The South African meadow

Nymans South African border

Designed to give maximum colour, with playful textures and exotic planting, the South African meadow is a vibrant mix of grasses and perennials.

Kniphofia Uvaria 'Nobilis' flowering in the South Africa border
Kniphofia Uvaria 'Nobilis' flowering in the South Africa border
Kniphofia Uvaria 'Nobilis' flowering in the South Africa border

Design Rationale

The South African bed makes great use of herbaceous perennials, bulbs, daisies and annuals to give maximum colour, playful textures and rhythmic patterns together with bold drifts. In keeping with the Messel family style it aims to have a theatrical element which has been achieved through considered plant selection and positioning.

Plants have been intermingled to mimic their behaviour in the wild, they have been dispersed in drifts to create fluidity and lead the eye around the landscape. Visually the design creates a horizontal plane of dramatic colour punctuated with vertical accents to focus the viewer’s eye.

In late summer the South African border is still full of colour
Nymans South African meadow in August
In late summer the South African border is still full of colour

Aims and Objectives

The planting scheme is a celebration of South African flora showcasing South African plants. Its aim is to fit seamlessly into its surroundings bringing together the garden areas that surround it and underline the view of the High Weald beyond.  

The objective is to use only flora that can be found in South Africa and to include many plants that are not commonly seen in the UK. Plants have been chosen that are likely to thrive within the conditions of the sight with only moderate intervention.

Exotic planting in the South African border
Exotic planting in the South African border
Exotic planting in the South African border

Experimentation

The plants will be tested against the great British weather, the likelihood is we will lose some to the combination of cold and damp in the winter, and some may surprise us with their resilience. Ultimately though The South African Bed is an experiment and the aim is to have fun trying and testing new plants whilst increasing the South African collection at Nymans.

Bright and exotic drifts in the South African meadow.
Bright and exotic drifts in the South African meadow.
Bright and exotic drifts in the South African meadow.

The Future

The South African Meadow was planted in 2012 and going into 2019 we plan to do it all again. The scheme has been a great success; plants have surprised us with their resilience and also their showmanship. We will double its size and run a grass path through the middle to allow the visitor to fully experience the meadow and immerse their selves in the landscape.