Love Your Garden: Expert plants calamagrostis to hide wires

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Alan and his team, David Domoney, Frances Tophill and Katie Rushworth, headed to Duntish in rural Dorset in 2015 to create a beautiful garden for the Drake family. Alan’s idea for the space was to create something that terminally ill dad Andrew, his wife Rachel and their two-year-old son Lucas could enjoy. The family were left stunned by the team’s creation, transforming the “rugged Dorset plot” into a frontier-style garden.

The garden included a saloon bar, an upcycled shed, play area, fire “globe”, swathes of plants and prairie-style flowers which perfectly reflected Andrew’s “amazing zest for life”.

The family’s priority was to have a BBQ area, easy access and mobility and “somewhere to create memories”, said Rachel.

During the show, Katie Rushworth, created a stunning plant bed.

The garden designer and TV presenter from Leeds wanted to create something natural-looking.

She said: “The look I’m trying to achieve is a style of planting called ‘prairie planting’ and it originates from the American plains.

“Really it’s about trying to replicate nature with big sweeping swathes of the same plant with lots of grasses.”

Alan explained that to get that “wild prairie style” Katie used informal flowers.

Specifically, Katie used echinacea purpurea, also known as “powwow” and the “more delicate” helianthus.

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Katie added: “One of the wonderful things about using them here is they create a gorgeous transition right from the garden out into the open countryside.”

Alan explained that the gardening experts also have to work with telegraph wires.

Alan said: “This kind of planting is also useful when you have the wires of a ruddy great telegraph pole to contend with.”

Katie decided to use specific plants which are great for covering up anything unsightly like fences, wires or walls.

She explained: “I’m using these calamagrostis to try and hide the telegraph wires.

“We’re not allowed to move them so it’s just a matter of disguising them.

“Calamagrostis is excellent for creating screens.

“Plant them in big lines, they come up and sway wonderfully.”

Calamagrostis is also known as “feather reed-grass” and produces ornamental, upright feathery flower plumes.

In the summer, they rise while in autumn the seed heads fade and become golden.

The helianthus is a tall annual plant which has a daisy-like head.

The flowers are an attractive yellow and can grow up to 2.5 metres tall.

Love Your Garden with Alan Titchmarsh is available to stream on the ITV Hub

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