Chris Myers guest blog - A little help from the wild side!

Chris Myers guest blog - A little help from the wild side!

Isn’t working outdoors great? Well, I think so!

Even on the wet days, I’d rather be feeling the elements on my face than sat in an office!

One of the things I love most about spending my days outside is how the seasons move on, and with that how the landscape changes.

As a garden designer, I find this helps immensely when it comes to inspiration.

The Yorkshire countryside is never far away and I often find myself reaching out to it for help.

Even in the most contemporary urban garden, there is always room for a feature stolen from ‘Gods own county’; be it a bit of drystone wall or a natural looking stream running through.

We are so lucky to have places around us where wildflowers thrive, and I can’t deny that this serves me as a useful data bank.

As the seasons change new flowers appear, I often find myself using this ever-changing pallet as I come up with planting schemes.

As winter moves towards spring we see colours begin to emerge, the wild daffodils of Farndale and the North Yorkshire Moors.

Nature has spring bulbs in her garden, too , and reminds me that a garden needs bulbs in it, for that early colour, when everything else is still asleep.

Then wood anemones, like those in Strid Wood, Bolton Abbey, appear.

They always look beautiful and there are many varieties of anemone available for the garden. I like to plant pockets of blue Anemone blanda.

The wild garlic that emerges on the woodland fringe reflects the many different alliums that appear in gardens.

One of my favourites is Allium ‘purple sensation’ - it looks great over the fresh foliage of lavender.

And, with our native bluebell under threat from hybridisation with the European thugs, it’s good to see them every year in the countryside.

Planting a swathe of them in a garden adds colour and helps protect one of our most iconic of flowers.

May and June sees wood and water avens in flower; these are Geums and I like to use them in my planting schemes.
July is peak time for wildflower meadows, and the ones in upper Swaledale are stunning.

Species including wood cranesbill and ladies mantle are closely related to the Geranium and Alchemilla I use in gardens.

One of my favourite plants is Yarrow, which is often seen as a splash of white in meadows and on roadside verges.

Its relatives are often seen in the garden. Achilleas warm the summer borders with their colours of fire and earth.

As the seasons move on, the canvas of the countryside continues to reflect the changes we see in our gardens.

Cherries that blossomed in spring and field maples turn into an inferno of colour as autumn arrives - just as flowering cherries and Japanese maples do the same in our gardens.

With winter comes the berries, including holly and sorbus, which can be found in the wild and in gardens

While pyracantha and cotoneaster put on a show to outshine the brightest of fairy lights.

Our countryside is a special place and harbours many of the ancient species of plants that those in our modern-day gardens were bred from.

As the human population expands, we will inevitably lose areas of countryside to development and food production.

So as designers, gardeners and landscapers, it’s up to us to make sure that the gardens of Britain are full of plants - both native and their descendants!

Ensuring their survival and the survival of the birds, bees, bugs and butterflies, and perhaps our survival as well…… perhaps…!

Happy gardening!

Chris

Posted 11th Jul 5:19pm

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