Welcoming members and visitors to the Manor, the Chairman introduced Suzanne Jones as the speaker for the evening with her subject of “ Prairie Style Planting for your Garden”.
Suzanne is involved with various societies and groups in Dawlish and has studied Garden Design at Bicton College.
With colourful images of specific plants and various gardens around this country and abroad, Suzanne talked us through the basic elements of this type of gardening which is becoming more popular.
The pioneers of Prairie Planting years ago were based in America where they used native plants – mainly grasses with perennials popping up in between to provide a low maintenance garden that would also be kind to the environment. Another benefit is that it is also kind to animal and insect life too. In some respects this is similar to an English Meadow – however perennials and grasses thrive on a rich soil base where as our meadows require poor soil. The whole idea is that there is a continuation of planting throughout the seasons bringing colour that evolves through constant change. The chosen plants should sparkle and shine like jewels in their peak.
Beth Chatto who is best know for her motto “ Right Plant, Right Place” put this style of planting to the test at her well known garden in Essex where she had difficult conditions to overcome. It worked very well there.
Another well known and world renowned garden designer from Holland -Piet Oudolf – is currently creating contemplative emotional atmospheres with his planting plans and schemes. His work can be seen at the Hauser and Wirth garden at Bruton – well worth a visit!
Suzanne went on to explain in more detail the design style planning of Matrix, Block and Scatter. It’s important to develop a theme using local native plants, where possible, to suit the soil conditions and the garden site. We were treated to many delightful photographs, drifts of grasses wafting in the breeze, perennials in full bloom from June until October – the treats that provide the added colour to this tapestry, until the first frosts add rime to the seed-heads, very much enjoyed by the birds.
To start the whole year off again in February, just chop everything down to the ground and nature will do the rest. In fact Suzanne has seen a mower used to tackle large swathes of prairie planting at some gardens. She then took plenty of questions from interested members on how they could apply these principles in their own plot.
The next meeting will be the AGM on Thursday January 30th 2020, a Bring and Share supper. Visitors are always made welcome, with entry, raffle and refreshments for just £2. More information from our website dawlishgardensociety.org.uk.