The gloriously restored RHS Garden Bridgewater is now open to the public – and the luscious planting schemes within its different gardens are breathtaking. From sweeping meadow-style borders to formal areas and a unique kitchen garden, the newly opened garden in the Salford area of England is not to be missed.
If you can't go just now, take inspiration from our top tips to take away from the amazing garden design ideas at Bridgewater.
1. Try curving borders for a soft landscaping effect
The RHS Garden Bridgewater exemplifies the way curved garden borders can soften the look of a garden, lending it a more informal feel. Considering the strong, angular design of The Welcome Building, the surrounding borders have a gently undulating, almost romantic look. Plants including birch groves, cornus, camassias, geraniums, achillea, Deschampsia (tufted-hair grass) and Sanguisorba (burnet) contribute to the delicate and flowing effect.
2. Mix exotic and familiar plants
The Bridgewater Paradise Garden proves that you don't have to stick to just one planting theme in your garden for your flowerbed ideas. Mixing plant species from all over the world creates a completely unique, highly textured plant scheme brimming with colour and a diversity of shapes.
Familiar favourites such as native geraniums and salvias are mixed with Asian plants such as Ficus carica ‘Brown Turkey’ (fig), Cape honeysuckle (Tecoma capensis), dwarf pomegranate (Punica granatum), Cape leadwort (Plumbago auriculata), umbrella tree (Schefflera macrophylla), Chinese new year flower (Enkianthus quinqueflorus) and hyacinth orchid (Bletilla striata).
3. Increase biodiversity by planting a meadow
One of the most exciting projects undertaken by the horticultural team at Bridgewater is restoring the ancient 21-acre Victoria Meadow to its former glory by reintroducing native species of meadow flowers that will help restore the area's biodiversity. Agricultural overuse of this land in the past left it overfertilized and 'exceptionally species poor', but work is well under way to repopulate this part of the garden with pollinator-friendly plants.
Want to introduce native wildflowers to your own garden? Find out how to plant a wildflower meadow in your garden with our guide.
4. Use fruit trees as elements of garden landscaping
The Kitchen Garden at Bridgewater is a 'masterclass in training fruit', according to the RHS. The wall planting is designed by RHS Horticulturist Dr Sylvia Travers and demonstrates a variety of fruit training techniques. 'Heritage pears, including '‘Beurré d’Amanlis'’, have been trained against the south-facing wall alongside apricots, plums and apples. The wires incorporate a variety of challenging shapes such as fan, espalier, Belgian fence and U-shaped cordons.'
If you're looking for interesting garden wall ideas and are growing fruit in pots or in the ground next to the wall, you have an amazing opportunity to incorporate the fruit trees in your garden landscaping, working with them almost as though they were a connecting ornamental pattern.
5. Use oversized containers to make a statement
Symmetrically arranged, oversized containers are used to make a beautiful statement in the more formal part of the Paradise Garden. They emphasise the symmetrical structure of the garden design, while the contemporary shape and darker colour create an up-to-date effect. It's one of those container gardening ideas that are endlessly versatile and suitable for both large and small gardens.
Anna writes about interior design and gardening. Her work has appeared in Homes & Gardens, Livingetc, and many other publications. She is an experienced outdoor and indoor gardener and has a passion for growing roses and Japanese maples in her outside space.
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