I have a passion for white hydrangeas and have used them in pots on the terrace outside our summer house. I took these photos back in September, when the lovely hydrangea blooms were fresh and the white geraniums were still in flower.
The summer house terrace is paved with black slate and I love the mix of evergreen planting, white blooms, grey metal furniture and the grey checked chair cushions.
Inside the summer house I have an old sofa which Hardy, my Irish Setter, loves to sleep on.
The planting around the summer house is primarily evergreen. The plan was inspired by the planting at a beautiful hotel we stayed at in Antigua for a family holiday a few years ago. Underneath the tropical bananas and tree ferns, the hotel had used a mass planting of Choisya ternata, ferns and hostas. In my interpretation I have planted a hedge of Choisya ternata and made two beds which include clipped box pyramids, ferns and Viburnum Davidii. In spring the beds are lit by a mix of white tulips and Dicentra alba. These are followed in summer by white agapanthus. The pots include the white hydrangea Madame Emile Mouillère, hostas and white geraniums and I have used the glass orbs that I bought at the Chelsea Flower Show this year to add light and reflection to the largely green planting scheme.
This a very easy to maintain scheme. The dense evergreen planting largely keeps down the weeds and everything is relatively slow growing, so there is little pruning to do. Now that autumn is here I just need to tidy the beds, plant the tulip bulbs and mulch with the leaf mold made from last autumn’s leaves. I will empty the pot of geraniums on the table and replace them with white hyacinth bulbs to flower in the spring. Then I just need to sweep the terrace clear of leaves and this area is ready for the winter.
I use the summer house perhaps more in winter than summer. As long as I keep my coat on it is a lovely sheltered place to sit with a coffee and a magazine. As the evergreen planting changes very little with the seasons, it always has a touch of my Antiga holiday about it.