ripgirl2

The English Garden

D C
October 2, 2018
last modified: October 2, 2018

I've always loved gardening. Maybe I got it from my father who had a beautiful rose garden in our first childhood home, and peonies along the fence. Who also used to pull radishes right out of the ground and eat them on the spot! But I don't think my passion really reached its height until I found the Houzz website; all of those beautiful pictures made my head spin with ideas! Especially the pictures of formal, or not so formal, English gardens. I couldn't get enough!!! I'm in the long process of transforming my small plot into something spectacular.


But my question is what do those lovely gardens look like in late fall through winter?? I'd love to see pictures if anyone from across the pond would like to share. I'd like to see US gardens in winter, too, so don't be shy!!!


Fabulous!! But what does this look like off season??

Planting design. English country garden, Ilkley, West Yorkshire. · More Info



Comments (24)

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    The thing to note in that picture is that the garden still has structure when all those perennials are dormant. The bones of the garden are as important as the flesh. The stone paving and wall and the tree and evergreen hedge behind will be there all year round framing whatever is in season in the bed. Lawns remain green all year round unless there is exceptionally rare dry weather in summer. And they green up very quickly. There are probably bulbs in there for spring and some of the herbaceous plants will be evergreen. Being in Ilkley there’ll probably be snow on occasion.

    D C thanked floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
  • Faith

    Well, I don’t have an English garden, but I consider my style similar to cottage style in that I plant quite densely, incorporate edibles in my design, use lots of plants that self-sow, etc. here is my garden in July, and the same bed now (from a different angle). We haven’t had our first frost yet, although it’s forecast for early next week.

    July:

    Early October:

    I’m looking through my photos to see what I have for winter and here’s one from last March of my dog eating a rose hip off the bush. No evergreen grass here in Colorado! This pic is from almost the exact same angle as the last one:

    But like floral_uk says, the hardscape carries the garden in winter:

    D C thanked Faith
  • PRO
    Melissa Morton Garden Design

    Thank you for your interest and posting this image from my portfolio. As @floral_uk suggest, you need to see this section of the border as part of the bigger picture for this garden...


    Planting design. English country garden, Ilkley, West Yorkshire. · More Info

    Winter interest is provided by the evergreen yew hedging (also lots of holly and rhododendrons) and the large conifer at the back. Lawn, and stone rill and pond, steps and walls all provide structure, form and a variety of materials. In terms of the planting design for the raised beds you mention, we did explore topiary, grasses and obelisks to add variety and structure - but the client didn't want any of those! The design process allows the client to consider all sorts of elements, at the end of the day it's their garden - tailored to what they like and want.

    For a different client I was able to explore the use of topiary and grasses to add some form and variation in texture.


    Curvy Topiary Complete Planting Design - Yorkshire, England · More Info


    Curvy Topiary Complete Planting Design - Yorkshire, England · More Info

    With colour coming from plant foliage as well as flowers. Do take a look and let me know if this is more what you like?

    D C thanked Melissa Morton Garden Design
  • D C

    @floraluk - good point about the hardscape. I guess what I am trying to determine is with all of the perennials planted on the wall what does that look like when they all die back. I have two rustic walls and a patio but with a mix of perennials and shrubs and I don't cut back all of the perennials but would think with more that would look messy. I'm not sure I want a messy look all winter.


    Here is part of my yard in winter (snow not always center stage!):



    Fall · More Info


    Grasses are the neighbors:

    Fall · More Info


  • D C

    @Faith - Thanks for the pictures! Helps to see the summer - winter scape. Adorable dog! Would love to see more if you have them. I love the pergola area.


    Our grass remains mostly green but gets crunchy after the frost. I'm northwest of Philadelphia ;Not sure I could take all that brown all winter!

  • PRO
    Melissa Morton Garden Design

    i usually do a tidy up late autumn, early winter where perennials can be cut back if a tidy look is wanted. Leaving evergreen structure and attractive shaped deciduous trees/shrubs. Applying a good layer of dark mulch sets these off nicely leaving the perennials to pop up the following spring.

