Grow 5: Simple Seasonal Recipes for Small Outdoor Spaces with Just Five Plants
by Lucy Bellamy
Mitchell Beazley, £22
We’ve all been in a garden centre, nursery or at a plant fair surrounded by a plethora of plants at their peak and felt like a child in a sweet shop. The choice can be overwhelming, and the result is often some rather random purchases, which once you’ve got them home you realise you don’t know what to do with them.
If you’d like your planting to look more considered rather than a horticultural hotchpotch, then Grow 5 will guide you through the process of combining plants, whether it’s using a particular theme, such as a wildflower meadow, ancient woodland or winter seedheads, or a colour scheme. Aimed at those with a small urban space, like author Bellamy’s own Bristol back garden, the simple but clever idea is that each of the 52 projects spanning the gardening year uses a selection of only five different plants.
Why five plants? Nature was Bellamy’s inspiration. ‘Think of a woodland floor in early spring woven with celandine, wood anemone, primroses, sweet violets and grasses or mixed moorland grasses with harebells and orchids – all repeating palettes of just a few plants.’ By focusing on just five plants it’s easier to see the interaction of different forms, textures and colours, and see why certain plants work well together.
Each of the 52 ‘recipes’ has a an ‘ingredients’ list and a guide on how to create the look, with brief details about each plant, alternative suggestions, and – a nice addition – the wildlife they will benefit. Several recipes from different seasons could be used to create a succession of interest throughout the year, allowing readers to build up their own planting plans.
Some details about plant hardiness – some wouldn’t survive winter in my Yorkshire garden – and what to do with plants in containers when they’ve outgrown their confines would have been helpful. But the enticing photographs by Jason Ingram and interesting plant groupings make this a pleasing book that will give you plant-combining confidence.