Gardening with James Vaughan: Use trees and hedges to create a secret garden

James Vaughan


James Vaughan


Gardening with James Vaughan: Use trees and hedges to create a secret garden

The season continues to carry on and as the evenings get darker we start to focus on planning our gardens for next year. I have bought lots of spring flowering bulbs but, as yet, have not planted any. We still have a lot of colour in our garden and I can’t yet bring myself to cut the flowers and stems down.

Rudbekia’s still look good and our Asters in various colours are just coming into bloom. These asters will be the last herbaceous plants to flower in our garden this year.

We recently had a birthday party for our twins at our house. Although the weather was not great on the day many of the guests wandered throughout the garden. I always enjoy occasions such as these as it gives me an insight into how others view our garden. One stand-out comment was how varied and interesting the garden appears. This is no accident. One of the first things we learned at college in the National Botanic Gardens was garden design.

One of the fundamentals of garden design is to firstly plant your hedges, trees and specimen shrubs. These are your key elements when setting out a garden.

Our lecturers told us to treat your garden as a series of rooms- like you would a house. And in the same way the rooms in a house are used for different purposes, the rooms in your garden can be used for different purposes also. You achieve these rooms by planting hedges and trees to divide up the space.

We have planted hundreds of meters of hedging in our garden. In addition, we have strategically planted trees so that they obstruct your view or, in other situations, frame a view. The result is the creation of garden rooms. We have a lawn area for the children to play in.

We have sunny beds for strawberries and vegetable beds in sheltered areas. When we moved into the house there was a grove of wild willow or sally trees. I selected a few trees for removal and put a footpath through the woodland.

I have received a lot of correspondence with regard to last week’s article about lawns. Weeds, and how to rid yourself of them, were the most asked question. I mentioned last week that most weeds in new lawns will die out simply through regular mowing. However, this is not the case for all lawn weeds.

Some lawn weeds have the habit of creeping along the ground. This means that even if you cut the grass regularly then you still won’t cut these weeds out. Examples would be creeping buttercup and daisy. The two most effective ways of eliminating weeds from your lawn are hand weeding and weed killer.

Both methods have their pro’s and con’s. If you have a small lawn or a small number of weeds then hand weeding is probably best. If you have a large lawn or a large number of lawn weeds then you may consider applying weed killer.

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