We recently completed a garden design and landscaping job in Brighton. The brief was to create a formal garden using traditional box hedging using white stones to brighten the space up. Instead of using box hedging it was decided to use Japanese Holly, Ilex crenata, as the client became aware of box blight being a problem in the area. Going with the Victorian black and white diamond path we decided on a diamond shape using an ornamental black grass, Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’,as a central black diamond. The corner plants between the hedgeing were something the clients (Kath and Jon) chose and had ready for planting on the day.
The job didn’t start well. On the first day we had to tackle a very steep slope in heavy rain at the front of the building, where Kath and Jon wanted to use railway sleepers to help retain some of the soil so they could plant Cotoneaster. The idea being that the Cotoneaster would cover the bank and grow up the side walls and fences. I love this plant as it is an amazing bee plant in spring when it is literally buzzing with hungry pollinators. The pollinated flowers then develop into hundreds of small red berries that supply birds (and foxes in my garden) with a good food source over the cold winter months. On top of all that we were being watched over by a gardening legend living next door.
When I was first contacted about taking on the job Kath and Jon had mentioned that there was some garden landscaper guy next door that might be able to help them source some of the materials. It was only on the eve of beginning the work that they dropped the bomb and told me his name. None other than world famous, multi Chelsea Gold Medal winner and Best in Show 2010, Andy Sturgeon. No pressure then!!
Once the rain had lifted and a after a few laughs with Andy we cracked on and completed the garden. Even before we had planted the Ilex hedge plants (120 of them in an afternoon through ground sheeting!!!) the bees and butterflies were taking advantage of the nectar rich flowers. Once the plants were in the last remaining job was to transfer three thousand kilograms of white stone to finish off the garden. It was very bright once down but the brightness will fade over time, while the plants will take form creating a lovely space for Kath and Jon to enjoy from their first floor living room window.