Here is just one of the four borders at Hunting Brook Gardens Jimi Blake shared with Gardens Illustrated for the Plant Issue. For the full set, why not pick up a copy of the magazine.
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Named in memory of a good friend of mine, Ashley’s Garden is the largest border at Hunting Brook Gardens. Architecturally leaved plants, such as bananas, cannas and pollarded trees, combine with long-flowering perennials to provide a tropical feel. Purple fennel and Angelica sylvestris ‘Vicar’s Mead’ link this area to the other, more naturalistic areas of the garden. Plant repetition is a key design element and the most dominant plants are changed regularly to keep the border fresh. I am a huge fan of bright yellow and vivid cerise. Most of the large, single red, orange and magenta dahlias in this border are from my own Hunting Brook selections.
1 Canna ‘Taney’ Huge glaucous leaves with apricot flowers through most of summer and into autumn. 2.5m. USDA 7a-10b.
2 Astilbe chinensis var. taquetii ‘Purpurlanze’ A good strong colour used as a repetition plant through the border. 90cm. AGM. RHS H7, USDA 4a-8b.
3 Dahlia pink seedling One of my many Hunting Brook single-flowered dahlias. I plant these out mid-May when they are decent-sized plants. 85cm.
4 Angelica sylvestris ‘Vicar’s Mead’ A biennial with purple stems and pale-pink umbels. Flowers in late summer and autumn. 1.5m.
5 Monarda ‘On Parade’ The best monarda I trialled a few years ago, with magenta flowers and mildew-resistant leaves. Loves heavy clay soil. 60cm.
6 Dahlia ‘Sunny Boy’ The main flower that leads the eye along in this border with bright-yellow flowers. 85cm.
7 Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’ The tall fennel softens this planting with its feathery clouds of bronze/purple foliage, followed by soft yellow umbels. 1.2m.
8 Artemisia lactiflora Guizhou Group Purple-stained leaves with a spray of creamy white flowers in late summer into autumn. Provides a naturalistic cloudy effect to the planting. 1.2m.
9 Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’ The red banana is repeated through this bed, creating exotic drama like no other plant. 5m. AGM. RHS H2, USDA 10a-11b.
Address Hunting Brook Gardens, Lamb Hill, Blessington, Co. Wicklow W91 YK33, Republic of Ireland. Tel + 353 (0)87 285 6601. Website huntingbrook.com Open April to September, Wednesday to Saturday, 11am-5.30pm. Admission €8.