Seeking High And Low For Inspiration At Gardeners’ World Live

Seeking High And Low For Inspiration At Gardeners’ World Live - two very different spaces, both with great results

“The benches are quite distinctive. A lot of people said it must be the High Line before reading the sign,” says Lucy Bravington, designer of the Design It Garden at this years Gardeners’ World Live.

Lucy Bravington's High Line-inspired offering at BBC Gardener's World Live 2019

Shows arrive thick and fast at this time of year, and GW Live has come hot on the heels of RHS Chatsworth. This features the APL Avenue, with five designs chosen from members, aims to show visitors the quality and variety that can be achieved in a small space by engaging a professional landscaper. The Design It garden was distinctive in more ways than one: Lucy not only won the highest award of Platinum for her design, but Design It Landscapes also garnered Best Construction and a golden spade from Niwaki.

“The judges like the design, and the restrained planting and that there wasn’t too much colour,” says Lucy. “They were surprised it was my first show garden.”

The APL theme this year was to show how travel could influence your garden design and Lucy’s garden was designed for a couple who love both interior design and New York, the home of the High Line garden. It has an industrial feel and includes Crittal doors opening from the house onto the garden. Surrounding the doors is our DesignBoard Cladding in Charcoal.

DesignBoard Charcoal, used as cladding to create the structural feel of a house, BBC Gardener's World Live 2019

“I really like it,” says Lucy. “It had the right look and with the fittings hidden created a really seamless look.” It’s one of the benefits of DesignBoard; a natural appearance that is nevertheless streamlined and works perfectly in a contemporary design.

Lucy combined it with silver-grey granite plank paving, complementary in shape. “It works well with the DesignBoard - a nice contrast,” adds Lucy. And, with the DesignBoard extending around the back of the structure, visitors had a chance to see it up close. “The plants show up nicely against it.”

The combination worked particularly well with Lucy’s muted colour palette, which concentrated on different greens and textures for a restful feel. “The gingko biloba trees were very popular - unusual and multi-stemmed,” she says, “as well as the Stachys monieri ‘Hemmelo’.

Lucy’s achievement is all the greater given that it’s her first show garden and the weather she had to face in the run-up to the show. “We put it together in torrential rain. It was very difficult just to get it finished!” Many congratulations are in order to Lucy as well as Dan Ryan and his Design It team on a superb result.

A muted, luscious planting palette won the judges over, as the garden won Platinum and Best Construction at the show!

Beautiful Borders is a very popular element of Gardeners’ World Live and this year saw around thirty entries. So it was quite a coup for Alexandra Hollingsworth that her Subterranean Sanctuary was one of only three featured on the GW TV episode dedicated to the show.

What Lies beneath; Alex Hollingsworth's Subterranean Sanctuary, BBC gardener's World Live 2019

The category offers ideas of how to squeeze as much from your garden as possible, with the 2019 theme of “Our Space” aiming to get adventurous with tiny spaces and give them purpose.

For Alexandra, who lives in Herne Hill, London, it was the unloved areas outside basement flats that inspired her. “There are these awkward light wells - difficult spaces where there appears to be little you can do. I wanted to show tips and tricks to bring as much as possible to the space.”

“The hard landscaping came before the soft landscaping,” she says. This included pale-coloured trellis with a mirror behind, reflective water and our Florence White Porcelain. All these draw light into a dark space and help bounce light around.

Florence White Porcelain, used as steps, risers and stepping stones at BBC Gardener's World Live 2019

It’s also worth considering the angle from which the garden is most likely to be seen - from the basement windows, but also from above. The clean bright colour of the Porcelain gives the planting a backdrop against which it can reveal its light and delicate silhouettes. “There are lots of shade-loving plants that aren’t dreary or dull-leaved evergreens,” says Alexandra, who included loose, airy planting, as well as a bronze fern for warmth and depth.

Using Florence White Porcelain for the steps helped to draw attention to the height of the space, as well as leading the eye up. “There’s as much space vertically as you want,” explains Alexandra, who also included a Cornus alternifolia ‘Argentea’ to take the eye upwards.

Built by Hampshire-based J Smith and Son, this is Alexandra’s first show garden in the UK after a three-year stint in the Republic of Ireland. Let’s hope more people are inspired to make the most of their dark corners and congratulations to Alex on winning Silver.

Here’s looking forward to many more show gardens in the future for both Alex and Lucy.

By London Stone Blog | Published 20th June 2019
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