Hmmmm what a title ‘autumnal alternative to jpegs’– did it make you click to find out more? Well you’ll soon find out what I mean as you scroll down the page.Do you want to know what my one big regret is with my back garden? Autumn flowers excite me but over the years its not half as much as foliage colours and texture. Fifteen years ago Japanese gardens were quite popular here in the UK and regularly featured in the Chelsea show gardens but by the time I started to design ours over 10 years ago that trend was waning in popularity and I wanted to do something different. As I look back many a time I ask myself why I didn’t just plant it with a Japanese style from the very beginning as it had been one of the original designs to choose from.
The closest thing I have to any type of Japanese style is along the little strip of garden that separates our property from the neighbours. It’s nothing like the famous Portland Japanese Garden. Such beauty in that place…………………sigh.
We all find our inspiration in many different ways and for this part of the garden it was finding an enormous rock embedded in the lawn in 2007. We kept wondering why one part of the grass always seemed to die off so we decided to dig as I was sure it was just a small piece of rock. Well we dug and dug………..and dug and it took one whole day to dig it out. My youngest was convinced we had a gravestone in the lawn!
It then took two of us to roll it from the lawn to the side garden being careful not to break the patio pavers every time we rolled it over. What were we going to do with this enormous piece of rock – sell it on ebay?……………….. can you imagine the postage? and so began our little Japanese theme………….. well that is after we extended the other flowerbed as we had wrecked that part of the lawn.
I already had the wind chimes so all we needed were a few rolls of bamboo edging, cobbles, river pebbles and white gravel (though not so white now!). Ideally it should have been sand so that I could rake some shapes into it – but the neighbourhood cats would have used it as an outdoor litter tray…………….. no thank you!
I bought a couple of packets of bamboo canes from the garden centre and made two pieces of bamboo trellis. I laid out the design on the floor and cut the pieces and then wired them together with florists wire. Then I covered the wire with raffia knotted in a Japanese style though damp twine would have been better. (How to tie Japanese knots, make bamboo fences and trellis).
I planted it with
- Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Garnet’
- Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ – Japanese Forest Grass
- a small standard cherry tree (lost label)
- Cyrtomium falcatum – Japanese holly fern
- Phyllostachys aurea – Golden bamboo
- Rhodendron (lost label)
- Azalea (lost label)
- 1 x Conifer (lost label)
- Fatsia japonica ( it never gets big due to our recent harsh winters)
- Athyrium niponicum var Pictum – Japanese painted lady fern
- Malus ‘Evereste’ bonsai tree in pot – though this year hardly a crab apple on any of these trees.
- Malus ‘Gorgeous’ bonsai tree in pot
- Malus ‘Golden Hornet’ bonsai tree in pot – I’ve the wood in the garage to make the monkey poles for the 3 bonsai trees to sit on but so far I’ve never managed to make them this year.
- I also used to have a beautiful 3 foot tall Nandina domestica ‘Firepower’ until it succumbed to our first harsh winter a few years ago.
|August 2011 – the Astrantia selfseeded from the garden next door|
Some other plants grow in the same strip though they’re not strictly Japanese style plants but I grow them for colour and texture like ferns, Astilbe, Astrantia, Chaenomeles japonica (as a climber), Dicentra, Pulmonaria, Philadelpus corona aurea and Potentilla fruticosa ‘Pink Beauty’ just as you enter the area.
|My blank canvas Autumn 2001|
I would love a blank canvas again to do something on a much larger scale in the back garden – but that’s never going to happen as it would be too painful to get it back to that blank canvas on my heartstrings never mind the bank account!
So I’ll just have to be content and enjoy the little bit that I have especially at this time of year. I can just imagine what it would be like on a grand scale – at least that’s free and effortless.
|photo taken last weekend|
Here’s a last look at my alternative autumnal jpegs and the only edited photo in the post (everything else sooc just incase some of my photographer bloggers are reading this – I don’t normally show my creativity on this blog but this is a sneak preview of my assignment shhhhhhh don’t tell). Aren’t these autumnal leaves just so colourful.
Do you ever wish you could start your garden from scratch again? What changes would you make big or small?