Many plant hunters travelled and collected extensively in this region in the 19th and 20th centuries, bringing back to the UK a huge number of plants that we know well. The conditions in the wider Himalayan region are damp, predominantly shady, fertile and slightly acidic – perfectly suited to the climate in many parts of the UK.
Planting up the garden
The plants I selected for the Trailfinders Garden typically occur in the temperate zone between 2,000 and 4,000m above sea level. Pinus wallichiana (also known as the Bhutan pine) is a common sight in the Himalayas. This tree species along with Betula utilis (silver birch) and Cedrus deodara were to form the backbone of the planting in the garden. Rhododendron, the national flower of Nepal, typically blooms around this time of year and was to be included too.
Thriving in damp shady conditions
Ferns are present nearly everywhere, and in the garden I planned to incorporate Dryopteris wallichiana (alpine wood fern). These would have been planted in rough drifts, sometimes acting as a matrix for taller flowering plants. Also enjoying the damp, shady conditions are rodgersias, euphorbias, primulas, Meconopsis (Himalayan poppy), irises and arisaemas. Rosa sericea pteracantha (winged thorn rose), which has delicate ferny foliage with red translucent thorns was to be included. This arching shrub rose, with beautiful white flowers, is perfect for other plants to grow through.
Jonathan Snow Landscape & Garden Design