The garden's soil is a natural
Location The Lucy Redman Garden, Bury St Edmunds, SuffoLk Size Soil A naturaLLy sandy Loam
More info See Dominic's website www. MetaLLurgi. Co. uk, or search for LucyRedmanArt on www.etsy.
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sandy loam, so it is rich and fertile enough for most plants, and especially ones needing extra drainage. The planting is predominantly unusual, dotted among some stalwart cottage garden fare, such as verbena and valerian.
All seasons see extraordinary delights – in winter, callicarpa, or beautyberry, shines out from greys and browns with its almost neon-purple berries; Daphne bholua Jacqueline Postill', one of Lucy's favourite shrubs at this time of year, is an unusual variety that blooms with little pink flowers for months on end.
Spiky-flowered Azara macrophylla is a treat for the whole family. “It has a strong
vanilla scent in winter, just like sweets, ” says Lucy. “My young children love it! ” Hellebores abound for most of late winter, which she picks a few of the heads from and floats in bowls of water indoors, meaning you can see their speckled blooms properly without venturing out into the cold.
When spring arrives, hundreds of bulbs poke through to see in the growing season, and Brunnera macrophylla, with its silvery leaves and tiny blue star flowers, is a treat. “Planted under the white-trunked birch, they look amazing in spring. It's a stunning blue-and-white combination, ” says Lucy.
The hazy days of summer and into autumn are a fruitful time for the garden. Amazing perennial plants such as eucomis, or pineapple lily, unusual green-flowered Galtonia viridiflora, graceful deep red-stemmed autumn snowflakes, long-flowering Galega bicolor and a run of ten looming Stipa gigantea, catch the sunlight. Allium sphaerocephalon punctuates the borders with deep claret dots. They flower in late summer, a little later than most.
“I extend the colour of them by using a car spray from Halfords in a similar colour, and spray each flower in situ to keep them going! It adds that little bit of deep colour to autumn, and they peek out through my grasses, which looks fantastic, ”
she says. Framing the stunning display are wonderful tree specimens such as Ginkgo biloba, crab apples and edible apples.
Lucy's favourite time of year is spring, with the happy appearance of a lot of perennials and bulbs, such as aquilegia, snakeshead fritillaries and some Ornithogalum magnum, or Star of Bethlehem. This tall, elegant plant is a white-flowered species of the asparagus family that looks wonderful with alliums.
“I find it hard to choose my favourite time in the garden, though, but spring holds so much new life and anticipation of what's to come, ” she says.
There's only one time that spring has brought with it a bit of mild panic. Lucy and Dominic
A beautiful, trained willow tunnel stands bare in winter and looks teasingly through to the willow urn at the end
had a special guest back in May 2008 to see the garden, one of Lucy's inspirations from when she was a keen child gardener, acclaimed plantswoman Beth Chatto. She had to work hard to get everything up and blooming well by that time. “She was warm and friendly, though, despite my being very nervous, ” says Lucy.
“I really wanted her to see the garden at its absolute best! ”
By her own admission, Lucy has lots of hare-brained thoughts about what to do in her garden, such as the allium-spraying tip. She loves her pebble parterre feature on the lawn just by the house – part of the many artistic flourishes she's added. It's here that snowdrops, Narcissus.