Space – The Final Frontier?

I was having a chat with a friend today (who’s also a designer). They were just back from Tatton and as I can’t go they were filling me in on the gardens. The conversation got round to spacing plants, mostly because today I’ve been wrestling with a Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum and she’d been looking at show gardens.

I haven’t literally been wrestling with a shrub – well not yet! More wrestling with the problem of what to do with a semi mature shrub which is too big to successfully move and will eventually have a height and spread of anything up to 5m.

Why would that be a problem I hear you ask. Well, at a guess I’d say it was planted about ten years ago and still has some growing to do. That wouldn’t be a problem, if it hadn’t been planted about 30 cm from the edge of the path. So its either curtains or a severe hair cut.

The plant itself doesn’t seem to be bothered by its position and continues to grow happily and was most floriferous this spring. It is as shapely a shrub as you could wish for, just in completely the wrong place.

That’s where the conversation had got to, why would you plant a shrub that was ultimately going to get that big, right by a path?

If you knew it was going to get that big you wouldn’t – would you?

At that point we got back to show gardens and spacing. If for instance you didn’t know how big your plants would grow you might very well do this in your garden.

Vergette Ltd Garden Design Hereford and Worcester HC visit 2013

The problem is, as a Garden Designer I space my plants out. I fill the resulting gaps with annuals or biennials and bulbs to give it a full feeling with space to fill out. However as a Show Designer I am as guilty as the next in creating an unrealistic floral display.

Vergette Ltd Garden Design MalvernSpring Show 2012

So there’s the question, is space the final frontier for show gardens?

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