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?