We were pleased to be asked to create a planting scheme for this city garden in the fashionable De Pijp neighbourhood of Amsterdam. The site is behind a house recently re-furbished by local architect Janpaul Scholtmeijer of JPS.architecten. Italian architect Alessandro Solci was commissioned to design the layout for a garden in the dappled shade of two birch trees.
He installed a narrow timber deck beside the building, which we have made the setting for handsome pots by Atelier Vierkant. He also created a path into the garden with dusky slate chippings. An inviting bench by Fermob is tucked against the garden boundary.
This was the backdrop for our planting scheme, which we set within an evergreen matrix made from neat clumps of Sesleria autumnalis, or autumn-moor grass. As always, we chose plants to give the garden owners pleasure at every time of year. The lime-green flowers of Helleborus argutifolius, the Corsican hellebore, buttercup-yellow aconites and pale snowdrops are there to brighten January’s darkest days, and we planted daphne and sweet box (sarcoccoca confusa) to fill the leaden air with scent all winter. Sweet violets, epimedium, and the fresh green tones of new fern leaves herald the spring, followed by an ever-unfolding drama of contrasting flowers and foliage. Pots packed with Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’s ice-pale, rounded leaves are displayed beneath the flowering spikes of white astilbe.
We chose the compact Hydrangea paniculata ‘Bobo’ for summer, when it is engulfed by the large white flowers from top to bottom. Now the arching stems and intricate flowers of toad lilies (Tricyrtis formosana) hover above a green understorey of Euphorbia robbiae, until Cape gooseberries (Physalis peruviana) bear their bright orange fruit in autumn.