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Gardening with Ann Hamilton King

The last article in this series dealt with gardening in summer and preparing for the rainy season. Since we all have doubts of recovery from the looming drought, it would be a good idea to include your patio or pool area in your seasonal schemes.

Moving closer to home is a good idea whatever the rainy season brings, because courtyards, patios and pool areas form that all important link between house and garden. There is nothing worse than a well-designed house linked to a well-laid-out garden by a scruffy and underutilised patio. So let’s have a look at some double duty ideas that will be successful whatever the weather forecast brings.

The Walled Enclosure

A private garden linking the house and the main garden is a joy. In a walled area, you can have all your favourite things close to you and keep them in peak condition with constant care, which is therapeutic for both you and the plants.

When a space is enclosed by walls, it takes on a completely different character and, in effect, you are creating an oasis. It’s relatively easy to plan such an area because by committing everything to graph paper before you begin, you can decide exactly what is going to go where. Follow the simple rules of where the sun rises and sets, where you want your sitting areas to be in relation to the path of the sun, whether the path you want to incorporate has existing trees as overhangs, back ground or internal features. You want to have container gardens. All these rules apply whether you are creating a new courtyard or revamping an existing one.

Walls can be tricky because they are hard. Creepers are an excellent way of softening walls; they add colour as well as texture, but they need not be planted on the inside of your walled garden.

If you want, you can plant them outside the wall and train them to cascade over the top, you will have a carpet of colour without sacrificing your inner planting space. This gives better light for shrubs to be added and, overall, a better design concept. Bougainvillea are marvellous for this and so rewarding for so little care.

Want more Gardening tips from Ann Hamilton King? Check out our past articles:

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