Monday, 15 September 2014

Hydrangeas, Topiary And Boxwood In The Modern Country Garden

Hydrangeas and boxwood, boxwood and hydrangeas. A perfect pairing for the Modern Country Garden. Call it what you like: boxwood, buxus, box but the effect is the same: utterly Modern Country. It's the softness of the hydrangeas coupled with the formal structure of low parterre box hedges and topiary.

Hydrangeas and topiary from Modern Country Style blog: How To Use Topiary In A Modern Country Garden

Symmetry Hedges of Fagus sylvatica and Tilia europaea 'Pallida', Buxus and Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle'.

Truly, can you EVER go wrong with topiary, hydrangeas and a Lutyens-style bench? 

Green  white

Swimming pool in a garden by Howard Design Studio.

Box hedging is a great way to support hydrangeas, preventing any indecent lolling about on the soil as the heads grow ever-plumper.

White Hydrangeas//

Boxwood hedge and white hydrangeas.  Maybe this will keep my hydrangeas from falling on the ground

Stark contemporary gardens with natural filling and warm hospitality

If you are set on a particular colour of hydrangea, growing in pots with the right acidity of soil is a good way to go.

hydrangeas in pots + boxwood

Potted bay + hydrangeas

So, before we rush ahead to the nitty-gritty of which Modern Country Hydrangea varieties I recommend, let's get you in the mood by feasting your eyes on these yummies!

Design Charlotte Rowe MSGD / photo © Marianne Majerus / on TTL Design

The hydrangeas look especially beautiful with this gray rattan basket treatment - Modern and Country all at the same time. Yummy! Full details on Modern Country Style blog: Leopoldina Haynes' Small Garden

Can you see the way the hydrangeas add a bit of femininity to the slightly masculine style of the harder edges of the buxus hedges. Trying very hard not to sound sexist?!

container planting with topiary and underplanting...

Tuinieren - Je voortuin als visitekaartje

The same is true of the clipped edges of these topiary balls. The hydrangeas are the Grace Kelly to their Fred Astaire. Separate: lovely. Together: perfection. 

Lush terrace

Pond, topiary and hydrangeas

Any severity of the half-standard lollipop trees and topiary cones is tempered by the slightly blowsy heads of the hydrangeas.

Green growing


Hydrangeas and boxwood work stunningly together in small front gardens or stately homes. Don't be afraid of using this Modern Country garden combination in even the smallest of spaces. 

boxwood and hydrangea for the front of the house - Marcus Design

Voortuin. Leuke blokken met boompje erin Door claudiabijvoet - so simple and perfect - less is more.  The topiary contrasts beautifully with the Hydrangea bed to the left.

Annabelle hydrangea in a formal garden. Behind the hydrangea is a pleached hedge and beneath it a small, tightly clipped box hedge.

White hydrangea box hedge garden path

In fact, can you imagine a whole garden devoted to this look? Hydrangeas, topiary and low box parterre hedges everywhere you look? 

{Ooh, the Modern Country Style treats I have in store for you!}

Images via:

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Friday, 12 September 2014

The Flower List: Growing Your Own Vintage Country Bouquets

Today, I'll be sharing my all-time favourite Vintage Country Flowers to grow in my garden for beautiful Modern Country Style bouquets.

Reem Acra wedding dress, Babington House Wedding, Ria Mishaal Photography

With this Vintage Flower Starter Kit in your own garden space, you'll be putting together Country bouquets in no time at all.

How can your Vintage Flower Starter Kit possibly start anywhere but roses? I can always, always, always find another space in the garden to squeeze in an extra rose.

Flower Design Events: Autumnal Pinks for Victoria & Sam's Glorious Wedding Day at St Anne's Parish Church & The Grand Hotel

Many of the roses available from florists have been greenhouse-grown or imported but it is possible to get a similar look with roses from your own garden. If you have a small garden, stick with varieties in soft pinks (New Dawn, The Generous Gardener, Geoff Hamilton) and whites (Iceberg, Elina) but if you have more room then the sky's the limit! For soft yellowy-butterscotch roses, try Graham Thomas. One of my favourite climbers is Dublin Bay, which produces perfect, soft, velvety red roses. 

