Shade Planting Country Garden

Tackley, Oxfordshire


Shade planting with contrasting structure and form brought this country garden back to life. Wildflower turf is growing in the sunnier areas which is both  beneficial to insects and is low maintenance.

My clients spend 4 months working abroad each year and want a lovely garden to come home to and enjoy. A mature willow tree is the key feature but it creates difficult planting conditions beneath it. We planted Tellima grandiflora in swathes around the base of the Willow along with other tough plants. Tellima grandiflora is an effective evergreen ground cover that can cope with dry shade and has lovely sprays of fragrant, creamy bells in April.

When choosing a palette of plants for shade the most important considerations are the structure and form, which are present for very much longer than their flowers. For example large, round, evergreen Berginia leaves provide a beautiful, contrasting foil for the early grass Melica altissima.

Where the garden gets more sun we used wild flower turf. Before laying the turf it’s essential to completely remove any perennial weeds in the area. Cutting back at the end of the season is almost the only care it needs apart from removing any fallen leaves which can be done easily with a  lawn mower. It is the easiest and most reliable way to create a wildflower area. The turf is made up of 34 UK native wildflowers and grasses with a minimum 75% wildflowers.


Our garden was overgrown and weedy, but Pippa saw what we wanted to achieve and what needed to be done, and created the perfect design for the space.  Her designs address seasonal changes and long-term considerations. She is creative, responsive, and easy to work with.  We are very happy with the result.

 – Mary and Ken