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The ability to keep a garden fresh and vivid all year round by orchestrating the whole range of plants available to the gardener.


GAP Photos/Carole Drake/Hester Forde

Feature No:   3755 

Qty of Images:    57 


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From tiny flowering bulbs to large specimen trees and everything in between, is something that Hester Forde practices to brilliant effect in her garden in Glounthaune on the eastern edge of Cork in south west Ireland. Approaching Coosheen Hester and Patrick's garden stands out even from a distance, distinguished by a precisely cut three metre high beech hedge above which rise assorted ornamental trees. There are masses of trees in the garden including Betula utilis var. jacquemontii, Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca Fastigiata' (fastigiate blue cedar), Parrotia persica 'Vanessa' (Persian ironwood), liquidambar, Cornus controversa 'Variegata' and lots of acers including Acer griseum and A. palmatum 'Villa Taranto'. The deciduous trees were selected for good autumn colour and interesting bark. 'I especially love the acers in winter when their shapes are revealed.' With so many trees in the garden Hester has lots of opportunity to use the woodland plants she loves. 'They're wonderful as they emerge and often really sculptural. Below the cornus in the front garden I mix ferns like Blechnum spicant with Podophyllum 'Spotty Dotty', persicaria and Thalictrum 'Black Stockings'. There's not much colour there at all but the shapes and textures are great together.' Arisaema, another strange woodlander, lifts its sinister snake-like heads through the ferny foliage and acid blue flowers of Corydalis 'Craigton Blue' in the back garden. Roscoeas are Hester's new passion, herbaceous perennials with exotic looking flowers that do well in semi-shade. 'They flower from July right into autumn and then give wonderful foliage colour as they die down.' Worthy plants for this most sophisticated, beautiful and multi-layered garden.



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