The Teddington Gardener

A little more death and decay, please…

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If you are designing a garden for all four seasons, and you consider your options for Winter, there are plenty of plants that will add that necessary spark of life, colour and scent – but allow for some plants to die, gently decaying and giving up their bones.

These hydrangea heads have been left uncut on the plant, here at the top of Battleston Hill at RHS Wisley – to catch the low sunshine, pick up frost and ice, rise above the morning mist – and protect the younger shoots deeper down in the crown.

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Many shrubs and famously many perennials are chosen for the striking silhouette of their skeletons and seed heads (see Piet Oudolf, who has been fine-tuning this art for the past three decades). Annuals and shrubs play their part too.

If you are an exceedingly tidy gardener, hold the secateurs and enjoy an extra dimension to your garden, for a month or two more.

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