Small Gardens and Courtyards
· To introduce something magical into a tiny garden, try a pot ﬁlled with water and planted with a water lily. You could even put a small submerged pump in it to bubble gently in the middle.
· A single bench carefully positioned can draw one into the garden. Create an alcove around or above it with surrounding planting.
· Vegetable boxes can be really beautiful, as well as functional. Put some thought into their shape and ﬁnish, and keep them planted up seasonally with gorgeous herbs and veggies.
· A curated collection of succulents in a big pot with contrasting colours and textures is a show-stopper. They need replanting and reorganising at least every six months as they grow at different rates.
· Just one old-fashioned climbing rose on a wall, arch or up a tree will add immediate romance.
· Bulbs don’t need a lot of space and will thrill you every time.
· Hanging baskets are back. Find a focal place to hang them – either beneath or above head height.
Medium and Large Gardens
· If you have a long blank wall, consider espalier rather than creepers. It’s fascinating to see plants trained this way, especially if they fruit. It takes a bit of preparation in setting up the wires in the pattern you like, understanding how to train the plants and the seasonal pruning they require, but it’s really worth it. Figs are my favourites.
· Try planting ﬂowering fruit or citrus trees in a formal grid with straight pathways between the trees. The spacing will depend on the tree variety. Underneath each tree have a square of hedging or long grasses.
· For real drama add a water stair – essentially water cascading down a staircase. It can be wide or narrow like a rill, and have a pathway alongside it or not.
· I love groves of upright trees such as silver birches or Heteropyxis natalensis (Natal Lavender), planted randomly and some quite close together, offset with a winding path and strappy planting beneath. Double hedges (one short, one taller) always look great – just allow a small space between them for clipping access. Plant swathes of knee-high grasses and limit yourself to no more than three species. Enrich the planting with collections of interesting aloes, tall succulents or seasonal bulbs. You will need to understand the heights of what you choose here – if too small they will ultimately be overpowered by the grasses.
Franchesca Watson ☎ 082 808 1287
Photography: Elsa Young; Supplied