For gardeners across the globe, English gardens are renowned. Their reputation for being the most romantic, beautifully planted and idyllic spaces a gardener could hope for has spread far and wide. But how do you define a quintessentially English garden? Say the words and the mind immediately conjures up certain images: arbours and pergolas dripping with rambling roses; herbaceous borders with sky-blue spires of delphiniums, York-stone paving and clipped yew hedges. There are some features that no self-respecting English garden should be without, the essential elements that make the country’s gardens so iconic – here are our must-haves for that dreamy English garden look.
The glass cloche has been gracing English gardens for hundreds of years. There is something defiant about them in the kitchen garden. Yes, in terms of protecting a large number of plants from frost or pests, there are more efficient and cost-effective products. But few enhance the look of the kitchen garden in the way that a glass cloche can. To treat a prized squash or tender young lettuce plant to a cosy, glazed home all of its own when nights are still cold, is surely the gardener’s prerogative. It is an indulgence made all the sweeter when it comes to harvesting the plant in late summer.
Whether it is a dome-shaped bell cloche or a lantern cloche with small individual panes of glass, antique examples can be expensive, made from beautiful old glass with its wonderful lustre and characterful flaws: tiny bubbles or not quite perfect symmetry. Excellent reproductions are available however, so everyone’s vegetable plot can evoke the glorious era of Victorian kitchen gardening. Try Waitrose or Access Garden Products for new cloches; scour eBay and antiquesRead more on theenglishgarden.co.uk