Bee's Gardens: The Penumbra

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Did you know...

  • Scrap and disused gas and drainage pipes add height to the front border of plants which love a south-facing aspect. Pollinator-friendly perennials in soft yellow and apricot hues include Dahlia 'Knockout' and Achillea 'Terracotta'
  • Large paving comes from natural slate slabs which look just like wood
  • Euphorbia mellifera makes a statement while the red leaves of woodwardia ferns and purple foliage of Actea simplex add subtle colours and textures to the shady part of the garden

About the garden

This shady urban garden shows how lush and abundant planting can thrive in a space overshadowed by neighbouring buildings, while raising awareness of the Stroke Association. Penumbra, meaning partial shade, is also the term for tissue in the brain around the area from which strokes emanate. It has been designed as a space where stroke survivors’ relatives can reflect and build resilience to provide support to their loved ones.

Architectural forms of Dicksonia antarctica combine with lush verdant green ferns, luxuriant foliage and vibrant flowers. The rusty and maroon hues echo the colours of the Corten water troughs. Rusted metal tubes provide strong vertical accents that represent the branches of the middle cerebral artery, most commonly affected by
stroke. Planting and natural materials help provide habitats for invertebrates and attract pollinators.

Thanks also to Peter Moffat, Dalefoot and Dyofix.

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.