    D C thanked Melissa Morton Garden Design
  • D C

    @ Melissa - Thank you for the additional pictures; it really helps to see the entire perspective. I also incorporate both needled and broadleafed evergreens into my landscape so that there is something left alive to provide that interest in winter. I also have a circular herb garden edged with granite pavers so that also provides winter structure. I love the idea of obelisks and would love to scatter them in different places around the yard!

    I think my yard doesn't look quit like your pictures because I don't have as many perennials. My intent in having the second wall installed above the first was to try to pull the yard in visually, closer to the house. It' was just a huge expanse of green to the edge of the woods. However, I don't think it had quite the intended effect. I am still seeing too much green; definitely need for flowers, less grass.


    Also, I think part of my disappointment after having the second wall installed in June was that the rain started and hasn't stopped so the color of the flowers just wasnt what it should have been. The above average rainfall this year robbed us of our color!

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    Melissa made a point above that green is a colour and is just as important as other colours. A well designed garden doesn’t have to be a riot of bright flowers at every season. It changes as the year turns and in winter it is a different place. But if the form and structure are good it can still be beautiful.

    D C thanked floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
  • D C

    @floral_uk - True enough. However, we do expect color from our perennials. I just meant that this year with the excessive rain the perennials were unable to provide and since some of mine were newly planted the effect I was hoping for wasn't there.

  • PRO
    Melissa Morton Garden Design

    I understand your frustration @D C. Often the summer weather dictates a lot to the level of success a planting scheme works. And that's after all the other variables from one garden to another eg microclimate, light levels, soil, neighbouring planting and structures etc which adds to the challenge. A lot more dynamic than interior spaces!

    D C thanked Melissa Morton Garden Design
  • D C

    Oh my gosh, so much more! I used to be an avid interior designer/decorator but once I moved to a house with a yard my passion for gardening really took over. It takes way more time and patience and insight to be a landscape designer! But I love it!


    I wish I had more current pictures of my yard to post but I haven't taken any since 4 months later and 23 inches of rain the project is not really picture worthy.

  • PRO
    Melissa Morton Garden Design

    @D C : ) Thank you for your feedback - interesting comparison to interiors. I might have to quote your comment there "It takes way more time and patience...."! A clear vision for the planting and understanding maintenance are key to establish the planting the best way. I planted bare root perennials last autumn for the first time for a client. She was very understanding that I knew what would happen 4-6 months later and she was thrilled with the outcome the following spring and summer. She found it amusing that I had it all in my head and was enthusing about it in the November - but it wasn't visible at the time! It can be quite deflating invoicing a client for a planting project when they can't realise their investment immediately (like wall papering a room) and it can take from 3 months to 3 years for the planting to really do their thing. Make sure you have a clear vision, stick to it and remember 'less is more'.

  • D C

    Quote away!!


    I'll take your advice...stick to the vision. I wish I could take my own re: patience!

  • Faith

    A quote I love, source unknown: “Gardening is the slowest of the performing arts.” The first time I saw it, I thought it was cute. Three years later, I think it’s deep truth! I love thinking about all of the entrances of each and layer, the interactions between them, the next ones coming in.

  • PRO
    Melissa Morton Garden Design

    Wow, how true! Thank you for this @Faith. I’ve just searched and found this....http://easthamptonstar.com/Archive/1/MAC-GRISWOLD-Cultivating-Garden-History By Mac Griswold? I shall share this on my FB Page and Instagram for sure!

