CLASSIC ENGLISH GARDENS

The phrase “An English Garden” has long been synonymous with lush green, flowering gardens, walls covered with creepers, bursting with colour and beautiful, scented climbing roses. This surely conjures up feelings of romance too.

Anyone remember the song by Jimmie Rodgers, “English Country Garden”?

A typical English Garden, by design, partitions the garden into pockets or “rooms”, much like your home ensuring that your garden and home flow into one.

When designing an English garden of your own, planning is prime. Take an hour or two to plan and drawing a basic sketch of the garden you want. This will save time, money and help you with the visual charm. The sizes of these areas should be in direct proportion to the size of the garden as a whole.

Your typical English garden is small and compact, full and brimming with flowering plants, and pathways made of shell, gravel or warm brick paths.  You need feature plants that will create an interest. Roses are the ideal feature plant. Hydrangeas, lavender, hollyhocks and viburnum could be used as filler plants. Then you need anchor plants which will create a backdrop by placing them at the back of the beds for their height. These are usually evergreen plants.

Herbs and vegetables are also a natural part of the English garden. Planting these in between other plants in the flower beds and along the walkway you have created, or in a specific pocket area, the choice is yours – be creative! Let your garden show your personality! You’ll soon find that herbs interspersed throughout the garden will attract butterflies and birds giving your garden even more of a natural appeal.

Think English garden, think roses. The delicate fragrance and appearance of the Rose adds endless depth to the garden.  Add rambling roses and other climbers, pastel perennials and self-sowing annuals to enhance the visual effect of your garden.  In South Africa, October is Rose month.

Perennials and annuals add colour and height to your garden and fill those empty spaces you may have. In South Africa there is a huge variety of perennials (a plant that lives for more than two years), the most popular ones being lilies and phlox.

Choose them and other plants wisely, tall at the back and shorter in the front to enable the African sun to reach each one throughout the summer months. Mix them for bursts of colours or pair them to form interesting shapes and elevations in your garden.

Annuals are the cornerstone of a flourishing garden. Experiment with yellow and white daisies and bluebells which add colour and are great groundcovers for intense, low-level colour-bursts.


Your local nursery will be able to advise you on which plants are “water-wise” and hardy enough for the prevailing weather conditions and the imposed water restrictions we face at present.

To conclude, no English Garden would be complete without the accompanying garden features such as bird baths, rustic watering cans and benches where you can sit and enjoy lazy summer days and unwind after a hectic day at the office … just enjoying your garden. Look for top quality sturdy, and of course, weatherproof furniture that will be an investment in quality and style.