Planting Design

Posted on 1st May, 2010

As designers we are very hands on and where possible we like to plant up the gardens we have designed. For us its the culmination of the months or even years of vision about how the finished garden will look – and its great to see that vision that has existed for so long in the head and then on paper, finally be completed.

Planting can however sometimes take on the proportions of a military campaign. Before any planting takes place we get to go shopping! Actually we call it sourcing …but really its shopping… selecting the best specimens we can find, taking care to look for the right shape, size and structure of particular plants where they need to do a particular job or we want to achieve a particular effect.

After selecting, tagging, purchasing – stage one of the military campaign kicks in as we have to get the plants to site. Luckily most of the time we get a delivery from the nurseries but sometimes we have to take a more active approach – it is truly amazing what can be squeezed into a small hatchback when needs must!

Like all military operations you need a good strategy or plan of action from the outset. The logistics of co-ordinating plant deliveries, access, man power all needs considering. However like all good plans they don’t always follow an orderly pattern and a flexible approach is required.

This week saw us planting in Surrey. As ever we had carefully co-ordinated the deliveries of plants and organised man power. The first area to be set out and planted was around the new swimming pool. At the very same moment that we started planting, two young men appeared to undertake work on the pool, one climbing into a dry suit to spend time submerged in the pool while all around we tried to make sure stray plant pots didn’t blow into the pool in the wind.

The weather as ever has a part to play and wet and windy conditions make planting more difficult. Muddy boots and new paving don’t go hand in hand and many different approaches are taken by us to keep new hardlandscaping clean. This week we used the bucket approach, the plastic bags over boots approach, and the wet socks approach and others.

Happily despite wind, rain and frogmen the planting was completed.

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