BBC Gardeners' World

Fire starter

It’s a balance between artistry and control... Colour has to dance and flow and occasionally jar

We think very carefully about colour at Longmeadow. We plan it, try to control it, constantly monitor and adjust it – and yet are very happy when much of this goes haywire and colour anarchy takes hold.

I am being serious about this! It’s a tricky business getting the right balance between the artistry of using colour in a border to create the effect you want and the sterility of rigid colour control. I visited a garden in America last summer that boasted a pair of huge 200-yard-long colour borders, but the boast rang if not hollow then distinctly flat, because the colours were banded and demarcated so rigidly and metronomically that the effect of walking down it was like

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