Surprise me garden

“Surprise me!” she said.
“Give me colour and joy all year!” she said.
“Hmm” I thought, “how fun to have something a little different as a brief!” after meeting my very
sophisticated, glamorous new client last year. Surprises! Colour! Joy! What a brilliant challenge.
Landscape trends come and go but some are perennial favourites – and for a good reason – there is
always something charming about an English country garden, always something glamorous about
the classic formal all-white garden, always something wholesome about the waterwise-indigenous-
succulent garden. But a year-round surprise garden, now that is not something I have been asked for
before.


Driving away from the spectacular site my mind buzzed with ideas – “Surprises!” – what about bulbs
that pop up at different times of the year to add that pop of unexpected interest amid an already
beautifully designed garden? Absolutely! Unusual flowers that provide a talking point? Definitely!
“Colour!” Oh how I love colour! A riot of colours! A whole kaleidoscope! Colour all year! Bold
colours, subtle colours, I love a client that loves colours! And “Joy!” What will spark joy for this lovely
lady I wondered? Fragrances? Surprising colour combinations? Seeing birds and butterflies enjoying
her glorious garden? Yes I thought, all of those!


So I set to work and how I savoured every moment of creating this garden. I planted Amaryllis bulbs
in between her other flowers to pop up over December and received a thrilled message at Christmas
time as she marvelled at the stunning big bold flowers which she hadn’t known were there. This
morning I received a picture of the unusual spider-lilies and these glorious orange Crocosmia
popping up among the regal blue Salvias with another message to say how she loved coming home
to her “rainbow-like paradise.”


I think what I am enjoying most about this completed project is knowing that she is going to love the
jewel-like sunbirds that are going to be frequenting her flowers in winter, the butterflies enjoying
the heady scented buddlejas in spring and the blue squills popping up in October and the ….. Sshh,
cant say too much, don’t want to ruin the surprise!