Planting ideas for Autumn

While we have been away working in Italy during the last month, the garden in the UK has subtly changed. It is charged with subtle tones and colour, leaves still, amazingly, on the trees, but cold night have spelled the end of the bright blue jewel flowers of ceratostigma willmottianum. In the UK garden it is partnered with old fashioned bergenia, miscanthus 'Morning Light' and sambucus 'Black Lace'. Chinese plumbago

They have all taken on yellow tints now, on the last day of October,  with exception of the elder, which is still strongly structural in form with a few dark leaves.

Autumn planting

When we took over the current garden, we inherited a mature acer, small in size but very sculptural. It is Acer palmatum dissectum, a weeping red japanese maple. Many people adore these trees, but I find it difficult to integrate into the new planting because of its compact strong colour and shape. As it goes through into late autumn though, the colour is softening and the planting around it is associating well.

Here it is with Hosta sieboldiana elegans, a large blue leaved hosta, at the end of its season.

Over the shed and boundary fence,

we are delighting in the colour of Vitis cognetiae...and will be planting another in a brand new Esterni Design Partnership garden to be featured shortly in a new post.

Autumn colour in small trees

Lastly,  a planting association that I find works well is between Cercis canadensis'Forest Pansy' and Hydrangea paniculata 'Chantilly Lace'. This has red stems and pink flushed flowers from August to October...

At  the recent Society of Garden Designers Autumn Conference, held on the 9th October 2010 in London, one speaker related the opinion that the Cercis was the perfect garden centre tree, attractive but very difficult/short lived,  in need of continuous replacement. In my experience this has not been the case; it was planted as a sapling in semi-shade and yes, it does not flower vigorously as the robust native mediterranean tree Cercis siliquastrum, but it is bought and grown for the colour of its foliage....

So here it is 5 years on, in late October.

Floral Patterns, Lace and Inspiring Black Plants

The Esterni Design Partnership vision is eclectic, restless and influenced by many disciplines and a miriad of images out there, and this post is all about connections between floral patterns (they continue to be a mainstay of textile design) and the real thing. The examples here come from my research as an artist and designer in textiles. There are fabulous connections between the names, forms and textures of the plants and the "original" textiles, and it is something that Esterni might use either in the layout of garden design or in planting plans that echo the repetition of forms in the textiles. So here goes.....

16th Century Venetian Gros Point Lace

William Morris watercolour design for a printed textile

The see through effect of the lace, where the empty spaces are important as the pattern, can be appreciated in a variety of plants and parterre patterns:

And now for some plants...The shiny silvery purple stars of the allium combine well with the matt purple brown of the elder, and the rosy hue of its white flowers.

A good self-seeding plant, reminiscent of the countryside, with tall white umbels of flowers appropriate for swathes of natural planting is

Anthriscus sylvestris 'Ravenswing'

And lastly, a great small book, full of useful Black Plants, authored by Paul Bonine.