The Richly Planted Patio Garden

When Mark and Anna moved into their Victorian house they inherited a garden that was covered in crazy paving, save a circular rose bed in the middle. As a family they sketched out how they would like their new garden to be and with the help of garden designer Ross Allan they came up with an elegant new structure. This has now evolved into a richly planted garden that really packs a punch for such a small space.

Mark and Anna say: When we arrived, the whole garden was covered in crazy paving save a circular rose bed in the middle, the holly tree and a magnificent compassion rose growing in a chimney pot.

As a family we sketched what we would like in the garden and with the help of Ross Allan, combined these into the existing structure although the children were disappointed that there is no chicken run or pond! However, it was his advice to make the central bed octagonal rather than circular as this gave a clearer structure to the paths and beds. We were the able to start planting. Had we followed his advice we would have had far fewer misses as each section of the garden (even though it’s tiny) has its own characteristics but we have now learnt to plant accordingly!

There is a definite structure and design in terms of beds and paths but the planting is constantly evolving as we trial new things or move things into different positions. We have tall trees on two sides which means parts of the garden get very little sun and yet on the other side, in full sun, Mediterranean plants thrive.

We look after the garden together. This year we are particularly pleased that we have overwintered some potted pelargonium in a makeshift propagator and have resuscitated plants as well as growing things from seed. The strawberry plants, as ever, wend their way through the beds which is a delight to see now that their perky white flowers are out and even better in the summer when they supply us with bowls of fruit!

We are particularly pleased with the purple allium surrounding the olive tree this year (it was a task, planting the bulbs, that we put off in the autumn until the last possible moment but boy are we glad we did it now). We are delighted too that two wisteria seed pods have sprouted but the thing that gives us the most pleasure all year round is the birdbath. Situated in the middle of the central bed, next to the cherry tree and nearby holly, a succession of birds pop down for a drink or a bathe and it is a constant delight to hear them chirruping away: blue tits, long tailed tits, robins, blackbirds, wrens and the occasional chaffinch and garden warbler.

Whatever the time of year, there is always something to be done and enjoy in the garden even though it is so small but equally it’s lovely just to sit and watch!

Picture Gallery

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