Find Me Outside Soaking Up The Sun
Posted in Expert Advice on 16th April 2020
A conversation with Jack Wallington - Landscape Garden Designer who wrote The Times Garden Book of the Year: "Wild About Weeds"
What are the 3 best “quick fixes” in order to get the most out of your garden?
It’s amazing what a difference a quick spruce can make after winter. Sweeping & jet washing patios plus a bit of weeding, will make your outdoor space instantly feel new. I always treat myself to some new plants in Spring to make my garden feel a little different each year. Most independent nurseries are still selling plants online (see independentplantnurseriesguide.uk). The impact of new furniture is important too. Consider adding a new table or chairs as your main focal point for a place to relax, eat or work – given that we’re all doing a lot more of it at the moment.
What outdoor trends are rising to the top in 2020?
Outdoor seating and tables have come a long way in recent years. Rattan and plastic is out while designer, sculptural statement pieces are in. People are looking to airy but impactful plants that are low mantenance. Especially late season performers. Persicaria in particular are growing in popularity with many relatively new cultivars to the market like ‘White Eastfield’, ‘Blackfield’ and my favourite ‘September Spires’. Of course, we can’t talk about garden trends without mentioning doing the right thing for the planet. Growing plants for wildlife to attract bees, hoverflies, birds and butterflies is the hottest outdoor trend right now.
What are some ideas to help bring the joys of the outside into your home?
I always recommend to my clients when thinking about their garden to really consider the view out from the windows, French and bifold doors. These are the most precious, and probably largest, living artworks you own, changing through the year. Investing in your garden to improve that view ensures you experience the outside world year round. Houseplants too can help and I’d suggest indoors that bigger is better. I tend to grow indoor trees like Ficus ‘Amstel King’ and head height parlour palm, Chamaedorea Elegans, because larger plants are often easier to look after and have more impact.
As we all start to value spending more time outside, what is the key to successful outdoor dining?
The position of your table is the most important thing and my top tip is to place it in the sunniest spot closest to your house if you can. Having a table in sight of the house encourages you to go out and use it & makes it easier for carrying things to and from the kitchen. Think carefully if you’re a breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner person and then see where the sun shines for your favourite meals! Of course, if the sunny spot is at the other end of the garden, that’s fine but invest in trays or trolleys to help with the lugging of plates, drinks & food.
With Chelsea Flower Show 2020 now cancelled, where are the best places online to find inspiration for your garden?
Telegraph Gardening is one of the best online resources of garden inspiration and ideas, and Gardenista is filled with beautiful garden photography. Meanwhile, the lockdown has sent the world’s best gardeners into overdrive on social media to share their private gardens. Accounts I am particularly enjoying right now include @philippaburrough @tomstuartsmith @nigeldunnett @greatdixter and @jimiblake_huntingbrookgardens
Find out more about Jack at www.jackwallington.com