Gardening: Victoriana style

PUBLISHED: 06:00 27 May 2016

The Victorians loved bright colours

The Victorians loved bright colours


Create a touch of the Victoriana in your own garden thanks to Hestercombe’s head gardener Claire Greenslade

At Hestercombe near Taunton work is underway to replant the balustrade borders on the Victorian Terrace. The designs of world-famous Gertrude Jekyll are followed as closely as possible throughout the gardens and the hope is to recreate the original look.

The Victorian terrace lies to the south of Hestercombe House and is made up of gravel walkways with a central fountain. There are two beds cut in the lawn on either side and standard roses dotted along the walkways. There are more than 50 acres of landscape and formal gardens at Hestercombe and here’s how you can recreate some of the Victorian style yourself:

• To create an ‘exotic’ look, fill pots and stonewear with very well drained, gritty compost and fill with dry loving succulents. Echeveria elegans is a pretty succulent with blue/green juicy leaves, or use use mixed sempervivums. They come in all sorts of colours and texture and make a great display. We use pots of puya on the Victorian Terrace. Cordylines and yuccas will look great too.

• Use a mixture of bedding plants. Put a taller plant like celosia or fuchsia in the centre of a pot and surround it with lower growing plants such as lobelia. The Victorians loved bright colours so clash together the blues and oranges.

• Create ribbons of bedding plants by drawing a wavy line in the soil using a cane. Then plant that wavy row with blue ageratum. Above that row plant a second row with white/pink or yellow snapdragons, next use the burgundy leaves of coleus and another row of lobelia.

• Italianate terraces and parterres were de rigueur for the Victorians and they made patterns by arranging brightly coloured flowers or using foliage plants. Try using the silvery leaves of cerastium tomentosum or senecio cineraria, also the lime green ground cover of lysimachia aurea, or the multi-coloured leaves of alternanthera and sedum spurium.

• Use statement garden ornaments to add a touch of Victoriana to your garden. Fill elegant planters with pelargonium, aloes or yuccas.

• Grow low-growing annuals such as antirrhinums, ageratum, lobelia, marigolds and salvias, as well as the more exotic verbenas, begonias, impatiens and heliotrope.

•Plant ‘dot plants’ to add interest and height within the patterns. Try canna, cordyline, and puya.

• For carpet bedding use coloured foliage plants such as the grey/blue leaves of echeveria, senecio and sempervivums, or the burgundy perilla and the reds and oranges of coleus.

All the old shrubs from the Balustrade border will be potted and sold via the Hestercombe plant centre in the summer.

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