Pick flowers Posted on November 2, 2012

I’ve seen enough hayfields. At this time of year there is hay in every garden, hay wherever you look, hay on my mind. What is all this about grass as a show plant for borders, for beds, for front gardens and back, parks, squares and courtyards?  Grass has its qualities, I agree. It soothes, it nods and sways in the wind, it looks great with the sun behind it (but what doesn’t?)

What’s wrong with it is that it’s in fashion. No self-aware garden can be without it. Every designer is using it. Every nursery has pots of it. And I think we can do better.

Grass is not like topiary – the other ‘in’ subject. Topiary never went out of fashion, but that doesn’t mean it can’t come back in. Grass (unless it’s properly mown) looks ephemeral, indecisive, blurs the edges, just looks too darned easy. It’s a cop-out. Choose among colours, shapes, heights, textures, time of year for flowering and fruiting, matching or contrasting. Adorn your garden with nature’s most elaborate and beautiful genitalia. Pick flowers.

Hugh’s Gardening Books


Trees was first published in 1973 as The International Book of Trees, two years after The World Atlas of Wine….

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Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book

I wrote my first Pocket Wine Book in 1977, was quite surprised to be asked to revise it in 1978,…

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