Inspirational Pergola Planting!

July 31st 2014


Recently I went on a fantastic garden tour of two very contrasting famous gardens in Kent and it made me think of two very different planting approaches for your pergola and its surrounding areas.

The first garden Sissinghurst Castle designed by Vita Sackville West and her husband Harold Nicholson. Harold’s architectural planning of the garden and Vita’s abundant romantic planting made the perfect combination for the gardens.

The WhiteGarden at Sissinghurst is perhaps the most well known. Vita called it her grey, green and white garden. Highly scented, romantic and glowing especially at night. A place to relax.

white garden

The WhiteGarden with pergola structure

Picture courtesy of The National Trust

To recreate a scaled down version of The White Garden for your pergola and surrounding area I suggest you plant some of the following ideas :-

For the pergola try growing Wisteria brachybotrys ‘Shiro-kapitan’, Rosa Madame Alfred Carriere and Clematis Duchess of Edinburgh.  Stunning white and scented.

Clipped box topiary in pots for structure.

Grow the following in containers or surrounding borders:-

Solomon’s seal

White foxgloves

Scented white lilies

White roses

White dahlias

Dianthus Mrs. Sinkins

Anemone ‘Horine Jobert’

Thyme silver

Echinacea ‘White Swan’

Convolvulus Cneorum

the list is endless but remember grey, green and white!


White Hydrangeas with Veronicas

Picture courtesy of The National Trust

In complete contrast the second garden visit was to Great Dixter the family home of Christopher Lloyd who created an experimental and constantly changing garden.  Riotous colour combinations made breathtaking inspirational style in planting with scale and texture.


Exotic garden at Great Dixter

Photo courtesy of

Why not try and recreate a mini Great Dixter of your own?  Friends will be amazed.

For the pergola grow bright yellow Clematis ‘Bill Mackenzie’ scrambling through scarlet Rosa ‘DizzyHeights’ and perhaps add another Clematis ‘Etoile Violette’ for extra riot.

For containers and borders choose some of the following:-

Dahlias all colours with large leaved exotics such as Cannas, Ginger lilies, and tender banana plants such as Ensete ventricosum.

Annuals – try Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ (bulb) with annual Papaver ‘Ladybird’ for a stunning statement.

Nicotiana ‘Lime Green’ with pink Cosmos and blue argeratum.

Next year try and experiment and see the results.


 Ladybird poppies

photo courtesy of


I hope the above has given you some interesting ideas to try out either this year or plan for next.


One thought on “Inspirational Pergola Planting!

  1. Exotic Plants says:

    thanks for post,i would like to invite you to visit my nursery Athelas plants settled in Ninfield, East Sussex, you will see also some great exotic plants.

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