The second largest of the Isles of Scilly, Tresco has been attracting tourists for years to its stunning gardens. The frost-free climate on the island means that a collection of plants like no other on a British island has been formed. Those who have had the chance to visit return awe-struck. Whether you have visited or not, here are some suggestions to bring some of that Tresco magic to your garden. There is always room for another pot (!)
The Thriller, Spiller, Filler Pot
When planning a pot, a great way to think about planting is to think of a ‘thriller’ a ‘spiller’ and a ‘filler’. To really achieve the Tresco look, try a trachycarpus evergreen palm for your thriller centrepiece, a yellow Argyranthemum maderense for the filler which will give you spring/summer/autumn colour, and the trailing blue/purple Aubrieta ‘Doctor Mules’ as your spiller. This combination will give you a stunning display that should last well through the season with the trachycarpus providing a year-round design feature.
The Succulent Pot
A visit to Tresco Abbey Gardens will walk you through quite a selection of varied planting zones. Take some inspiration from the succulent cliff and think about the wide array of alpine plants that are available on the UK mainland that will thrive in a pot in your garden. Alpines such as:
• Sempervivum tectorum. Purple tinged leaves and mats of rosettes.
• Saxifraga ‘Theoden’. Purple/blue spring flowers and low green clumps
• Pulsatilla alpine. White spring flowers that give way to feathery seedheads, and textured leaves
Top tip for keeping your alpines happy: don’t let them get too wet! Alpines generally prefer a compost such as a John Innes No2. While we are thinking about alpines, why not add a bit of Tresco to your home with an aloe in your kitchen?!
The Statement Pot
Nothing says ‘statement’ quite like a packed pot of agapanthus. The copious green leaves and, for the ‘Tresco’ look, the multitude of blue heads make agapanthus a great choice. The evergreen Agapanthus africanus will give you the instant wow factor. Africanus prefers acid soil, so choose a quality Ericaceous compost and position the pot in full sun. The leaves of the africanus will provide year-round interest for your garden. Make sure that you remove any leaves that are looking past their best to encourage the rest. When it comes to splitting an agapanthus remove from the pot, lay on its side and drive a spade through the center of the clump. This requires considerable force; just go for it!
A really great way to channel a bit of Tresco into your garden is the use of terracotta pots. They really capture the look and will enhance the look of any planting. Tresco Abbey Gardens are not formal gardens; use whatever pots you have to hand and don’t worry if they don’t match! Have fun creating your piece of Tresco; there are so many combinations of plants to choose from.