Stealing garden tips and ideas from the English countryside | THE COMPLEAT HOME GARDENER

After a recent visit leading a tour to see some of the great gardens of England, here are Marianne Binetti's take home ideas to consider for your landscape.

The second week of July you need to take some time to relax and enjoy the garden. Forget about planting vegetables, take a break from adding more flowers and ignore the weeds. The spring rush and June explosion of blooms is slowing down and so should the gardener.

After a recent visit leading a tour to see some of the great gardens of England here are some take home ideas to consider on a summer afternoon while gazing at your own landscape:

Stealing Beauty from Powis Castle:

The claim to fame for this ancient castle on the border of Wales and England is that the layers of terraced gardens on the fortified hillside are still intact despite 400 years of garden renovations. You may not have a hillside retreat looking out over miles of ancestral land but you can steal the idea of making the most of your views.

Cut back shrubs blocking light and views from your windows and consider removing trees that compromise the view of sea or mountains. There are plenty of dwarf shrubs and compact trees to take the place of your overgrown monsters.

Summer is a fine time to clean the closets of your garden and either compost, donate or create firewood out of your overgrown specimens.

Plant idea: Grow the gray foliage of Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ if you want a low water-use perennial that is easy to find at local nurseries and you’ll have a direct link to this castle in Wales. Every plant was first started from a random Artemisia plant that volunteered at Powis Castle gardens and was noticed by the head gardener because it did not send up many flowering stalks to reseed about the estate.

Today the Powis Castle, Artemisia is a favorite perennial of designers that want to use silver foliage and home owners that want to cut back on their summer water bill.

Stealing Beauty from the village of Portmeirion:

A fantasy village of turrets, towers and pastel painted buildings, some say this seaside town built at the turn of the century by an eccentric duke was the inspiration for Disneyland.

There were no giant mice dressed up with huge gloves walking around Portmeirion but there was a story book quality to the architecture and a creative use of different building materials. The take home idea is to make use of architectural fragments to build your own arbors, benches and garden sheds.

Create your own style by adding bits of ironwork to a simple shed and use pastel paint to give fences, benches and door frames a dream like quality. Fearless design is the mother of creativity and the collection of hotels, restaurants, pavilions and gardens of Portmeirion was enchanting and original.

(Note: The town charges an entry fee to visitors to keep the streets from becoming too crowded dirt cheap compared to what Walt Disney demanded to enter his magic kingdom.)

Plant Idea: Hydrangeas in pastel shades of pink, lavender and blue dot the gardens of Portmeirion as this shrub thrives in the cool mist along the coast of Wales. Hydrangeas love cool weather so at home grow your own hydrangeas where they are shaded from the hot afternoon sun.

Stealing Beauty from The Lost Gardens of Heligan: In Cornwall

This renovated estate garden of Heligan was rescued from generations of decay to become one of the premier tourist attractions in Great Britain. The huge estate has a walled Victorian vegetable garden, a ravine full of tropical plants, a rope bridge and woodland walks and the famous modern sculptures that feature a troll’s head and a giant lady lying asleep covered with moss and ornamental grasses.

Plant Idea: Heirloom fruits and vegetables are the stars of the edible Victorian garden and the head gardener told our group of American tourists that the best place to order heirloom vegetable seeds was from American seed companies.

Heirloom vegetables are those grown one hundred years ago before our food was shipped to market in trucks. The modern vegetables we now consume have thick skins and slow ripening for ease of transport often at the expense of flavor and nutrition.

The biggest seller of heirloom seeds today is Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. This family owned company is also known for their seed bank and National Heirloom Expo out of Santa Rosa California. (Check out the theheirloomexpo.com for more information.)

Next week: part two of the best ideas from the English Garden tour.

Marianne Binetti has a degree in horthiculture from WSU She can be reached at www.binettigarden.com.

 

More in Opinion

Please consider keeping eight period schedule

Mr. Ron Thiele and ISD school board, I highly encourage all of… Continue reading

Military also adjusting to worker shortages | Brunell

When our military is viewed as an employer, it has the same… Continue reading

‘We the people’ set our national direction Nov. 6

Two strategies with two potential outcomes: the course our nation was decided Tuesday.

Keeping the Supreme Court above partisan politics

“A partisan reputation… is going to cause very serious harm to the status and integrity of the decisions of this court in the eyes of the country.”

False rape allegations are not the problem to address

An opinion piece from The Courier-Herald

These 17 people will decide raises for elected officials

Are the 147 members of the Legislature in line for a raise?… Continue reading

Kavanaugh hearings and the general election

Politicians can only hope they have made the right choices and that their constituents vote them in/back into office.

Every election uses political warfare tactics

Even non-partisan city council races feel the heat.

Living in the age of the political double-standard

The partisan political divide is growing as the November midterm elections approach.… Continue reading

Living in an era where emotions, opinions outweigh the facts

Due to the enormous volume of data at our fingertips, we are now living in the age of “post-truth.”

Planning future editions in today’s newsrooms

The struggle between web and print for weekly papers.

We’re all starting to feel the strain of trade war

Take a rubber band and place it around your fingers and thumb.… Continue reading