Rupert de Havilland (obviously not his real name) physically shuddered and moved swiftly on as though such a thing were best forgot. He would certainly not be using that in his next design.
But, I have an elephantine memory.
And five years ago Rupert was saying ‘Rob, positively my favourite bamboo – I put one in all my gardens.
Is this the basis on which we should really choose plants for our clients?
We could bang down a list for you of plants we like quick enough.
Fastigiate hornbeams would almost certainly be there
For an evergreen, Prunus lusitanica is hard to beat
Robert loves herbaceous plants
Lesley has a real thing about Erigeron ‘Profusion’.
But none of these are really the answer here.
Our top landscape plants must be whatever the next project needs. Whatever the garden, the landscape context, the client’s tastes demand.
Anything else is our personal taste and its widespread acceptance is fashion.
This leads to inappropriate use of plants or, in the design fraternity, to the use of all the usual suspects.
Plants are tools. Using them is a question of massing, line and context. Like any tool their present and future role must be understood, their demands known and their original geographic provenance which will prove how relevant they are to their projected use.
But to do this successfully requires knowledge and training. Let us call it plantsmanship. Only with this can you really select options. And even then your options must be site specific and satisfy your client.
Therefore your repertoire needs to be wide.
This is a plus for us since plants are one of our key strengths.
It is also a plus in other ways. Variety is after all the spice of life and so there is always a freshness in our use of plants. We keep our nursery guys and gals on their toes with our requests. And it avoids ‘the look syndrome’ – the plants for which you become known.
Clients also like to have something different as well as something they have seen before.
So rather than having top landscape plants why not be a top selector!
Lesley and Robert
Now click on the following links to see what some of our Round Table colleagues in the States have to say on the matter: