To buy, sell and swap plants and use our full service, please log in or sign up - it's completely free.

Planting a carriage drive

  • Planting a carriage drive
  • Planting a carriage drive
  • Planting a carriage drive
  • Planting a carriage drive
  • Planting a carriage drive
  • Planting a carriage drive

In this centenary year of the start of the First World War, I thought I'd share a pre-war glimpse of life at that time provided by the great garden designer Gertrude Jekyll. Writing in Country Life in February 1914, she had this to say about planting a carriage drive.

"It is perhaps best that the planting just within one's entrance gate, and from there to the house, be kept green and quiet - a suitable introduction to a bright display of flowers in the garden proper.'

"A wide grass verge should lie next to the road, and there must be a good proportion of evergreen shrubs so as to secure a well-clothed appearance in the winter months. Consider therefore, close to the entrance, some groups of green holly enlivened by the silvery stems of birches. Then might follow rhododendrons and common junipers, with pernettyas and andromedas to the front, and beyond them tamarisk ... a beautiful shrub that is too much neglected in general planting.

"After a good stretch of shrubs of green foliage, with suitable companions of deciduous habit, there comes a region where reddish colour, both of bloom and leaf, predominate, Rhus cotinus being a charming choice.

At the far end on the opposite side, the prospect is further varied by a glow of golden foliage and yellow bloom. The shrubs are planted in generous masses, and long shape drifts join one group pleasantly with the next, avoiding the meaningless, spotty appearance so often seen."

Hmm ... if there are any GreenPlantSwappers out there with a long enough drive, it'd be nice to give it a go.

Have any others adopted Gertrude Jekyll's planting plans?

Plants shown:
1. Tamarix
2. Andromeda
3. Pernettya
4. Juniperus
5. Rhododendron
6. Betula

Comments (3)

  1. Grower

    Helene U Taylor

    Oh, I wish!
    My ‘drive’ has tarmac and I am therefore only able to have pots and containers. Besides that, it is just about big enough for my rubbish bin and recycling bin, plus a few containers. That’s reality of London front gardens. But I dream of a drive according to Gertrude Jekyll’s concept, and it will probably forever be just a dream. That said, I have managed to cram quite a lot of plants in my front garden – a 10 year old Garrya Elliptica 'James Roof is happily growing in a container, various fuchsias are flowering all year round and my window boxes on the wall have just changed from summer bedding to winter bedding. But it’s not a ‘drive’, no line of trees leading up to the front door and the pavement straight outside is constantly shared by passer byes. I have one tree outside my house though, in the street there is a 120 year old majestic plane tree. But yes, I am dreaming of a long, private drive with white stemmed birches.

    • Planting a carriage drive
    • Planting a carriage drive
    • Planting a carriage drive
    • Planting a carriage drive
    • Planting a carriage drive
  2. Grower

    Jeremy Wright

    I think it's a dream for virtually all of us!

    What I love about her plan is the way she builds drama and interest ... and that can be done with smaller places too.

    I particularly like idea of starting sombre so you can reveal, lead the eye and create visual impact. It certainly got me thinking.

    All said, I take your point Helene. Though haven't you turned your road into a bit of a drive by planting neighbours gardens too? I think that's great.

  3. Grower

    Helene U Taylor

    Yes, that’s right, both next door neighbours have had 3 large containers each on loan from me, with various mix of flowering plants. One of my neighbours is moving out this week-end so I will take those plants back tomorrow. The house might be up for renovation so I might not get any new neighbours for a while – time will tell, hopefully someone interested in gardening will rent there eventually :-)


Production v5.2.0 (1129a0a)