Oxford Botanic Gardens celebrates its 400th anniversary this year, as the oldest botanic garden in Britain. With the likelihood increasing of hotter and drier summers, new displays have been created to show what garden plants may be suitable for these conditions in future. Selections include plants from the Mediterranean, South Africa and North America. Examples shown here include Stipa gigantea, eryngium, dianthus and echinacea. The planting was loose and dynamic and it hummed with insects. By contrast the nearby classic herbaceous border seemed static and lifeless.
There is a lot to learn from close observation of our natural habitats.
We can look at vegetation structure and how and why species grow in drifts or singly and the timing of flowering.
I have learnt so much just by looking at the ecology of our nearby Red Lodge Heath, a remnant of the Breckland sandy heath. Drifts of yarrow and wild carrot mingle with clumps of scabious and echium among a matrix of low grasses.
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