Garden Photo of the Day

Gardening as an Art Form

A UK gardener takes his craft to the next level

Istvan Dudas, the gardener for a private estate garden in the UK, shared his dreamy, magical perennial borders with us earlier this year, and he’s sent some more images of the same garden as summer transitions into autumn. For Istvan, gardening is not just a job, but a passion and an art form. That attitude is certainly apparent in the vivid gardens he creates.

Late summer is when many annuals are at their peak. Here cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus, annual), Amistad salvia (Salvia ‘Amistad’, Zones 8–10 or as an annual), and tall spires of cleome (Cleome hassleriana, annual) mingle with other annuals and perennials. I particularly love seeing the tall, lanky stems of cleome reaching out over the other plants. Too often what is sold at garden centers is marketed as tidy, compact, and mounded. But sometimes tall and loose is just what a planting needs.


Perennials spill out over and among paving stones beside an outdoor seating area. The effect is loose and wild, but the smooth, clear pathways are still functional and easy to walk down.


The big, rounded mounds of Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Zones 3–11) repeated through the planting pulls this border together. Loose grasses and the tall, airy purple heads of tall verbena (Verbena bonariensis, Zones 7–10 or as an annual) punctuate the shorter perennials to give the planting lightness and movement.


Green mosses covering the path through this garden give the whole planting the feeling of a garden gone wild, a lost treasure you have just wandered into. Of course, a planting like this is carefully planned and requires a great deal of work. And the repeated elements keep the whole planting feeling unified.


Airy stems of tall verbena are a “see through” plant. Here they make a romantic purple screen through which you can look at the rest of the border extending beyond.


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 10/02/2018

    Istvan's garden design and care of the planting beds are very inspiring. He obviously has a wonderful partnership with Mother Nature as evidenced by his artistic inclusion of reseeding annuals.

  2. wittyone 10/02/2018

    I love the wild, spontaneous look of this garden. So many gardens planted and maintained by professionals, while they look lovely, well composed and balanced, often lack the surprise factor of the plantings in this garden.

    Keep it up Istvan, you're doing a great job!

  3. Maggieat11 10/02/2018

    Fabulous! I appreciate your garden skills AND your lovely photos!

  4. btucker9675 10/02/2018

    Love the "messy", meadowy look of this wonderful garden!

  5. User avater
    treasuresmom 10/02/2018

    What type of soil is there? Do you have to amend, fertilize, etc?

  6. perenniallycrazy 10/02/2018

    I love your free flowing and happy garden design Istvan. I hope you come back every season with a garden revelation for all of us.

  7. harrylonovets 10/21/2021

    Your garden looks like a butterfly garden. Planting flowers like these attract all kinds of different creatures, adding color and life to your garden. I am really amazed to see this garden and now I would definitely try to create one like this. I will read now to know how I could manage my workload and to do my homework on time.

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