I’ VE learnt a lot since I began making gardens some 50 years ago, and I cringe at some of my mistakes! I made a narrow crescent and planted 12 different hybrid tea roses in a variety of bilious colours. They were all different heights and they all flowered at slightly different times, so they looked awful. There was no space around them to plant anything except for an edging of white alyssum and blue lobelia. The alyssum and lobelia both packed up quickly, although there are better long-flowering lobelia to be had today.
It taught me that 12 of the same rose would have looked far better and never to plant upright hybrid teas in a narrow bed again. I also try to avoid pink and yellow, ever since I planted a golden leaved ivy with a cool-pink Clematis montana – a mistake that stared me in the face for several years before I finally moved house and left some other poor soul with it.
However, the one thing I have done well over the years is to put plants in the place where they’re happiest. Aromatic plants go in full sun, woodlanders get shade, and autumn grasses and taller perennials get afternoon sunshine. I have always avoided the border that gives you something throughout the year, because while something else is thriving another thing is going over.
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