Fashionable and Bold Colour for the Urban Garden


In the second of her guest posts for us, garden designer Nicola Sweeting concentrates on getting bold with colour in the urban garden. For more inspiration from Nicole, check out her inspiring Pinterest boards.

I’m peering out through the winter gloom at my small urban garden and longing for colour. There’s green of course, there’s always green. The garden is just about big enough to have a very small lawn and there’s the green of box balls, the ferns (dryopteris mostly) and the green and gold of the little variegated holly at the end of the garden. There is also a very tiny splash of pink from a cyclamen in a pot. I know colour is on its way.

Spring will bring the frilly pink Tulipa ‘Angelique (above right) which (almost) matches the pink of the small Magnolia soulangea ‘Susan’ (above left) they are planted beneath. There will be clematis ‘Niobe’ (above centre) and ‘Jules Correvon’ (above top right) in the summer as well as pots of Salvia ‘Hotlips’ next to pots of Salvia nemerosa ‘Caradonna’.

usp-01But the garden needs more colour for the dark days of winter, so I’m thinking ahead and in preparation for next year, and as soon as the weather allows I shall change the colour of my bench, which is currently Farrow and Ball’s Chartwell Green, to something that has more of a warm glow. Jane’s USP blog shows Fendi’s Autumn collection has just the sort of colours I’m looking for.


I’m thinking of painting the bench the colour of the coat top right and then placing pots of heuchera and cyclamen on and around the bench. Heuchera ‘Apricot’, ‘Berry Smoothie’ and ‘Georgia Plum’ (below) from, Cyclamen ‘Coum’ (below left) is from Try for plants too.


In the meantime, I also want to make some colour changes for the season to come this year. I remember thinking last summer that I felt like taking a bolder approach to colour in the garden. Looking for inspiration I found this image on Matthew Williamson’s instagram (left below). I then noticed that the colours are similar to the Liberty wallpaper I have in my dining room (below right) overlooking the garden, so the new scheme will link the garden with the house.

Like the bench, the trellis in my garden is also Chartwell Green which is paler, but similar to Matthew Williamson’s screen, so I’ll keep that the same. I can also use the bench with its new Fendi colour and I want to find a place for the old water tank that I’ve been meaning to plant up. It’s very similar to the ones that Amanda showed in her post on the Hauser and Wirth art gallery.


I’d also like to plant flowers that are ‘cut-and-come-again’ so that I can take some into the house, so I’m thinking Zinnia ‘Benary’s Giant Wine’, Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cherry Brandy’ and Helenium ‘Waltraut’ with Verbena bonariensis and Verbena ‘Homestead Purple’. These plants will give me the colours I’m looking for, the repeated forms of the plants will give the scheme harmony and there is a variety of heights (above and below).

All of these plants can be bought as seedlings, or seeds (much cheaper) if you’re a keen gardener, from Sarah Raven.

I’m also planning on adding a new climbing rose to the trellis this year. My other roses are in soft pale colours, so this time I’ll go for something like Rosa ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles’ from David Austin Roses (below left). I’ve also noticed that Sarah Raven has brightly coloured plant labels (below right) or do you think I’m getting carried away?



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