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The Secret Garden: The Planting Scheme

Nick Dwyer, an experienced plantsman and imaginative garden designer, has transformed the layout and planting scheme for the Secret Garden. His plantings  frame the area for the display of sculpture. 

Inspired by visits to Nymans and Great Dixter, Nick's aim at the Secret Garden has been to create, from the original wide, open-lawned space, a more intimate setting where small details engage the visitor. His planting is establishing a year-round structure against which the play of seasonal colour will delight the eye. He has achieved this backbone by planting large grasses such as Miscanthus and Pampas; leathery-leaved evergreens like Phormium, Mahonia, Gunnera, Aucuba and Holly; and tall colourful perennials including Hollyhocks and Cardoons. To complement the existing Apple trees he has introduced Mulberry, Quince and Medlar.

Nick has opened up the wooded area of the garden through shaping the Spindle Bushes into simple geometric shapes and by underplanting them with spring flowers and summer bulbs. He has planted traditional ranges such as  Lupins, Alliums, Dahlias, Lavender and Nigella throughout the garden, favouring tall, structural flowers to bring height as well as colour to the borders. These complement the Roses and Alstroemeria already established here.

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