January is very much the month to start a fresh and look ahead with a new vigor. We caught up with Garden Designer Cheryl Cummings at the Society of Garden Designers Conference where the audience were captivated by the speakers. You may find her article offers inspiration as we look forward to longer daylight hours and warm sunshine.
In the garden as in the rest of life, very now and then it’s good for long held views to be shaken up a bit, old ways of doing things questioned and for us to consider a few new ideas.
At a seminar recently I listened to a very adventurous London based garden designer James Fraser talk and show examples of the way he uses plants from his native New Zealand in ways I’ve never seen before. Small inner city gardens densely planted with evergreen trees cleared of side branches to form groves of architectural trunks under planted with tropical foliage, decked and edged with weathered timber to create a rustic forest in the heart of the concrete jungle.
It seemed incongruous and out of place at first but the creation of a humid cool temperate micro climate is a radical and thought provoking way new way to design and bring the benefit of shade and a cooling atmosphere to a small city garden.
Another speaker, Patrick Cullina from America, talked about his part in the transformation of ‘The High Line’. An abandoned aerial goods railway running high above New York and now a beautifully planted public park where locals and tourists, young and old alike can see and enjoy the city from a totally new perspective high above the traffic, escaping the congestion below amidst lush ornamental and native vegetation.
London too we were told is to have an elevated park, a garden bridge over the Thames. One of my favourite designers Dan Pearson explained his choices for the planting, dynamic and ever changing it will reflect the historic and very different uses of the land on either bank of the river forming a metaphorical link between the past and the future. Heady stuff and truly inspirational.
If we keep our minds open to the possibilities, new ideas can sweep away our preconceptions of what gardens are, how they should look and be planted and can have a wonderfully rejuvenating effect on our own gardens. What better time to look at our gardens with fresh eyes than right now at the very beginning of a brand new year.
Cheryl Cummings Garden Design Wales