Sunday, 27 May 2012

Chelsea 2012: Lilium martagon + RBC Blue Water Garden

One of the flowers of the show was the Lilium martagon (or Turk's cap lily), which was on several show gardens, but especially prominent on the Silver Gilt Medal-winning RBC Blue Water Garden, designed to help promote water conservation by Professor Nigel Dunnett, who created our favourite garden at Chelsea 2011 (the RBC New Wild Garden).

He has also been responsible for a lot of the landscaping around the Olympic venues in East London, but we weren’t so attracted to this garden, with its emphasis on white walls, long straight paving and rills, and its blue and white colour scheme. However, we did like his meadow-inspired planting, particularly the Lilium martagon Orange Marmalade (below), which goes very well with the blue of the pools.

The martagon is the most widespread lily and the commonest in Europe. It is widely found on the limestone mountain meadows of the Alps.

This Lilium martagon Album (above) was on the Avon Bulbs stand in the Great Pavilion and has an RHS Award of Garden Merit, so should be a particularly good choice. It likes well-drained humus-rich soil, in a partly shaded, sheltered position, which will remain moist but not waterlogged. It flowers in June/July and grows to about 90cm.

Dunnett used deep red multi-stemmed Prunus serrulata to frame the Blue Water Garden’s Trulli inspired pavilion, under planted with Thalictrum, Irises, Ragged Robin, and (below) Cow Parsley.

He also used Solomon's seal (Polygonatum × hybridum or Polygonatum multiflorum), a photogenic arching multi-flowered plant (like Dicentra spectabilis) that grows well in woodland areas.

I am a bit of a fan of Nigel Dunnet. He and Dusty Gedge have shown us how important green roofs can be. Thanks to them I have a green roof on my shed - you can find out about it here.

I have a couple of his books The "Planting Green Roofs and Living Walls" is a useful book if you intend to put a green roof on a new building. The "Small Green Roofs" book is aimed at those of use with more modest projects.

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