Saga Insurance Garden

  • 4 June 2021 4:46 pm


Saga Insurance Garden

Designed by Cleve West, the Saga Insurance Garden will celebrate the migration of plants around the world, in particular focussing on hardy and half-hardy herbs that can be grown in the UK and how they might be used in a contemporary space.

The plants, many of which will be supplied by Jekka McVicar, demonstrate the importance of herbs, not just from an aesthetic point of view, but for their medicinal, culinary and domestic use, which is increasingly playing a significant part in our busy lives. Cleve will explore a natural use of these herbs together with more familiar perennials to create a low maintenance garden. “Gravel is a wonderful foil for these plants,” he says, “It reduces moisture loss and improves drainage so not only will the plants look good but they’ll stand more chance of surviving an unpredictable climate.”

Simple lines and generous proportions belie the garden’s quiet sense of drama and inspiration.

A large concrete sculpture at the front of the garden is both striking and serene; it leads the eye along a path, through the herbs, to a quiet space at the back of the garden where a table and chairs offer relaxation. Here, seven sentinels of pollarded Field Maples create a sense of intimacy, security and permanence while three, sculpted; concrete vessels proffer quiet contemplation as they wait for rain.

Cleve, who was inspired by the shorter Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of Saga as, “A story of heroic achievement or marvellous adventure”, says, “Many of us have been influenced by gardens of the past. We also wonder what the future will hold as the way we treat our outdoor space is constantly evolving. The Saga Insurance Garden, however, has its feet firmly in the present, acknowledging its antecedents while allowing enough scope to conjure up its own sense of place and spirit of adventure.”

Plant list (subject to change):

Aloysia triphylla (Lemon Verbena)
Artemisia caucasica
Artemisia abrotanum (Southernwood)
Borago officinalis (Borage)
Bulbine frutescens
Centella asiatica (Gotu Kola)
Cymbopogon citratus (Lemon Grass)
Eriocephalus africanus (South African Wild Rosemary)
Escallonia resinosa
Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel)
Fragaria vesca (Wild Strawberry)
Lavandula dentate
Lavandula x christiana
Leptospermum scoparium
Lippia nodiflora (Aztec Sweet Herb)
Mellisa officinalis (Lemon Balm)
Mentha sp. (Mint)
Myrtus communis subsp. tarentina (Myrtle)
Nepeta faassenii (Catmint)
Ozothamnus hookeri
Origanum majorana (Marjoram)
Papaver sp. (Poppy)
Perilla frutescens var. purpurescens (Purple Shiso)
Phlomis fruticosa (Jerusalem Sage)
Rosmarinus officinails (Rosemary)
Salvia argentea (Silver Sage)
Santolina rosmarinifolia subsp. rosmarinifolia
Thymus ‘Jekka’ (Thyme)
Viola riviniana Purpurea Group (V. Labradorica)
Westringia fruticosa ‘Variegata’ (Australian Rosemary)

Acaena ‘Copper Carpet’
Coronilla citrina
Dianthus cruentus
Erigeron karvinskianus
Iris florentina
Knautia ‘Mars Midget’
Verbascum battaria ‘Albiflora’
Verbascum phoeniceum ‘Violetta’
Verbascum rorripifolium
Trifolium repens


Stipa gigantea
Carex flagellifera

Allium atropurpureum
Allium albopilosum


Acer campestre