K's Garden

Building a large garden on a budget

The Round White Garden Monday 9 March 2015


When we embarked on the Garden Extension Project we created two “rooms” along the central axis at the end of the garden – one square-ish and the other much longer and rectangular.

We planted Hornbeam hedges around the rooms in Spring 2011 and then … pondered what to do … and pondered some more! … and in Spring 2014 we dug the square room, with a JCB, and created a path around the perimeter.

The square shape looking boring, and the corners would be awkward to plant etc., so in March 2013 I had already planted some additional Hornbeam hedging plants to soften the corners, and in effect make the room into a circular-ish oval! I planted some trees in the corners – on the East side I planted a pair of Crab Apples which will assist pollination of the Apples in the adjoining Fruit and Nut walk, and on the West side I planted a Silver Birch which will also be visible from the Long Walk side.

Some time during 2014 we decided that the theme should be that of a White Garden (maybe with some Silver leafed plants). Its a classic combination of course, with a famous example at Sissinghurst, so should not be all that taxing to pull off … that’s the theory at least! and thus it has now become named “The Round White Garden”.

Here is a plan of The Round White Garden, previously codenamed “Room 1” – I’ve made the plan look a mess in top left corner, on the ground it is better than that. Photographs are from top-to-bottom on the plan (facing South-ish).

Room1 - Plan

Round White Garden – Plan

In Spring 2011 we planted the original Hornbeam hedge that divided out the area into separate rooms, at that time is was square (ish!):

Room1 - Mar 2011

Round White Garden – Mar 2011

I mowed a rough path up the middle, at that time expecting that there would be a vista through this room to the one beyond:

Room1 - May 2011

Round White Garden – May 2011

I pulled out all the oddments of bushes except, for some inexplicable! reason, a briar rose:

Room1 - Sep 2011

Round White Garden – Sep 2011

2012 and still not much happening! I’m still mowing the path, and every time I do so I ponder how it might look. The hedges are starting to come up, and with them the perspective is changing:

Room1 - May 2012

Round White Garden – May 2012

We decided that the almost-square shape of the room didn’t really work so in Spring 2013 I planted some spare Hornbeam left-overs to make the surround elliptical. I also planted the trees in the triangular corners which that created – on the side next to the Fruit and Nut walk I planted Crab Apples, which will help with pollination, and a Silver Birch on the other side to provide some shade from its light canopy. Its a bit hard to see the curved hedge in this picture:

Round White Garden - Mar 2013

Round White Garden – Hedge planted – Mar 2013

I still hadn’t ripped up that briar rose in the middle of the path!

The next picture shows the entrance to The Round White Garden. It is intentionally narrow so that it is somewhat hidden, but increasingly I found that I didn’t like the straight-through view that the central path created – but I have at least taken the Briar out:

Round White Garden showing entrance - Sep 2013

Round White Garden showing entrance – Sep 2013

You may be able to just make out, in the previous photograph, that I had rough-mowed a sort-of path around the perimeter to see how that might look.

Here is a panoramic view, although it distorts the curve of the ellipse rather a lot!:

Round White Garden - Nov 2013

Round White Garden – Nov 2013

In the Autumn we decided that we would build a circular path around the outside of the garden, and maybe create a pergola over the walk. A pergola could have a trellis on the back wall at the Entrance / Exit so that it was not possible to see straight through the room:

Round White Garden Dug -Nov 2013

Round White Garden Dug – Nov 2013

We scraped the surface off the path, around the perimeter, to lower it slightly (relative to the bed) and dug the central bed with a JCB:

The Round Path - Apr 2014

The Round Path – Apr 2014

With our normal customary haste! we contemplated it in the Spring of 2014. My plan for the Pergola was to build brick pillars, on each side of the path, rest some wooden timbers on them and then if & when the timbers rotted and needed replacing it would be much easier than having to replace the whole lot; we could then grow climbers up it – and then plant something in the centre which you could look at as you walked around the perimeter path. I had visited a garden which had a straight pergola with flower beds along both sides, and the views of the flowers were quite interesting, but I did find that the views were rather broken up by the pillars of the pergola. We gradually went off the pergola idea.

Around about that time I saw some pictures of Paleis Het Loo and I got a bit carried away with the idea of enclosing the perimeter path in a Hornbeam hedge with windows looking onto the planting in the centre:

Paleis Het Loo

Paleis Het Loo - Window View

We may yet do that, but I’ve decided it would be good to have something sooner, rather than later!, so in July 2014 I started raising White-flowering perennials from seed with a view to planting out in Spring 2015, and hopefully the plants will be big enough to have a bit of a flying start and put on a show in 2015.

As a separate project I’ve been planning to replace the Lavender hedge along the Cross Walk [Link] and I bought a few sample plants of various varieties to see which colours etc. we liked. Amongst them I bought some White flowering Lavender, so for simplicity we might plant that around the outside of the planting to start with.
Next page (Planting 2014-2015)

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