The Village Green: We are moving forward to the exciting phase!
Having done a lot of the hard work on the “Green”, the time has come for the exciting phase!
Here are some thoughts on how we will now develop a planting plan.
The Village Green, the site and plant considerations: The site is mainly sunny with free draining neutral soil. As this is a public space we will need to be looking for robust drought resistant plants with a contrast of shape and texture. There should be a majority of plants that offer year-round interest. We must also of course be mindful of how large specimens will grow and whether they tolerate pruning. Our choices should look good together, forming an overall picture rather than a collection of “favourites” that do not blend well. We also hope to incorporate perfumed and insect friendly varieties.
The Plan Here is a sketch of the outline plan that we have already discussed, that has also been shown to the Parish Council, which has agreed to fund the cost of most of the materials, including a hard-wearing bench. A group of members of the Gardening Group are donating the time and labour to prepare and plant the new garden. Two other members of the community have also committed to significant generous donations of their skills and time.
As you probably remember, the central stone plinth around the pump is due to be renovated shortly by Keven Cranshaw, as a generous contribution to the village. We are also really grateful to Christopher Jones for his offer to provide a smart new hardwood case for the pump itself. A big thank you to Kevin and Christopher! These offers of time and skills are wonderful and will make the funds allocated for materials by the Parish Council go so much further – thank you to everyone.
The area between the pump plinth and the new beds will be fine gravel, for easy maintenance which will show the new beds off well. Stone slabs will form a pathway into the garden, by the Hill Lane sign. Gravel will be softened with some planting of specimens that love these conditions – as in the style of Beth Chatto’s gravel gardens.
This is your opportunity to help us select the plants! We really want members of the group to contribute to the firming up of the planting plan. The sketch of the garden shows each of the new beds, labelled with letters A to E. Based on the determining features of the site, Chris has helped us by drawing up a list of best bet structural plants for each position, which are shown below. As we want the planting to last, we have listed plants that are the most likely to thrive in each position, although there is a bit of an outsider at the end of the list!
If you would like to help choose the plants, have a look at the plants that are suggested for each position in the lists below, and see which you think would be the most suitable, to create the overall harmonious effect that we are seeking. Let us know by email, and of course if you have an idea of something else do please throw that into the mix as well! (Penny suggested her favourite bee friendly mahonias but on discussion, we decided that was not a good idea as it was too spikey for such a small public place!)
Date for feedback please: We hope to agree on the list for purchasing plants by the end of March, so do please let us have your feedback by 31.3.21. Please email Chris – address at the end of newsletter.
If you would like to be more involved, do let us know! It would be brilliant to have a small group to chew over the final choices – just give one of us a call or email.
Selecting the larger shrubs
The larger shrubs will provide the backbone of the planting scheme, so need to be the first plants to be chosen. In the details below, each main planting position is given a letter A-E. In a couple of places there is a note about specific conditions that we need to bear in mind. You will see that in some positions there are two or more options suggested, so help with decisions would be great! Of course if you have an idea of something that you think ticks the boxes, again just a quick email and we can share it with the group.
Choisya x dewitteana “White Dazzler” Common name Mexican Orange Blossom. This variety is smaller and more compact than its larger relative. Evergreen, with the advantage of flowering twice, in spring and autumn.
Position B - Option 1 (This is the only shady spot so the choice is more limited)
Skimmia xconfusa “Kew Green common name Skimmia.
Evergreen with glossy leaves and fragrant creamy flowers over several weeks in late winter, early spring.
Skimmia can sometimes be difficult to grow requiring deep shade to do well but this one is easier and will tolerate some sun.
Position B - Option 2
Sarcococca confusa common name Sweet or Winter Box. Evergreen sweetly scented small white flowers in winter. Tough as old boots!
Position C - Option 1
Hebe “Margaret “or ‘Margret’ dwarf, evergreen shrub with a rounded, compact habit. It has bright-green, shiny leaves; flowers mid-summer to early autumn, covered with spikes of lilac-blue flowers that fade to white.
Position C - Option 2
Hebe “Nicolas Blush”
Rounded evergreen shrub with lance-shaped leaves; magenta-pink flowers which fade to white so can be two-tone.
Position D - Option 1 - Two of the same specimens to flank the bench.
Phlomis longifolia, common name Long Leaved Jerusalem Sage. More compact than larger relative. Tough and can be pruned hard if gets too big.
See link below
Possible temporary rosemary while Chris’s phlomis grows on!
Position D - Option 2
Neater form of the common Senecio brachyglottis, silver stems and leaf backs, the finely crenate leaf-margins distinguish it from the more widespread Dunedin “Sunshine”.
Need to clip frequently to retain shape. The yellow flowers can be taken off if wished.
Position E - Option 1
Need vertically shaped bush, so as not to grow into bench but to shield bench a bit from Hill Lane.
Viburnum Farreri also known as Fragrans, common name Viburnum. Perfumed flowers over a long period in winter.
Position E - Option 2
Olearia traversii “Tweedledum” common name Daisy bush. Variegated leaves upright habit, can be clipped.
Position E - Option 3
Evergreen, small round shiny leaves, many options. Very amendable to clipping to keep shape. Not fully hardy so might be vulnerable if hard frosts.
Choice could depend on colour mix of other choices. If the wish is to include one we can decide next month, when the colour scheme is decided