Greening the front of the cottage
Last year we spruced the front of the cottage. When the last people moved out we were left with one small wooden planter containing a spindly clematis that still looks a bit peeved. In order to create a chocolate-box cottage look we decided to get two large rectangular planters to go under the front windows (being two cottages joined into one, the front door is offset to the left so we needed something large to hide the flaw).
Thinking outside the planter box
We decided upon two stainless steel planters from an agricultural supplier (originally designed to be feed troughs for livestock) as they suited our rural location and more importantly were a snip of the cost of bespoke planters. I toyed with the idea of building my own but I’m not gifted in the DIY department and the nearest I’ve got in the past is an ugly white thing that looked like a beehive,
Being at the front of the cottage and abutting the lane these planters are in full sun and unsheltered from the wind. We decided to use a gritty loam to fill them to allow us to create a free-draining space for more tough Mediterranean-style plants. Last year I out in some Chinese lanterns, some white dianthus, Geranium sanguineum (my pride and joy), Euphorbia myrsinites, sedum, iris and some annual poppies. The idea is that they all mingle and jostle together in the breeze and create a wild froth of planting.
Making a year-round planting display
I was really pleased with the display from summer into autumn but after the clear up a couple of weeks ago it’s been looking a little sad. I think it’s missing some evergreen structure to see it through all 12 months. Being the main feature at the front of the cottage it really needs strong planting.
My plan is to put in some spring flowering bulbs for next year; species daffodils and pale narcissi I think. To introduce some evergreen plants I’ve planted some Libertia grandiflora, Hebe, and Dianthus carthusianorum. The Libertia and Dianthus I have grown from seed and the Hebes were cuttings from my mum’s plants. It’s really satisfying to see these young plants going out into the garden when you know you brought them on yourself. I’ve also sprinkled seed of an orange annual poppy to brighten up proceedings at the early part of the summer.