Welcome to our Modern Country Garden! 
Won't you sit down and make yourself at home?

I loved our Country garden...
but the bulbs and perennials that look so beautiful 
from March to maybe October at a push....

...look rather more forlorn come the end of autumn, 
and certainly all through winter. 
So...what's a Modern Country girl (or boy!) to do?

One word: topiary! A Modern Country classic!

Topiary (particularly Box or Privet) needs clipping back to its basic shape once or twice a year, with secateurs or special topiary shears, in early or late summer. Now, this sounds finickity and tricksome, I know, but, truly, it's not....particularly if you stick to the simpler shapes {no elephants here!}. Balls, lollipops and pyramids simply need a bit of a haircut and clipped, stem by deliciously ever-verdant stem, back to their desired shape. This is made far easier if you buy them from a reputable shop or nursery (we ordered these Box Balls from B&Q), as the original shape is so perfect.

My plan has been to create a Modern Country Winter Garden in the first third of our outdoor space, as it's clearly visible from our house. I chose to use topiary as it's great for creating visual barriers but still allowing plenty of light through. Long thin gardens like ours need dividing into a series of 'rooms' and that's what I'm creating here. At last, a beautiful all-season view from our kitchen window.

Although my initial thinking was to plant my Topiary Balls, I rather like the terracotta-style plastic pots they arrived in (I know terracotta looks great but I find that it very often cracks in very cold weather) so I'm keeping the plants in those for now, though they'll need potting on in a couple of years to allow for growth. As long as they are kept well-fed and watered, they will flourish. This also gives me the opportunity to shift them around during the year.

When choosing plant pots for Box Balls, try choosing ones that are a slightly smaller than the diameter of the sphere for a neat Modern Country take on topiary. This is particularly effect in groupings.

I wanted to give the section that is closest to the kitchen window a bit of an oomph. It needed more structure, a bit more Modern Country Style to underpin the summer loveliness.

I've moved our table and chairs outside the back door.
And I've lined the four Box Topiary Balls in a row to define the space further. I'll probably be under-planting these with a succession of lip-smackingly luscious bulbs (narcissus, tulips, alliums...?). Bulbs and topiary go together like custard and cherry pie, don't you think? 

As the mood takes me, I can switch the outer two Boxwood Balls to stand like sentinels at the rose arch, leading my eye enticingly further up the garden.

I have to tell you about my experience with B&Q, when I ordered these four Box Balls from their website. They arrived super fast and I was all of an excited flutter....when disaster struck! Aaargh! I noticed that one of the plastic pots was completely split, and some of the roots of the Buxus had been exposed and damaged in transit. 

I shot off an email to their customer services, and received a lovely reply apologising, along with the promise of a new topiary plant....B&Q were true to their word. A perfect replacement specimen arrived the very next day.

Impressed doesn't even begin to cover it. 

Plus, our cats steer completely clear so I'm a very happy girlie indeed!