Saturday, May 24, 2008

Denmans Garden

Driving through rolling hills and countryside on the way to Chichester, I made my way to Denmans Garden, created by an influential British garden designer.

It's an exuberant, not restful, garden, as his style is to let many plants self-seed in the beds, and then edit them out.

So lots of interesting combinations occur -- some pleasing, some pretty unusual, depending on your taste!

I admired a wall covered in small climbing roses, clematis, and several things I didn't recognize.

Denman's use of foliage contrasts is striking. But even better, I liked the technique of letting the lawn be a meadow with a mowed edge and path system, so that layers of grass become part of the landscape.

Lots of the same Allium and Euphorbia spp. that I admired at Wisley were mixed with a large purple native geranium and catmint.

An amazingly diverse border was remarkable.

And the attached nursery was quite interesting, with a wonderful array of plants. A Russian (I think) visitor was asking determinedly in Russian (or whatever Eastern European language she spoke) about the hardiness of a Lobelia fulgida of a bemused nursery staff person. I made an 'educated' guess that she was asking about hardiness based on her mention of centigrade and winter, and 'translated' that. The nursery person asked how I knew what she was asking, and I said I guessed based on practice!

Traveling in many places does help one's ability to 'interprete' things.... I know Lobelia from the wonderful native species that we have in the SE United States, which didn't seem to me like they would be hardy in winter in extreme climates, and he confirmed that for this species. She seemed crestfallen, but then returned to take a pot, and said something about bringing it inside in the winter. And this for a plant that only had leaves, somewhat scruffy, at that.

(Just a note: for these posts, I've kept the image size a bit larger, so if you want to click on them, you'll see a larger and nicer version, not that photos are really able to convery the essence of these gardens.)

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