Martin and Ann Higgins garden 2007/2008
(by Martin Higgins)

We have been gardening in Lindfield since 2003, although the photographs were taken in 2007 and 2008. Plants are the thing with us, design is very much secondary. We love to see plants growing through, round and over their neighbours; although we always try to ensure that the more vigorous neighbour is not so thuggish as to swamp and then kill any of those surrounding it.

Although hardy herbaceous plants are our favourites, particularly geraniums and salvias we prefer mixed borders with hardy perennials, shrubs and bulbs. This gave us a dilemma when we moved here as the front garden had a bed running alongside the drive planted with just roses and a few bulbs for the spring. As the roses were very floriferous and well scented we did not want to follow our first instinct and dig them up.

Our solution was to under plant them with hardy geraniums and add primroses to the spring bulbs. Particularly successful have been the sanguineum geraniums such as: Striatum, Max Frei, Purple Flame and Alan Bloom. The low habit of the sanguineums contrasts with that of the roses. To ensure however that it does not look as if it has been laid out by a surveyor there is also one specimen of geranium Patricia, which is almost as tall as most of the roses. The latter always seem to give a good display irrespective of the summer weather and we reward them for this with two annual feeds of rose fertiliser (Noreen’s best from the LHS Sundries Centre of course) and plenty of organic / farmyard manure.

To enable us to have more plants a large area of the back “lawn” was dug up and two large beds were created; one in 2006, the other in the following year. Apart from the two pictures of specimen roses in the front garden the others are all shots of the two new beds, taken in their respective second year of being planted. Although they look more mature than that this is because we subscribe to the old gardening adage of: “give even a 50p plant a £10 hole”. We provided each plant, bulb or shrub with a deep and wide hole with well broken up soil supplemented with plenty of compost and grit; except for those plants which hail from Mediterranean type regions which usually prefer a leaner soil than our rich clay, in which case we cut out the compost and go strong on the grit.

The picture showing a hydrangea to the left front - Hydrangea arborescens Annabelle a lovely plant whose flowering heads start out green before turning cream and then white – shows Miscanthus sinensis Strictus to the rear which we think is the best of the “Zebra” grasses which looks particularly lovely with the light behind it as it then accentuates the stripes. The magenta geranium is Anne Thompson which flowers for eight months and we think is one of the best.

Happy gardening!