The English Garden Spring 2021

Enjoy over 60 beautiful gardens a year with The English Garden. Every issue features country, city, cottage and coastal gardens, with advice on how to recreate them. Be inspired by articles written by the country's top garden designers and discover the best plant varieties for your garden, chosen by expert nurserymen and plantspeople.

United Kingdom
Chelsea Magazine
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13 Issues

in this issue

1 min

Ann Treneman Ann is an award-winning writer and columnist for The Times who writes on a wide variety of topics including gardening, which has been a life-long interest. She pays a visit to Church Cottage on page 28. Rachel Warne Rachel was raised on her family’s flower farm, which instilled in her a love of botany and the natural world that has influenced her 13-year photography career. Her photos of Selina Lake’s lovely garden appear on page 58. Holly Farrell Holly trained at RHS Wisley and is the author of books for the RHS, Kew Gardens and the Chelsea Physic Garden, most recently Do Bees Need Weeds? She visits cut-flower seed supplier Higgledy Garden on page 89. IMAGES STEVE MORGAN; NEIL HEPWORTH…

1 min

Each year, we devote our spring issue to smaller gardens, celebrating the many ways in which gardeners make the most of less generously sized spaces and the huge variety of styles with which they do so. This year though, quite a few of the small gardens you’ll find on these pages have something else in common – we should perhaps think about renaming this the ‘awkward gardens’ issue. Whether it’s a plot steep enough to rival a ski slope, a garden perched on top of a garage roof, a narrow wedge between a road and a churchyard, or a tiny courtyard requiring flights of steps to navigate its levels, these spaces really do showcase some ingenious solutions to making beautiful gardens from unpromising beginnings. Another thing has struck me: whatever their…

2 min
people to meet

Marcus Chilton-Jones The curator of the Royal Horticultural Society’s new garden at Bridgewater explains his role and the history of the site, which is due to open in May Some people love taking something that’s run down and making it beautiful again, while others find such projects a terrible faff. Luckily I fall into the former category, and the prospect of transforming a weedy, arsenic-riddled site into an elegant RHS garden was hugely exciting. Here was a chance to paint over the framework with a new composition – a renaissance rather than a restoration. When I began here in 2017, I knew the role would come with challenges, but I couldn’t have predicted Covid-19 or the discovery of arsenic in the soil of our proposed Kitchen Garden. The solution to the latter involved…

2 min
out & about

Tulip Festival at Morton Hall 1–3 May, Worcestershire Morton Hall is set to host its second non-virtual Tulip Festival this May, in partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Visitors can expect intricate tulip planting schemes in formal borders and pots, swathes of naturalised bulbs in meadows and woodland, and beautiful cut-flower displays from the experts at Bloms Bulbs, who will be on hand to advise. Additionally, take inspiration from a selection of original RSC costumes and enjoy a delicious treat in a spacious marquee. Adults £10; under-12s free. Pre-booking essential at Outdoor sculpture show 1 April-16 May, Dorset See some 100 outdoor sculptures and even more gallery pieces at Form – The Sculpture Show, a spring exhibition at Sculpture by the Lakes near Dorchester. The artworks, from 30 leading UK sculptors, will be installed…

2 min
things to do

Cut back CLEMATIS The queen of all climbers is the clematis, and it stands out from the crowd in more ways than one. Clematis take up so little space in a garden, adding quick height to a planting scheme when trained up a support or scrambling through trees and shrubs. They are members of the Ranunculaceae family, the same family that contains buttercups, hellebores, and aquilegia. This gives us a helpful clue to their preference for a moist but well-drained soil. To grow clematis at their best, try to provide a cool root run but with the opportunity for the plants to have their heads baking in the sun. Although I already grow clematis at Iford, there are many possibilities to add even more, with walls, columns and pillars aplenty for them…

1 min
spring checklist

Pinch, prune & cut back Most perennials that flower before midsummer’s day can be cut back to ground level after blooming. New foliage will quickly return and stay fresh into late summer. Plants such as nepeta, geranium, aquilegia and Iris sibirica all benefit from this approach. The other technique to try now is to pinch out the tips of summer perennials, such as helenium, veronicastrum and phlox. This delays flowering and makes the stems branch. The plants won’t be as tall and may not need staking. Feed wisteria Hopefully, we will escape any late frosts, which in just one night can cause the developing blooms of many of our early-flowering plants, including wisteria, to blacken. Wisterias are greedy plants, and their flowering will be improved if you can apply a feed high in…