Forum home Garden design

Island beds - are they a bit twee or retro?

Not that it really matters how fashionable a thing is, if you like it, you like it and it's your garden right? I just thought I'd find out what other people have tried that worked well or didn't work before I embark on what could be a fairly large project. I'm trying to introduce some new planting space into the garden which at the moment is basically borders around the edge - one of them is a wavy border but that's not really revolutionary! Anyway, I thought I might introduce a long island bed to mirror the wavy border, creating a lawn path to one side of a weeping birch that is currently growing in the lawn. The tree is over 10 years old but seems to look well in spring then a bit sad later on so I thought if I dig a border that includes it, then I can add compost and give it a helping hand. Past the tree and down the imaginary path I'd have cottage garden perennials. The idea is that you don't see all the garden at once and you are drawn down a bit of a shady walk under the other trees that are further down past where the bed would end. I'll include pics later but does anyone else have a similar thing that they'd like to share to give me inspiration - it's a lot of work if it's only successful in my head!! :0)


  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,829

    Go for it.  friends of mine have been doing this in their garden ever since they visited the Blooms' garden at Foggy Bottom.

    They have a large garden so indulge themselves in themes of seasonal interest, colour or form so they have a winter bed, a grasses bed (very boring), a hot colour bed, a spring bed, a cool colours bed and the latest which I have yet to see is spiky formed plants with hots colours so lots of hemerocallis, kniphofias and crrcosmia.  

    It does indeed mean something new to see round every corner and you do want to turn the corners.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • I love island beds, but I think they need to be as large as possible to be effective. 

    Have a look at the pictures of the island beds at Bressingham (whose founder, Alan Bloom introduced the concept of island beds).

    I'd be just a bit careful when incorporating an established tree into a bed - you don't wan't to damage its roots.  Birch roots are quite close to the surface. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • TetleyT, twee, nah, have what you want never mind fashionable or what others think.  I must get my kids to show me how to post pics on here.  Hubby dug an island bed for us 2 years ago.   I had various plants and shrubs I love, and nowhere to plant them, we treated ourself to a small rotivator Now thinking we need another one. Its never big enough, if you are like the rest of us plantaholics on here, looking forward to the pics

  • I mean a bigger island bed, not a bigger rotivator!

  • CloggieCloggie Posts: 1,457
    obelixx: I confess to starting a hot bed this year with crocosmia et al and I love it so much that I want to take the white blooms out of there and put them .... somewhere! Hence the need for more planting space.

    Dove: I might "draw" round the tree and just turn the turf over, compost over the top and not plant. Love the pictures, that looks like a grand day out and not that far from me.

    Nanny: I cut my teeth on another island bed down the bottom of the garden and it is not big enough!

    I take the point on it having to be big enough to be worthy. Which rotivator did you buy Nanny?
  • TetleyT, sounds a bit dodgy cutting your teeth on a bed.Do you now need advice on Orthodontics1

  • CloggieCloggie Posts: 1,457


     This is looking up from the bottom of the garden

  • CloggieCloggie Posts: 1,457


     This is from the top looking down to the bottom

  • I am now really jealous, can I move in!

  • CloggieCloggie Posts: 1,457


     Then across the garden as you come in, so the idea is the grass path that draws you in starts where the wonky clothes horse currently is (this would have to move ha ha).

Sign In or Register to comment.