The Daily Telegraph Garden won Best in Show for the second time running – though unlike last year’s rather cool and unengaging garden I totally fell in love with Andy Sturgeon’s passionate, warm design.

The write-up goes on about Southern Cape fynbos and Mediterranean maquis in a rather overblown travel guide sort of way that entirely fails to do justice to what is so engaging about this garden. I could go on for ages about all the things I loved most about it: but I’ll just pick out a couple that everyone could borrow easily to adapt in their own garden.

  • The first is the echoes that run right through the planting. For example: he picks up the silver spikes of those Verbascum bombyciferum ‘Polarsommar’ with relatively low-growing Eryngium giganteum nestling by the ground and then echoes it again in the tall, stately Onopordium acanthium at the back (now I know where all those onopordums I saw at Crocus earlier this year were destined for). The result is a three-layer planting with symmetry running like a thread to draw your eye through the garden.
  • The second is the simple trick of picking up the colours of your hard landscaping (in this case, corten steel) very precisely in your planting. Here’s a pic to prove the point. I have yet to find out what the cultivar of these bearded irises is: but when I do, I shall acquire some forthwith (and hopefully some corten steel to go with it: it is a match made in heaven).
  • And last but not least: quite simply, the planting was sublime. Quite a muted palette of silver, bronze and purple: which has now become one of my all-time favourite combinations. This is the one which is going in my notebook so that one day I can nick it pretty much wholesale for my garden.


I haven’t quite got it all yet, but a good start would be:

Verbascum ‘Clementine’
Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’
Euphorbia ‘Blue Haze’
Euphorbia mellifera
Geum ‘Cooky’
Eryngium giganteum
Libertia peregrinans
Nepeta racemosa ‘Walkers Low’
Ozothamnus ledifolius
Stipa tenuissima

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