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH

    I am not an English garden, but most of my garden is cottage. If I can get Houzz to cooperate, I will post a couple of matching photos that show a similar angle and area of a bed. This bed pretty much disappears from view against the row of evergreens in winter. So in summer, the evergreens are a dark background that highlights the flowers and colored foliage, but when the perennials are cut back and the clematis supports removed, the evergreens are the star of the show. We tend to get quite a bit of snow. As you can see, it is a bit distant from the house, and so is most often viewed from a vehicle entering or leaving the drive or from the road which runs parallel to the bed, so I haven't planted many smaller or groundcover plants. In my nearer areas of the yard, most of the beds have evergreen flowering groundcovers so that during the late fall and early spring months in between freezing weather and snow, there is a range of colors and textures of leaves: cottage pinks/Dianthus, especially ones with frosty foliage; Veronica 'Gerogia Blue'; thyme; perennial candytuft,/Iberis sempervirens; cranberry/Vaccinium; and sedges such as 'Ice Dance'.



    D C thanked NHBabs z4b-5a NH
  • D C thanked Cathy Kaufell
  • PRO
    Melissa Morton Garden Design

    @NHBabs That's a great idea to use dark evergreens as a backdrop for summer flowers.... then leaving you with that interest in winter.

    @Cathy Kaufell What a fabulously deep border to create drifts and blocks of planting. Roses are great - particularly repeat flowering ones, for that impact for cottage and country gardens. They can be used in a more contemporary way too with grasses...

    In this garden, I needed to work in an existing, mature, purple-leaved Acer into a flowering border, and discovered roses are a perfect match - so versatile I think.


    Curvy Topiary Complete Planting Design - Yorkshire, England · More Info

  • D C

    @NHBabs - What a beautiful view in both seasons! Thank you for the pictures.


    I have evergreens as structure in my gardens but mostly the broadleaf variety. I love Dianthus Firewitch and try to incorporate them but for some reason they do not like me very much no matter where I plant them. I do have many Veronica in pink and purple and they perform beautifully!

  • D C

    @Cathy - I am envious of your lovely perennial garden! It has color, texture and depth!! I have some work to do in my cottage garden moving taller plants to the back of the border and

    incorporating ones that bloom at different times. I also need to lengthen the border, I think.

    This was year 1 (2016) and I don't have anything more recent; it is quite full now on both sides but the fence side is where I have work to do.


    Side Yard · More Info


    This is retaining wall # 1 in year 1 (2015). Since then it has filled in nicely, and I have added echinaceas, salvias and cardinal flowers. I also switched out one of the butterfly bushes for a native Summersweet. It's a very different looking yard now with the far end partially enclosed to provide privacy. But of course I don't have any more recent photos!


    Misc · More Info


  • D C

    Just came across this quote here on Houzz:


    Life begins the day you start a garden. – Chinese proverb


    Lovely!

  • aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

    I have a fairly small garden and it changes from time to time as I get taken in with another plant I just have to have. Some of these pictures are recent, some from a few years back. My gardening days are dwindling down due to health problems but I still have my photo album :).


    There's an old tree stump under this.


    Border against the side of the house.


    Towards the back of the garden.


    We took this little pool out as it was getting a bit much for us to cope with.


    Lots of green but different textures.


    More green.


    A hydrangea I gre from a cutting.


    One of my last projects, the left side behind the rock wall hadn't been weeded or planted yet. I have to admit, I'm a bit of rebel when it comes to gardening I follow no rules. I plant what I like LOL.


    A winter scene

    Annette

    D C thanked aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada
  • D C

    @aftermidnight - What a beautiful garden in both seasons!! Thanks so much for sharing.


    I'm afraid I am guilty of the same; I buy what I like and plant it then need t o move it later. I cant help it; there are too many plants to choose from!


    I'm quite impressed that you grew what looks to be a lacecap hydrangea. I love the look of those and almost bought one this summer. But when I went back for it there were none left. I will try again next year.


    I need a water feature somewhere, other than the runoff!! I have a pottery pond with a water fountain but its too small for the yard.. I have it on my patio but I would like a small pond at the bottom of my lower retaining wall. Maybe someday.


    Thinking something like this(tough to see but this on is at the top of the wall):


    Ingleton Court · More Info


  • windberry zone5a BCCanada

    @aftermidnight - Beautiful garden Annette! How good you don't follow the rules!

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