4 June 2015 – Rethinking Your Garden – Andrew Sankey-Smith (TVH)

A return visit from Andrew Sankey provided much food for thought as his talk was entitled ‘Rethinking your garden’. After listening to his tips and hints we began to think about our own gardens in a different way – was it time for change? Here are some of his ideas which might inspire you ………

Firstly do you indulge in impulse buying? “ No, not me “ – I can read your thoughts, but, just a minute, what happened when you last visited a garden centre! I think that we all have to admit that we get carried away when we see that beautiful plant and we leave with it smiling at us from our basket. When we arrive home we often think ‘Where shall I plant this?” ‘Think before you buy’ was Andrew’s advice.

When considering changes in your garden remember that curves and circles widen a narrow space. A meandering path will lengthen your garden especially if you end the vista with a terracotta pot – empty or full of flowers or even with a statue for instance. Keep your plants in scale – no huge trees for a small garden – there are plenty of smaller ones which will fit the bill. Don’t ignore difficult places like shady borders. There are many plants which will prosper in the shade – Google for some ideas or seek advice from the nursery/plant centre. Plant in drifts or threes or fives even in a small garden for maximum affect. This repeat planting along a border provides continuity and calm.

Think carefully about where you place those impact plants of red, yellow or bright orange. Such colour draws the eye and stops you from looking beyond them. So, plant them towards the back or end of the garden with cooler, paler colours near the front. This will give the illusion of a bigger garden. If you make a mistake, just find the courage to lift it, give the offending plant to your neighbour or bring it to the Gardening Club for sale on our garden stall!

Bring some interest to potentially boring areas – try making a ‘window’ in a long hedge or placing a false door in a wall. Looking for a place for hanging baskets? Why not hang them from the branches of a tree? Is there an eyesore like an ugly telegraph pole near your garden? Draw the eyes away from it to a group of impact plants planted nearby.

So many imperatives! Believe me the talk made an impression on Club members who noted that many of these points were put into practice in the lovely Cotswold gardens which we visited on our recent weekend break.

So, have another look at your garden with fresh eyes – be bold and make changes!

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