With truly spectacular, unusual and stylish views, Sarah Mills discovers how one Bushey couple has the garden of their dreams, designed to reflect the vibe of exotic climates
Unusual, stylish and exotic were the key themes which sprang to the minds of Bushey Heath residents, Jane Fisher and her partner, John Fishman, when they decided to give their garden a much needed make-over. The couple had already spent a great deal of time on the refurbishment of their property. This included bold plans to build a new patio with seating and a large conservatory. However, following careful planning, hard work and the finished result, they both agreed something was missing. The view of the garden they were now looking onto from their beautiful new conservatory, looked tired and uninteresting. So, they took on the expertise of landscape gardener Peter Phillips at Urban Tropics. His speciality is stunning exotic designs for the cooler climate.
"We were introduced to Peter Phillips at Urban Tropics and the ideas he proposed to us were very appealing. We have actually seen some of the tropical plants in situ on our travels abroad albeit after having them planted in our garden," John explains.
Peter's passion for exotic planting stems from the survival of a Canary Island date palm he left out on his patio during one harsh winter some 30 years ago.
Peter says: "The following spring, I discovered it, not exactly in tip-top condition, but very much alive. This started me thinking that, if this poor little date palm could survive, there must be a whole host of other trees and shrubs with the same potential.
"Through trial and error, I have now built up an extensive collection of exotic trees and shrubs from the warmer belts of the world which will positively flourish in the UK with very little maintenance."
Three landscapers worked on this project and John was sent scaled detailed plans and 3d virtual reality visuals of their proposal, before any landscaping took place. The majority of the trees which were planted, were mature to give the garden an established feel. The area is south-facing and is in full sun for most of the day.
All of the plants used in this couple's garden flourish in full sun with the exception of tree ferns which need some shade. These were planted in the back bed where shade is provided by the trees and bamboo behind.
John adds: "My particular favourite spot in the garden is the pergola planted out with jasmine at the rear of the garden which is partially shaded.. From here, I can sit looking across at the garden which gives me a spectacular view of all the plants and the rear of the house."
Similar to many home and garden projects, this is on-going. This summer the couple plan on using Urban Tropics to help them carry out further work which may include the addition of a new lawn and an unusual water feature.