Gardening Tips > May > Inspired by RHS Chelsea – The beauty of Woodland planting

Inspired by RHS Chelsea – The beauty of Woodland planting

The M&G Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is always a grand affair that heads up the line of impressive Main Avenue show gardens. This year is no exception as renowned garden designer Andy Sturgeon has created a showstopping woodland landscape, which celebrates the beauty of nature’s power to regenerate and colonise with new growth.

The garden is dominated by trees and ferns, creating a vibrantly green and lush environment, and includes a number of interesting and pioneering plant species from around the world, all of which are able to grow and thrive in our British climate.

Many shades of green contrast well against the woodland path

A woodland garden can evoke strong emotions, as trees have the ability to lift our spirits and create a feeling of calm and relaxation. Even in a small space it is possible to create that relaxed, naturalistic feel just by introducing a single native tree.

Choose a tree for year- round interest. Betula utilis var. jacquemontii (Birch) will provide you with a striking luminous white bark which glows in the winter, and glossy green leaves that gently move in the spring/summer breeze and turn a lovely yellow in autumn. Birch look wonderful under-planted with wildflowers such as Digitalis purpurea (Foxglove), which is also a haven for pollinators and terrific self-seeders.

Betula under-planted with foxgloves at Ulting Wick Gardens

Alternatively, the native Sorbus aucuparia (Rowan or Mountain Ash) with its clusters of white late-spring flowers followed by orange-red berries in summer and vivid autumn leaves are perfect in a small garden due to its slow growth rate and tidy columnar habit.

Sorbus aucuparia. GAP Photos 2019.

Other valuable additions for a woodland effect, include a few key ground-cover plants, which have the added bonus of being low maintenance.

Ferns will thrive in lower light levels, Polystichum setiferum ‘Herrenhausen’ is a hardy variety of our native evergreen fern. The new foliage uncurls in spring to show long, intricately-divided fronds.

Polystichum setiferum ‘Herrenhausen’

Brunnera has large, heart-shaped leaves and sprays of small bright blue flowers in April/May time, it is also great in a partial or full-shade position.

Brunnera ‘Silver Heart’

Anemone ‘Wild Swan’, will give you a long intermittent flowering season from May until the November frosts. It was named as winner of the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year Award in 2011.

Anemone ‘Wild Swan’ – Chelsea Plant of the Year 2011

Twitter Facebook Pinterest Instagram