I'm sure our giant green coach caused a few raised eyebrows as it pulled into the narrow residential street in Chelmsford, England. But homeowner Sheila Chapman took it all in her stride as she warmly welcomed our tour group to her pint-sized garden with a smile.
Sheila is a well-known Royal Horticultural Society gold medal-winning exhibitor (now retired) and was keen to share her immaculately maintained garden with our excited group. Featuring a circular lawn, long pergola and walls festooned with an assortment of roses and climbers, Sheila's special interest in unusual clematis is also evident.
Yet it was her use of color that really caught my designer eye. Her garden was a carefully orchestrated series of vignettes featuring harmonious color schemes to great effect. The use of foliage to linked the vignettes was also well thought out both in the shaded and sunny areas.
Although shades of lavender, blue and cream were dominant there was also one stunning combination featuring dahlias, daylilies and roses in a blend of apricot and coral that was truly breathtaking.
In a narrow shaded entry garden, silver and black were used as repeating elements to draw you into the main garden, with a few pops of gold from Japanese forest grass and a dusky rose heuchera, all spilling onto the flagstone pathway.
Layering is a key tenet of English garden design and this was also demonstrated in a generous way from ground covers to mounding perennials and shrubs punctuated with vertical elements including the expansive pergola draped with climbers. There was no bare earth visible.
At just 250 square yards, this garden may be modest in size but that hasn't stopped Sheila from creating a remarkable and colorful oasis that proved to be one of our guests favorite destinations.
We are planning our 2024 tour to Devon and Cornwall as well as our 2025 tour to the Cotswolds. If you'd like to be notified of the details be sure to sign up for my newsletter and you will be offered priority registration as well as a useful FREE download of my top Travel Tips. You can do that here:
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