A CONTEMPORARY TWIST ON AN ICONIC CLASSIC, THE ORCHARD MEADOW
So, what is a Contemporary Woodland Wildflower Meadow? Well, think of those iconic pictures of lazy summer days with seas of flowers and grass gently dancing beneath the orchard canopy above.
Now, integrate some structured geometry and some strong lines and you have the makings of A Contemporary Woodland Wildflower Meadow.
Inspiration for the garden was sought from the client’s dominant sculpture which resides as a centre piece in the formal heart of the garden. More precisely, the distinctive geometric shapes would generate the focus for the design.
The client’s brief was to create a woodland screen in the lower part of their garden, which would integrate into the larger garden as a whole, but there were clear instructions not to add any additional perennial borders as maintenance was to be kept to a minimum. However, trees alone do not create a beautiful design.
Therefore, to offset the underlying strong geometric style of the design, billowing wildflower meadow beds would bring interest to the lower levels of the design. They will add interest from May to October when they receive their final cut of the year, but spring bulbs will extend the season from January to April. In order to highlight the core structure of the design while the meadow beds are dormant, geometric yew hedges were added.
FLORA & GRASS CHOICES
The wildflower meadow mix was designed to thrive in the partial shade created by the trees above, with a ratio of 85% to 15% perennials to grasses. The mix was as follows:
- Autumn Hawkbit (Scorzoneroides autumnalis)
- Betony (Stachys officinalis)
- Birdsfoot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)
- Bladder Campion (Silene vulgaris)
- Cats Ear (Hypochaeris radicata)
- Common Knapweed (Centaurea nigra)
- Common Sorrel (Rumex acetosa)
- Common Vetch (Vicia sativa ssp. segetalis)
- Common Toadflax (Linaria vulgaris)
- Cowslip (Primula veris)
- Field Scabious (Knautia arvensis)
- Greater Hawkbit (Leontodon hispidus)
- Lady's Bedstraw (Galium verum)
- Meadow Buttercup (Ranunculus acris)
- Meadow Cranesbill (Geranium pratense)
- Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)
- Musk Mallow (Malva moschata)
- Ox Eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)
- Perforate St Johns Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
- Ragged Robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi)
- Red Campion (Silene dioica)
- Ribwort Plantain (Plantago lanceolata)
- Salad Burnet (Sanguisorba minor)
- Self-heal (Prunella vulgaris)
- Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca)
- Wild Carrot (Daucus carota)
- Wild Marjoram (Origanum vulgare)
- Wild Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)
- White Campion (Silene latifolia)
- Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
- Crested Dogstail (Cynosurus cristatus)
- Sheep’s Fescue (Festuca ovina)
Providing mid-level interest, was the addition of multi-stemmed Amelanchier and Taxus baccata to provide a Segway between the lower meadow and the tree canopy above, plus added interest in the winter and spring, as the Amelanchier bursts into flower.
The trees themselves were limited to three varieties to resonate with the contemporary nature of the design. Firstly, the Betula jacquemontii ‘Grayswood Ghost’ was selected for its beautiful white trunk, which contrasts magnificently with the evergreen Taxus baccata hedges and balls.
Secondly, Prunus serrula was selected again for the colour of its bark, this time an intense golden bronze which radiates in the low winter sun. It also has the added interest of spring blossom too.
Thirdly, Malus ‘Evereste’ was selected as a fruiting tree which would reconcile with the collection of old English apples already present within the garden, plus it has the added benefit of wonderful spring blossom.
As a designer, the vision to create A Contemporary Woodland Wildflower Meadow sits within my mind, but it has to be clearly delivered to the client. To do this, it had to be modelled in 3D and rendered in a photo realistic style, visualising the finished article within the current garden of the client. The finished images were delivered to the client within the Outline Design Package.