Hartley Magazine

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Gardeners can take inspiration from literary novels

Creative gardeners can look to a wide range of sources when seeking inspiration for their green space.

For instance, a number of designers have modelled their entries into the UK Royal Horticultural Society's (RHS's) Chelsea Flower Show on works of literature.

Tracy Foster has created The Welcome to Yorkshire Garden, which takes ideas from the rugged beauty of the northern English county's hilly landscape.

Indeed, this is the same terrain that features in the works of the Bronte sisters and the garden itself represents the wild Haworth moors.

Charlotte, Emily and Anne did much of their writing in the real-life location and characteristics of this habitat are incorporated into Ms Foster's designs.

Manmade elements of the rural location – such as a stream and a stone clapper bridge – are featured in the green space.

Poetry can also be a source of new ideas for gardens, with Adam Frost's entry having its origins in the work of nineteenth century Romantic John Clare – famous for his evocative writings on the natural world.

A Rural Muse is the name of Mr Frost's entry, which has boundaries on its sides to create the effect of a closely defined garden, while at the same time providing an exceptional habitat for natural wildlife.

Materials are used in a wide variety of ways in order to demonstrate their versatility. For instance large boulders and stones will act as both seating and stepping stones.

The Veolia Water Garden is designed by Vicky Harris and is based on ideas found in William Wordsworth's poem The Fountain.

It demonstrates inventive new ways to conserve water, making it possible to sustain a beautiful garden in times of drought.

The area is modelled on a landscape from the British region of Cumbria, with a grazing meadow, fountain, stream and stone well.

Drought tolerant plants are included, in addition to special turf that lasts well in arid conditions, as it is more likely they would all survive a dry summer.

This could be a particularly adaptable solution for green-fingered individuals who live in an area that enjoys a warmer climate.

Chief horticultural adviser for the RHS Guy Barter recently claimed there are plenty of solutions for people in this position – and they are not all dependent on watering.

For instance, soil cultivation is highly important and recommended for all gardeners, as is mulching.

This involves recycling garden waste and placing a fine layer of the resulting substance around the base of a plant, as this can help it retain vital nutrients for much longer, as well as protecting it from difficult conditions.

"Spiking and feeding a lawn in spring will help it hold up in dry weather – and if it does go brown, it will recover even faster when rain returns," Mr Barter added.

The Plankbridge Hutmakers Ltd Garden is another literature-inspired entry to the Chelsea show, this time from Adam Woolcott and Jonathan Smith.

It is inspired by the Dorset countryside, as depicted in Thomas Hardy's fourth novel – Far From the Madding Crowd.

Feelings of peace and nostalgia are evoked by a beautifully handcrafted shepherd's hut, which is the centrepiece of the garden and is based on the hut that features in the opening scene of the book.

Gardeners with a taste in more experimental fiction can be more creative still, as Tomaz Bavdez's Humko Garden borrows ideas from The Soft Machine by William Burroughs – the controversial writer most famous for Naked Lunch.

The title of the book is a metaphor for the human body and the garden mimics this by making a person a part of its ecosystem – with an exercise bike helping recycle waste water via filtering units.