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Green Range Planting Tips with Sheila Jack

9 May 2019

We've caught up with Sheila Jack, award winning landscape and garden designer, to discuss her top planting tips for our Green Range Morvah and Merryn Planters.
Chelsea Flower Show Sketch
Planting sketch of the Tom Raffield Force of Nature Garden Stand © Sheila Jack Landscapes 2019.

We've caught up with our friend and landscape garden designer Sheila Jack - responsible for creating the beautiful, Cornish-inspired planting scheme for our Chelsea Flower Show Force of Nature Garden Stand - to find out more about her favourite plants and how she'd style our iconic Green Range planters.

Sheila favourite plants
Sheila's Christmas flower of choice: ‘Paperwhite' Narcissus.

TR: What are your favourite house plants?

SJ: With house plants I like to bring the outside in by doing things like forcing bulbs, this means planting the bulbs in pots in autumn and then simply leaving them in a dark, cool but protected place for a couple of months, I leave them in my shed, then bring inside when they have rooted and the shoots start to show.

This year I had some scented ‘Paperwhite' Narcissus for Christmas which flower 6-8 weeks from planting and in January and February, when it's always rather bleak.

I also love the vivid colour from orange ‘Ballerina’ tulips and a bit of drama from dark 'Paul Scherer’ tulips. I sometimes use trailing plants like Muehlenbeckia complexa or Epipremnum aureum, Adiantum raddianum (Maidenhair Ferns) and orchids surrounded by moss.

Ballerina Tulips in Sheila's own home.
Another of Sheila's favourite houseplants, 'Paul Scherer’ Tulips add some depth and drama to interiors over the winter months.
String of hearts
Our Morvah Wall Hanging Planter with Ceropegia linearis subsp. woodii (String of Hearts succulent).

TR: How would you style them in our Morvah Hanging and Merryn Floor Planters?

SJ: The Morvah Hanging Planters are such a beautiful, sculptural shape and look great with trailing plants like Ceropegia linearis subsp. woodii (String of Hearts), Hoya gracilis or Muehlenbeckia complexa or simple graphic arrangements of ferns and Soleirolia soleirolii (Mind Your Own Business) or even some moss.

Merryn Floor Standing Planter
Our Merryn Floor Standing Planter styled with an array of moss and rustic ferns.
Merryn Floor Standing Planter
Vibrant ferns with hues of bright and muted green look great paired with bun moss or other trailing plants to add interest and depth to our Merryn Planter.

The Merryn Planter can take bigger ferns, again planted with mounds of bun moss and tiny Nephrolepis exaltata ferns or would also look wonderful with orchids such as Zygopetalum 'Trozy Blue’ or Coelogyne cristata alba artfully draping down the sides complimenting the sculptural steam bent stand.

For seasonality, I would force Spring flowering bulbs like Muscari, Iris reticulata, Tulips or Narcissus en masse in ordinary pots keeping it really simple by only using one type of bulb per planter. Later, transfer them into the planter when you bring them inside, adding moss or Tillandsia usneoides (Spanish moss) to trail over the sides or the ever useful Muehlenbeckia complexa.

Simple arrangements of ferns like Dryopteris erythrosora planted up with moss and Muehlenbeckia also look graphic and modern.

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Styled with mounds of bun moss and tiny Nephrolepis Exaltata ferns, the Morvah Ceiling Hanging Planter becomes a haven of biophilic design.

TR: Do you have any tips for Green Range plant care?

SJ: Less is more - don’t over-water your indoor plants unless the plant in question is known for needing set water requirements. Most plants do well with less water as opposed to too much (which causes root rot).

Adding a layer of horticultural grit in the base of the Green Range ceramic planters helps with drainage and will avoid plants becoming over saturated. 

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Tom Raffield Force of Nature Garden Stand, Main Avenue, Chelsea Flower Show. © Tom Raffield Ltd 2019.

Why did you choose these particular plants for our Green Range at this year's Chelsea Flower Show?

The planting for Tom’s beautiful Force of Nature garden was such a great brief to work on.

I was inspired by the Cornish location of the Tom Raffield studio, near Helston, close to the Helford River and the gardens that are tucked into sheltered valleys leading down to the estuary.

The planting for the Morvah and Merryn Planters specifically reflects the epiphytic plants that colonise trees that fell in the 1990 storm in gardens like Glendurgan. These plants take their moisture and nutrients from rain and the air around them. Moss and native ferns grow easily on the trunks of older or fallen trees. Orchids, Pleione formosana, Aspleniums, ferns and mosses and trailing Tillandsia usneoides and Muehlenbeckia complexa will be planted amongst pin cushion moss within the planters.

Posted: 09.05.19
Updated: 15.04.21

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