Nymans 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.

The South African meadow was planted in 2012 with plants that have surprised us with their resilience and showmanship. This spring we'll double its size and run a grass path through the middle to allow an immersive experience within the landscape.

Planting design has made great use of herbaceous perennials, bulbs, daisies, and annuals which give colour, texture and rhythmic patterns in bold drifts. In keepng with the Messel family style it'll have a theatrical element achieved through plant positioning and selection.

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

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

Garden design

The planting scheme is a celebration of South African flora. Its aim is to fit seamlessly into the landscape bringing together the surrounding garden 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 site conditions.

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


Plants have been tested for hardiness against the great British weather and have surprised us with their resilience over the past few years. Ultimately the South African bed is an experiment which tests new and exciting plants and gives late season colour at the same time as increasing the South African collection.


Spot the mauve daisy heads of Zulu Warrior, fragrant pineapple lillies and vibrant red hot pokers. Herbaceous perennials, bulbs, daisies and annuals give rich textures and colours while African weeping reed provides gentle movement within a wild meadow landscape. 

Berkheya Purpurea 'Zulu Warrior'
Berkheya Purpurea 'Zulu Warrior'