a South African plant which has naturalised in the county.

France 325

Montbresia growing wild on a clifftop in North Cornwall

I lifted a few of the common form from Grannies’ garden and from a nursery bought a pot each of Buttercup, Emberglow and George Davidson for a new border at home.

Hydrangea macrophylla varieties were in full flower in the South West, while the one in my garden, brought over from the UK in the removal van, had finished long ago. I’m afraid I could not resist buying a Hydranea as well, but this time chose H. paniculata Kyushu to go in the shady border under the Sequoia, which is developing into a Japanese / Chinese planting area surrounding a large granite lantern.

Cornish Hydrangeas
Cornish Hydrangeas

The garden we came to visit contains many fine plants and any new design will have to take these into account as far as possible. Plans for a swimming pond will mean that a few lovely specimens will have to go and we hope that by working in the dormant season we will be able to save some of them.

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