Parterre Intel


Garden designer Mary Maurel fills us in on conceptualising a parterre garden brimming with bulbs and grasses for maximum impact.

1. Structure in any garden is key. Anchor the design with permanent elements such as evergreen hedges.

2. Use smaller grass varieties to provide a consistent base layer or ‘canvas’ for the design into which one would then ‘weave’ bulbs and larger intermittent grasses.

3. Select a colour palette that resonates with you – be it restrained and curated or wildly colourful. The neutral tones and translucent textures of grasses have an amazing ability to blend and unify the wildest of colour palettes.

4. When planting and positioning bulbs remember that their placement in nature is random – mimic this by not placing smaller bulbs too consistently. Be more calculated when placing taller bulb varieties like watsonias, and spread them to achieve overall balance.

Read more: Wendy’s parterre garden at Fairholme is lushly planted with ornamental grasses and bulbs inspired by the views.

Photography Heidi Bertish