An attractive tufted plant with lots of fine, thread-like, evergreen leaves forming an attractive mounded shape. Plants resemble a grass, but are actually a species of sedge. Most of those sold in garden centres have reddish-bronze foliage and may be labelled as bronze, although plants are naturally variable and some have greenish-yellow leaves. Plants are very striking grown in containers and also look at home planted around the edge of a pond where the soil is moist but not wet. It is also good for adding foliage interest to a border of herbaceous perennials and grasses.
utilis Himalayan birch
A favourite multi-purpose tree, the Himalayan birch looks stunning all year round. Pendulous catkins appear in spring, with the mid-green foliage of summer turning gold in autumn. It lights up grey winter days with peeling strips of papery bark, varying from creamy-white through to copper and brown.
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"My inspiration is the Fibonacci rectangles with their 1:6 mathematical ratio, used to construct a Fibonacci golden spiral. It's the same as the spiral found naturally in pine cones and pineapples. It also happens when you stir a spoon in a cup of coffee, stirring creates a vortex which sinks in the middle. I've created a main pathway of flintstone in tones of brown and cream and around the edge is 500 frothy, bronze Carex buchanii.
"I want visitors to the garden to feel both relaxed and uplifted by the rich textures and colours associated with coffee. My garden had to be an installation; I had to do it the Alan Gardner way."