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Gardening: A flower garden to fit your home and lifestyle

PUBLISHED: 16:44 29 May 2013 | UPDATED: 16:44 29 May 2013

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Creating a garden with a year-round display of flowers takes patience and a certain amount of experimentation. Which flowers you decide to grow depends very much on personal taste and the conditions that your garden has to offer.

Foxgloves add nice height to a garden. Picture: PAFoxgloves add nice height to a garden. Picture: PA

In order to plant the garden of your dreams make a plan to visit local gardens. A copy of the NGS Yellow Book is essential as this offers lists of private gardens that open for charity. Simply look up your county and ear mark tempting gardens. Visit local plots and they should share your soil type, so quite simply you can copy the plant combination you like and you’ll have a higher chance of success. Many open gardens also sell plants at very reasonable prices for charity so this is a wonderful opportunity to fill your borders.

A visit to a garden show such as Malvern Spring Gardening Show (9-12 May www.threecounties.co.uk) will open your eyes to the vast variety of plants available. At shows such as this you’ll meet specialist nursery men and women and have the opportunity to ask them which varieties are right for your garden. If you are new to gardening you will leave with a higher understanding of the vast opportunities and variety of flowering plants.

Choosing a theme

Poppies are good in the middle of garden bordersPoppies are good in the middle of garden borders

After garden visiting you’ll quickly pick up on the different looks that can be created with the clever use of plants. Flower colour can determine the mood of a space and flower type the style. White gardens are popular to add light to shady gardens and offer an impressive look in the evening, whilst deep red and oranges offer a party feel and warm up a space. If you plan to create a restful space then pastel colour will work a treat.

The style of your garden will also be dictated by the character and the style of your houses – after all this is the biggest feature in any garden. A more contemporary look is often desirable in order to compliment a new home. To match the planting to your home select just a few flowering plants and plant in blocks or drifts. Often the more architectural flowers are favoured for modern looks such as the neat spheres of alliums and the tall spike of verbascums – in short, less is more.

In contrast those with a more traditional home can feel confident in planting a hotchpotch of flowers. This party of colours and shapes will result in a classic cottage garden look.

Once you have your theme and colour choice take time to consider the shapes, textures and growing habit that flowering plants offer. Some plants such as thyme and violas are low growing and offer interest at the front of the border, while peonies, iris and poppies are perfect for the middle of the border. For great height opt for the likes of delphiniums and foxgloves and don’t forget that walls can be clad with flowering plants such as clematis and roses.

Tamsin Westhorpe explains how to create the perfect flower garden. Picture: Howard WalkerTamsin Westhorpe explains how to create the perfect flower garden. Picture: Howard Walker

To create the best plant combinations try to plant those with contrasting shapes and textures together. A clever gardener will hope that each plant can be easily picked out and is complimented by its partner. This is an art and if a combination doesn’t work then moved plants in autumn.

Whatever you grow the most important thing to remember is that it’s your garden and rules are there to be broken!

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