Tag Archives: Penstemmon ‘Garnet’

Colourful Planting-Front Garden

Using a colourful planting design makes for a welcoming front garden that gives pleasure every time someone walks to the front door! Here in Hampstead Garden Suburb we abandoned the less attractive main area of lawn and what a difference it’s made!

Hampstead Garden Suburb Front Garden

The garden looks much better with less lawn

Colourful planting links the two sides of the front garden

Uninteresting front lawn

The uninteresting front lawn – as was.

The new planted bed is surrounded by a narrow gravel path. This sets off the colourful planting and makes access for maintenance very easy.   The lawn to the other side of the path has been retained and has a small planting bed to echo the larger one.




Surprisingly, there is less maintenance in looking after the plants than a lawn which needs cutting every week as well as feeding and weeding to look good.  The plants just need the spent flower heads removed to prolong the colourful planting. Weeds are suppressed as the planting takes over.



Evergreens for year round presence

Ferns, hebe rakaiensis, Lavandula Dutch Group   (silvery foliage, long very fragrant flowers) and Heuchera ‘Tapestry’  (marbled leaves, pale pink foamy flowers)  provide year round interest in the front garden.

Hebe and lavender with colourful planting

Hebe and lavender provide evergreen structure.






Lilacs, purples and pinks

Perovskia ‘Blue Spire’ ( silver leaf and tall lilac spires) ,  Veronicastrum  sibiricum (tall with fingers of lilac spires), Rosa bonica (soft pink clusters all summer), Verbena bonariensis (tiny purple flowers on airy stems) provide softness at different heights.  And its great for honey bees!

Veronicastrum sibericum attracting the bees,

Tall veronicastrum buzzing with bees









Magenta Penstemmon

Penstemmon ‘Garnet’ has beautiful magenta foxglove-like flowers.  The blooms appear over several months so give colourful planting over a long period.

Magenta penstemmons and white hydrangea

Garnet penstemmons give vibrant colour









White Hydrangeas

The mops of white hydrangeas are elegant and stunning in their own right.  White Geranium sanguineum and Gaura lindheimeri add further whiteness to provide contrast in the planting design.

New colourful planting

Why keep a lawn in the front garden when you could have this colourful planting instead?

Cedar Screens

Ceadr screens are attractive in their own right

Cedar screens at different levels in sloping garden

Cedar screens provide a very effective way to cover unsightly boundaries.  They are very attractive in their own right and provide a backdrop for a wide range of planting. Cedar is a long lasting and low maintenance softwood. Here in Highgate, the cedar screens have been used to obscure garages and a large shed. 



Highgate Garden

Garage Cedar Screens

The garden is sloping so we designed the cedar screens to step down across the back of the garden. The lateral slats give a feeling of width and are closely spaced to almost completely obscure the garages behind.   The gaps between the screens create a softer line and provide spaces for tall evergreen shrubs.

Attractive glossy evergreen magnolia with Hebe 'Lisa' and Penstemmon 'Garnet'

Glossy magnolia with flowers buds, Hebe ‘Lisa’ and Penstemmon ‘Garnet’

The planting includes a beautiful Magnolia grandiflora ‘Gallissoniere Praecox’ which has huge goblet-shaped white scented flowers. A few are in bud now.  In front of the screens, apricot pebbles set-off Penstemon ‘Garnet’ and Hebe ‘Lisa’.




Bright sun provides great shadows on the cedar screens

Shadows add to the interest of cedar screens

The shadows cast on the screens are interesting too.  This picture also shows tall Achillea filipendulina ‘Cloth of Gold’ with its flat bright yellow caps.






Shed Cedar Screens

Cedar screens partly obscure the shed.

Cedar screen with fruit trees partly obscure the shed

The new shed is in natural pressure-treated softwood. The cedar screens around this have a wider spacing.  In time, they will be covered in jasmines, buddleja and roses.  The quadrant border is edged with Lavandula x intermedia Dutch Group. This has long lavender flowers and a strong fragrance.  A pear and a plum tree are planted in the border.




Yucca, buddleja and yellow jasmine on shed screen

Yucca, buddleja and yellow jasmine on shed screen

The long border with apricot pebbles includes Yucca gloriosa ‘Variegata’, Buddleja ‘Royal Red’ , hebes and jasmines.