The knot and herbaceous gardens were our priorities when planning the garden layout in 2008/9. Once they were landscaped and levelled to make the two formal gardens, we had a spare piece of land; an area running from the driveway gate to the meadow gate that contained a large oak, two silver birches and not much else other than patchy grass that was the remains of the old paddock. And, because the drains from the new formal gardens discharged into the area it was something of a bog in wet weather but extremely dry in summer as the trees soaked up every bit of moisture, leading to extremely dry conditions. From those unpromising beginnings we experimented with what might work. The dogwoods and acers seemed happy on the steep banks of the formal gardens whilst viburnums, photinia, hazel and others have adapted to the wet/dry conditions on the level area. In amongst the shrubs, we've planted hostas, geraniums, aconitum, astilbe, aruncus and persicarias whilst plants like aruncus, ligularia, phlomis russelliana have gently self seeded around.
The result has become one of our favourite parts of the garden with year round interest.