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Keep it Simple

June 8, 2016

I am inspired by this front garden planting where the lavender has nothing to compete with and is simply soaking up the sun. It lines two sides of a paved square 3 m x 3 m with a pendulous tree in the centre, possibly Salix Caprea, and with a path up to the front door. The refuse bins were out for collection so I was unable to photograph the whole thing but what a brilliant solution for interest and low maintenance. The paving gently slopes towards the plants to keep them watered when it rains.

DSCN6735  Who would choose to park a car rather than this pretty view? Well two doors along they would apparently.


Good planting doesn’t have to cost a fortune and can be really easy to manage as here with Centranthus ruber ‘Albus’ growing next to Cheiranthus ‘Bowles Mauve’ through pea shingle and self-seeding. It’s a small public space with a bench at the end for people to sit and enjoy the view.


Then round the corner on a pedestrian walkway Pyracantha is in flower and with bright orange berries to follow in Winter.  It’s planted in a bed 30 cm wide against a brick wall and relies on rainfall and not much else and is thriving.


And all along the pavements next to garden walls the simple beauty of campanula filling every nook and cranny.DSCN6765

On the allotment a bed of onions is now lifted to make room for Purple Sprouting Broccoli. I forked the ground over then dug a trench and lined it with chopped comfrey leaves before drawing the soil back and planting the PSB.


And the purple peas are flowering steadily and as soon as the pods fill they’ll be picked.


Phlomis fruticosa makes a great cut flower especially at the stage before the flowers have fully opened.


These were picked on the allotment with the Nigella ‘Love in a Mist’ and by the time they were placed in the jug the phlomis had bent double and drooped. However six hours later they were upright again and the lime green leaves and fat green balls look stunning mixed with the blue nigella.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 10, 2016 9:13 am

    I do agree, simplicity is always best. The longer I have this garden the more I just want larger drifts of the plants that thrive rather than huge numbers of different plants. Your Phlomis fruticosa looks quite different to mine, the leaves look much larger and of course greener, but that is to be expected. The foliage actually looks more like Phlomis russeliana.

  2. June 10, 2016 11:41 am

    Yes it could be either since it came from a friend’s garden ten years ago. But the leaves are enormous on the allotment plants and not so large on the garden ones and the same source so no doubt to do with watering or dry soil. Yes my post was .going to be a rant about parking in front gardens (dreadful in this city) but I hoped to demonstrate, through simple planting, a better alternative. It can be really low maintenance and is so much more life enhancing than staring at concrete or the metal of a car.

  3. June 13, 2016 7:24 am

    I’m trying, I’m trying, honestly, to keep it simple…but …life…is…not quite simple with so many choices and problems–fun to solve though. Thank you for the thoughtful approach. And the phlomis/nigella arrangement–superb!! 🙂

  4. June 13, 2016 8:03 am

    Yes beautiful plants are so tempting and new ones especially so.The phlomis/nigella combination looked good in the vase for five days-that’s worth picking for.

  5. June 14, 2016 9:32 am

    It always makes me sad to see front gardens concreted over. Even a few containers would have made all the difference.

  6. June 14, 2016 9:44 am

    Absolutely-I agree. A selection of generous sized pots or even the £1 plastic potato planters from Poundland planted with their coir soil and then with herbs would pay for itself within three months. Or filled simply with nasturtium seeds that would flower for months and then the seeds could be saved for next year.

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