Designers: Gabriella Pape and Isabelle Van Groeningen
Sponsor: The Daily Telegraph
Press contact: Danielle Howe
Press contact tel: 0207 931 2957
Press contact email: [email protected]
Exhibitor address: The Daily Telegraph, 111 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1 0DT
This sunken garden is inspired by Karl Foerster’s original garden in Potsdam-Bornim, Germany. As a nurseryman and plantbreeder Foerster has had a leading influence on today’s plant use and planting design across northern Europe and the United States.
The garden designers, Gabriella Pape and Isabelle Van Groeningen, believe that until recently British gardeners followed their heart’s desire; using plants they like the look of, planting them where they look right rather than thrive and making up for shortcomings by altering the growing environment, feeding and watering. In Germany gardeners restrict themselves to plants that suit the soil and habitat. The planting in this sunken garden reflects this continental approach. Planting according to colour, shape and texture is combined with plant requirements; gardening with both heart and mind.
A central rectangular pond provides a calming focal point among a mass of flowers and foliage, which fill the garden. It is enclosed by a hedge-framed upper walk, partially shaded by a pergola created by the artist Simon Packard. In a recess in the hedge, as a focal point below the pergola dome, sits a bench inspired by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
The garden includes three main herbaceous planting styles, including traditional herbaceous borders, drift planting and mingled matrix planting. Plants have been selected to reflect the habitat they grow in, including moisture-loving, drought and shade-tolerant plants. The range of habitats and diverse plant selection, provide different habitats and food sources for insects, small mammals, amphibians and birds.
The narrow borders, based on more traditional English herbaceous border planting with strong German elements, include delphiniums – a favourite of Karl Foerster – campanulas and a variety of blue, white, silver and soft yellow flowers. The main bed is planted in a fused matrix, with dark blue and purple salvias such as S. ’Ostfriesland’ with orange Geum ‘Princess Julana’ and G. ‘Fire Opal’ and poppies.
Surrounding the pond are moisture loving plants such as Rodgersias, Iris sibirica and hostas. The back of the garden is shaded by large plance trees and a Japanese maple. Here shade-tolerant herbaceous plants such as Aruncus, Solomon’s Seal, hostas and geraniums provide sumptuous foliage and flowers planted in drifts. An upper-level path is a carpet of sedums, umbeliferae and Stipa tenuissima.
Other plant include recently introduced epimediums and the new Rodgersia ‘Hercules’ and ‘Chocolate’ along with a selection of Karl Forster introductions not readily available in the UK.
All paths are surfaced using permeable materials that allow rainwater to penetrate into the ground rather than running off into the drains and selecting plants to suit their habitat reduces the need for watering.