Those lucky enough to walk here at different times of day will find the garden changes as the sun arcs through the sky. Originally planted with annuals, the garden was transformed into a hot border in 1995; awash in reds, oranges and yellows. Many saw its present transition into a more naturalistic style with a reluctant eye. However, Gerritsen’s subtle new plantings more than compensate the loss. To counter-balance yet contrast with some of the warm colours (the red-hot pokers were not to be dug up!) he decided to implement an airy planting in shades of brown, bronze, grey, maroon and greenish yellow. Euphorbias, bronze fennel, Artemisias and the grasses Deschampsia and Molinia render the tone subdued while a wild effect is attained by liberal sprinklings of red-veined dock and Trifolium rubens.
This combination contrasts pervasively with feature perennials and the many wonderful shrubs and trees: There is much subtle detail to appreciate. A large Cotinus Grace shades one end of the walk in smoky red whilst on opposite sides of the path Itea and Garrya elliptica compete for the best display of hanging racemes. A majestic Magnolia grandiflora showcases vast cream flowers and later, sculptural seed pods. Buff beauty roses and Osmanthus scent the air, as does the ivy climbing the brick pillars to the Square Garden. It is here moths and ivy bees can be found nectaring when the ivy is in flower. The garden has many attractions for our pollinators: Telekia and Inula add a shot of bright yellow as the Summer winds towards Autumn, providing excellent nectar for foraging bees and butterflies. Leaf cutter bees can be observed harvesting discs from the Thermopsis villosa for nest linings. These borders offer an illustration of the garden as a dynamic process, where plant “communities” develop, change and evolve in an evolutionary progression.