English Garden

(Question)

Hi, I have a garden that is 25 foot long and a depth of 5-6 feet. I would love to have it resemble an old english garden. Can you possibly suggest some plants? It is full sun, and runs along a garage in Picton, Ontario, so easy climbers (not ivies) are welcome as well.
Thank you in advance for any suggestions.

(Answer)

Thank you for your inquiry to Toronto Master Gardeners. Lucky you, living in one of the most favourable Plant Hardiness Zones in Canada: 5a/5b.

I suggest that you consult a few great garden design books.  Your library is a great source. You will see plans for gardens like the one you are envisioning.  Once you have an idea of what you would like, you will save yourself time and money by consulting with a trained garden designer or landscaper.   The person you choose can help you select plants known to do well in your area. Not everything English works here.

Two cautions about the location: be sure you know how much heat is reflected from the garage outside wall.  A white surface could give quite a bit of glare.  Also, if the foundation is concrete, the garden will tend to be dry so prepare to water in a dry summer, because we do not have English rain!

Some guidelines to consider:

  • Take care of the soil: be sure to add a layer of compost before planting.
  • Put in stepping stones or a path so you can reach in to do weeding and other maintenance.
  • Place tall plants at the back and low ones at the front.

Have you considered making it a combined fruit/veggie/herb/flower garden? I could picture two or three dwarf espaliered (trained to grow against a wall or fence) fruit trees, some sunflowers, corn, lavender,  and thyme in amongst the roses and the dahlias.

Landscape Ontario website: landscapeontario.com (Find a designer or a landscape contractor.)

Recommended Books:

The Essential Garden Design Workbook: Second Edition.   Rosemary Alexander

Understanding Garden Design: The Complete Handbook for Aspiring Designers. Vanessa Gardner Nagel APLD

The Thoughtful Gardener: An Intelligent Approach to Garden Design Hardcover.   Jinny Blom

The Beautiful Edible Garden: Design a Stylish Outdoor Space using Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs. Leslie Bennett, Stefani Bittner

Have a good time making your plans and making your new garden.