Your ideas? Competition. Free prize!

Many months ago I ordered a load of books including The Modern Garden by Jane Brown, of which I accidentally ordered 2 copies. Sending it back is pointless, as you lose out twice on shipping and by the end recoup only little.


So I had an idea. RB and I decided to dig up a large bed that was filled with old-fashioned shrubs and plants, and generally looked tired. Much of it was tall as well, which blocked the view of the garden below from the house.


We are now debating what to plant in the bed. We want to limit the plants to 1-metre in height, and we would ideally like to have 3 to 4 varieties that are multiplied across in quantities of 10 to 20. The soil is fairly heavy, a bit on the acid side, well drained and gets full sun all day. We are in South East England.


Some plants we like include: gaura, masterwort/astrantia, japanese anemones, bugbane (although perhaps not suitable for site/soil we like the effect), culver’s root, spurge/euphorbias, and groundcover like pachysandra, all of which don’t really marry very well. It wants to be contemporary. We loved the Laurent-Perrier 2008 show garden at Chelsea Flower Show for example.

So here’s the deal: we need some ideas! Preferably ideas with links or photos. You can post your ideas in the comments section and if you want to follow up with photos send them to mail at (replacing at with @).

The person sending the best advice will be sent the book as a prize, and as a thank you. The advice will also be featured in a follow-up post on this website.

Good luck!


6 responses to “Your ideas? Competition. Free prize!

  1. Having just returned from Chicago, I have to recommend great rivers of grasses punctuated with perennials that will stand up even after the flowering period is over. I am not sure what would be appropriate for your climate, but Salvias were used for this prairie look. In my own garden, Nasella tenuissima provides year around flavor to the beds. Good luck with this fun project.

  2. Something shrewdly elegant in the middle and other flowering plants in layers cascading down towards the edge… If its here in Malaysia, I may just give an attempt…

    Good Luck!!
    ~ bangchik

  3. Oh, if only I had the time I would help you! But I would favour a low key prairie look too, using winding grasses together with splashes of colour, Geum Mrs Bradshaw works well with grasses, plus successional planting to prevent it looking boring, this is not a winter border… all depends on what is around it too, hard to design a border in isolation as it needs to connect to the rest of the garden in some way… might give it some thought tomorrow for you!

  4. helen kensinger

    Why not look at the cover image of the book you are offering and create a modern “tapestry” of evergreen plants like low, spreading yews, pachysandra, ivy, helleboris, boxwood, etc. Many of the shrubs around this area (seen in the photos) are decidious and what you may need all seasons is drifts of green textures.

  5. Hello! Just bobbed over from another Blog – Jo @ The Good Life. Have you thought of Heuchera’s ( – they come in differing colours and are quite low, but this time of year, have wonderful spikes of flowers and give all year round colour. They are for the front.

    Then maybe Iris – they pop up in spring and flower now, but have the differing foliage – so spiky to the heuchera’s round and slighty floppy? And are quite architectural? And when they die back, you won’t really see them, just the heuchera’s.

    Then at the back something tall? Grasses…?

    Anycase, I’ve work to do!

    Hope it helps….? Cat xxx

  6. Sorry – me again – have you tried Crocus – their “right place right plant” section – normally quite good for inspiration! I use it sometimes!

    Me (again!)

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