Outdoor Relaxation by Pippa Greenwood
When you get back from a hard day’s work, or when you simply find the time to escape into the garden after a stressful day, then it is essential that you are met by a soothing environment. It is all very well creating a garden with lots of straight lines and wacky bits of metalwork, but if you want to really let your garden take the strain, then concentrate on a truly relaxing feel that will help you to unwind as you enjoy soft shades and textures of foliage, delicate flower colours and fabulous perfumes. Plants have an amazing ability to calm and soothe even the most wound up, stressed out mood, but what should you grow if you really want to create that perfect place to relax? Start by considering a fairly gentle perfume, like that produced by many roses. One of my favourites is ‘Felicia’. For something slightly richer try ‘Tuscany Superb’. If you have an arch, arbour, pergola or even a spare bit of 4
fence then train a honeysuckle over it. The combination of its delicately coloured flowers and fabulous perfume will cheer you up and you can even enjoy it in the early evening as you sit back and relax with a cup or glass of your favourite tipple! A sowing of night-scented stock will produce plants that, although not flamboyant, have the most heavenly rich perfume – also perfect for early evening relaxation as this is when the flowers open and produce wafts of really sweet scent. If you have space for a goodsized container plant, then grow your own Datura or Brugmansia. Commonly known as the angel’s trumpet and although potentially very poisonous, these plants produce large elegant trumpet-shaped flowers with a wonderful perfume. Think too of plants with a relaxing feel to them, such as the grass Chasmanthium latifolium. This grows to a height of about 45 cm and
carries its flattened seed heads in vast numbers above the leaves. They move about delicately in the breeze and are almost impossible not to stroke. Grow some Artemisia abrotanum its soft, wonderfully grey-green leaves will make you want to touch it, and when you do so you will find it also releases a lovely aroma. The perfume of lavender is often used in aromatherapy because of its calming, soothing properties, so what could be better to grow in a sunny spot with free-draining soil than some lavender? You can even use it to edge a border providing conditions are right, and it not only has lovely, slightly furry or felt-like foliage but also produces that heavenly smell. Take a look at some of the grasses and bamboos that are available; the rustling sound of bamboo foliage as the stems sway gently in a breeze, or as you brush your hand against them, is one of
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