For me there is nothing more beautiful when designing a garden than looking at the interplay of colour, size, shape and smell of plants. Nature has provided us with an infinite combination of options to choose from.
Take just one plant, one of my favourites, the good old English Rose. It comes in a wide variety of colours from the beautiful whites of ‘Claire Austin’ and ‘Winchester Cathedral’ that bounce light and scent into the garden when sat in the sun. Through the traditional pinks, peaches and corals all the way through to the intense maroon/purple colour of ‘Munstead Wood’ which brings drama and intensity to an area of planting. There are so many ways to use this plant in the garden. I am personally a big fan of the traditional rose garden, largely because I cannot think of a better place to sit then surrounded by the colour and scent of these wonderful shrubs. However, a formal rose garden does not suit every garden and only looks good for a relatively short period of time, although the increase in number of repeat-flowering roses has extended the season of interest. But very few gardens have the space for a separate rose garden so I often find myself using them in the middle of a border or in a planter as a focal point.
Another favourite use for me is to cover unsightly fences and walls, a rose like ‘Kiftsgate’ or ‘Rambling Rector’ is fantastic to train up walls and over doorways. They can even be trained to ramble through trees, although be a bit cautious on this one, as a rambling rose through a tree can look stunning but when you come to prune the tree, or maybe pick apples from it, you may find yourself slightly less keen on the thorny branches!
So if one plant has so many different uses, when you have so many to choose from I am constantly dreaming up new combinations for garden designs.