Passion for Flowers - gorgeous avalanche and amnesia roses

Sweet Peas are easy to grow from seed. The spidery tendrils produce a tumbling mass of flowers that, rather miraculously, the more you cut, the more they respond with even more blooms. 


Buy varieties that smell delicious, like Matucana and Black Night, and, by sowing in succession, you'll have sweet peas by your bedside from May to September.


Next on my list is Larkspur, the annual version of the delphinium. Plant these once and they'll be with you year after year, thanks to their awesome self-seeding skills. 

The tall spikes of Larkspur add height with prettiness: perfect for soft country shades of pink, purple, blue and white..

Delphiniums: The Regent's Park by curry15, via Flickr

Foxgloves are another tall flower that self-seed magnificently. I know many a gardener that might label them a weed but, ever since I was a little girl, I've adored their finger-sized rows of mini megaphones. 

Honey of a Thousand Flowers - Journal - A whisper and a breath  #blush #flowerarrangement #weddings

Foxgloves are just lovely in any number of colours, from softened magenta...

Foxglove and Lady's Mantle (you just can't go wrong with pink and chartreuse in my opinion!) | Cottage Magpie

to the rather more sophisticated white forms (try Snow Thimble)...

The white the Foxglove!!!!

Hydrangeas are my current numero unos. O:B:S:E:S:S:E:D!
In fact, so evangelically enthusiastic am I that I'll be sharing my must-have varieties in the very next post. Warning: it's really worth researching carefully before you buy because hydrangeas change astonishingly throughout the season

Lovely tablescape with hydrangeas and roses in a white china cachepot for a dramatic effect.

Last on my list is lilac. 

Lilac and Sage Bridal Bouquet | Lauren Albanese Photography | See more

Sturdy, easy-peasy to grow and look after, even for a novice, lilac's itty-bitty flowers bundled together into spire-like cones soften the formality of roses. 

Flowers: 30 paper white narcissi, 25 white ranunculas, 25 white single tulips, 15 white hyacinths

With my Starter Kit of these glorious Country flowers:

sweet peas...

Flower Design Events: Autumnal Pinks for Victoria & Sam's Glorious Wedding Day at St Anne's Parish Church & The Grand Hotel

...coupled with the best foliage around (post coming shortly), your Modern Country flower bouquets will be the envy of all your friends.

Images via: Lovemydress, fioribylynne, Pinterest, Pinterest, Sarah Raven, Elizabeth Ann Designs, ewildflowers, flickr, sarahwinward, cottagemagpie, indulgy, unknown, lovemydress, hgtv, flowerdesignstannes

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Monday, 8 September 2014

Book Review: Vintage Wedding Flowers by Vic Brotherson

Welcome to a book review of Vintage Wedding Flowers by Vic Brotherson (published by Kyle books), one of the loveliest books I've read. 

{Sorry to be a temptress but I've included links to take you through to Amazon if you'd like to buy your own copy!}

When Vintage Wedding Flowers first arrived, my heart was nearly at palpitation levels. In fact, it may have crossed that line once or twice as I hyper-ventilated my way through the book. 

Each of the thick, crisp pages is jam-packed with description, written in easy, flowing text, as well as incredible photos (which are by Catherine Gratwicke) that leave you gasping for breath at their simple beauty. 

Vintage Wedding Flowers works well on two levels. Firstly, if I was getting married now, then it would be my first point of reference for the perfect Modern Country wedding. It covers ideas for table settings, headpieces, bouquets, table centre pieces, and button holes. 


However, with no wedding in sight, the second level is that it's flooded with fantastic ideas that would also work well in your home. Many of the flowers used can be grown in any garden with an English-type climate. 

You'll find roses, eucalyptus, larkspur, poppies, scabious, lilac,  hydrangeas and a whole variety of herbs.

If you are planning a wedding, this book is a serious must-have. It'll leave you frantically rearranging budgets to incorporate the Vintage Bouquet ideas for that special day.

However, if like me, your own wedding day has come and gone, and your children are no where near marrying age, Vintage Wedding Flowers will have you happily scrabbling in your own garden, full of ideas of how to plant with the Modern Country bouquet in mind.

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