This is a working page of ideas,thoughts and inspirations for a new ‘wild garden’
I have put together a few photos from our portfolio of schemes, features and plants etc. that illustrate some of the elements that I think may have a relevant part to play in the new ‘Wild Garden’ at Tree Tops.
The first set of photos show the development of a garden with several similarities to Tree Tops, i.e. the house is at a much higher level than the garden, ( so the design had to be as coherent when viewed from above as from the lower level) there is a water course boundary, there was a desire for the garden to be naturalistic.
Although the water course is a managed drainage channel it is ever-moving, changes with the weather and is a great attraction and resource for wildlife.
We were bound by the clients wish to retain some conventional lawn otherwise a free hand was encouraged.
Showing the level lower area cleared and the new pathways installed. The surface is simply 10mm. Limestone chippings.
There were 3 main entrance points to the area the new pathways join all these,the garden shed and an access path to the water side where a seating platform/jetty was to be built. Creating this flowing shape also delineated 4 areas for planting.
This shows the borders planted up. The two smaller areas closest to the water are sown with native ‘meadow’ plants and grasses. The other two are planted with robust perennials and ornamental grasses in the ‘new European’ style and these plantings now extend up the slope. The entrances have bespoke metal arches and there are six young silver birch trees planted in pairs for height.
It is fascinating how the pathway layout once again becomes most dominant and highly evident for the short period in late winter /early spring when the perennials have been cut down and the meadows are yet the burst forth with new growth.
The next is another garden that came with a river boundary, the River Ellen, a long strip of river side woodland, a field and a brief to create a garden to fit in with the surrounding rural landscape. Some of the main elements that I incorporated here were: mown grass pathways; an area of longer grass planted with Spring bulbs; a shrub bed utilizing different foliage shapes, textures and colour to provide a long season of interest; a large perennial and ornamental grasses bed; a four-acre wild flower meadow; and a Winter bed. It is the use of dogwoods and coloured stemmed willows in this Winter bed that I particularly want to highlight here.
Here the Winter bed is well lit in the snow-covered garden by the low angle of the sun on a February day. The bed also contains early flowering Viburnums, Hellebores and Bergenias but it is the coloured bark plants that can provide a good block of colour and interest for a long period when little else can. In this way they associate well with and compliment the deciduous Alder trees . In the foreground is the large bed of grasses and perennials, again in the new european style, this top growth has stood over winter retaining structure, providing shelter for wildlife particularly insects, a food source for birds and being transformed into sculptures by the changing weather, (at this time by snow)
In the same garden, a raised wooden terrace/viewing platform.
Linking the back door and the front of the house at one level and creating a seating area and viewing platform overlooking the garden and out towards the wild flower meadow.
Below is an illustration of how effective even just a single row of dogwoods can be. Here in this scheme we simply used the native species, Cornus sanguinea, as it is part of a nature reserve. This planting is a highlight in winter making use of the reflective water but also serves a practical purpose, they are needed to stabilise the bank between the lagoon and the beck which flows behind.
Other plantings of dogwoods and willows:
The shining white trunks and branches of ‘Silver’ birches add an extra contrast to these plantings, in Winter in particular. They also give modest height in a very airy manner.
Below are some boardwalk/pathway constructions in ‘natural’ sites.
The above are all of treated softwood construction.
Green Oak though gives very pleasing results, here an Oak bridge:
This woodland path is made from a mixture of tanalised timber, for the risers, and the sides are round wood harvested on site. Blue/Grey Scalpings form the large treads.
Stone seating platform.
Autumn colours introduced by means of the new mixed hedge.