Istvan Dudas, who designs and maintains a private garden in the UK, has shared images from the garden where he works with us several times (check out the most recent post here), and I’m always thrilled to have more, because every time I see images of his work, I come away inspired and excited for things to try in my own garden.
A cloud of beautiful sages. In the front, a dark Salvia guarantica (Zones 7–10 or as an annual), which is a sage from South America. Behind it to the left is clary sage (Salvia sclarea, Zones 5–9) with silvery-pink flowers and bracts. This sage is native to Europe and is a biennial, growing a rosette of leaves the first year and then this marvelous explosion of flowers in the second year. It isn’t seen much in American gardens but deserves to be grown more. Behind them both is another European sage, the perennial Salvia nemorosa (Zones 4–9) with its narrow spires of purple blooms.
More clary sage blooming in the garden. Much of the color comes from the long-lasting bracts, not just the flowers themselves. This makes a big statement in the garden over a long period.
Istvan’s style is very lush, very full, and a little wild. The spilling of the plants over the edges of this stone path gives the feeling of the plants taking over a little.
But sometimes simplicity rules. Huge hedges of lavender (Lavandula) in full, fragrant bloom contrast with a planting of just low-growing silver and white.
A tapestry of silver, blue, and white foliage and flowers makes a stunning backdrop for these richly colored poppy blossoms (Papaver rhoeas, annual).
It is hard to grow delphiniums (Delphinium elatum, Zones 3–7) to this level of extreme beauty and perfection unless you garden somewhere with very cool summers. But if you have the climate for them, they are some of the most beautiful plants in the world. Delphiniums can look very stiff and formal, but by placing them in an airy cloud of other flowers, Istvan softens them and helps them blend with the rest of the garden.
This planting could look messy and chaotic, but keeping the colors limited to shades of red, pink, and white brings harmony and unity.
My number one lesson from Istvan’s plantings: Fill every inch! There is no bare ground here, no visible mulch, and by packing in plants densely, he creates a rich, flower-filled border that just looks amazing.
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