Growing In Harmony
Gardens Illustrated|October 2017

Renowned nurseryman Jan Spruyt specialises in perennial plants for form and texture, but in his latest project for a private garden he’s created a kaleidoscope of colour

Natasha Goodfellow

A garden full of flowers, bees and butterflies from March to November is what we all dream of. And if we were told that that same garden could be achieved with no watering, no dividing, and almost no pest control, we’d know for sure that the dream was too good to be true. Or would we?

Annemie and Guy Brusselmans’ garden in Sint-Amands, a rural community between Antwerp and Brussels, proves that the dream is eminently achievable – and more beautiful than we had dared imagine. Designed by renowned nurseryman and prairie-planting advocate Jan Spruyt, it is, for nine months of the year, an ever-changing kaleidoscope of colour; dark tulips, maroon Aquilegia vulgaris var. stellata a ‘Black Barlow’ and wine-red Geranium phaeum giving way to pink achilleas and orange, ra-ra-skirted heleniums in summer and, later, the buffs, reds and gold of autumn foliage and grasses, punctuated by huge drifts of asters. In late November the picture changes again to something less colourful but still full of interest as seed heads assume mantles of frost or snow.“There are only about two weeks of the year when there’s nothing going on,” says Annemie. “And that’s in late February just after we’ve cut everything down – but even then, you can see the bulbs nosing through the soil, and we start to imagine the delights to come.”

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