Janette Merilion is a garden designer by trade, but her garden at home is equally impressive. We pay her a visit in sunny Billinghay to see what wonders she has on show.
Having moved to Lincolnshire after a busy and high-profile job in the south, Janette decided to take her passion for gardening into a professional capacity by training at Riseholme near Lincoln. Taking people through step by step, Janette is not only a passionate horticulturalist, but also a great designer. She takes us through her portfolio, all lovingly hand-drawn and saved from each project. These all vary from projects such as a shaded, long and narrow garden she planted thoughtfully, to a huge, multi-acre haven for birdlife.
On home soil, her cottage in the pleasant climes of Billinghay has a varied and well-planned design which was originally somewhat of a blank canvas. A series of beds with automatic watering systems mean that it’s not only low maintenance, but also filled out and inviting.
As well as several beds Janette uses for showing examples to clients of flowers and plants that work particularly well, there’s a wildlife pond nestled among the riot of colour which attracts frogs, tadpoles and insects.
Elsewhere, there’s lots of fruit, which Janette says means she is pretty much self-sufficient from when combined with the extended vegetable patch at the end of the garden. The tomatoes in the greenhouse are of particular interest, with Janette producing her own passata and chutneys when they come to fruition. Elsewhere wild garlic, peas, lettuce, runner beans growing over an arch and a host of carrots, onions and garlic growing in raised beds all impress.
A fan of trees, Janette’s extensive collection extends to around twenty different types, both decorative and functional, including dogwood, a ‘wedding cake tree’, silver birch, a flowering Japanese apricot and a liquid amber which Janette tells us: “Smells like sweet toffee in the winter.”
As well as hellebores growing in shaded parts, the intermingled nature of the garden is what strikes us. A gorgeous birch grows over the bench at the bottom of the garden, with flowering clematis twisting its way around conifers to great effect too.
We also spot winter-flowering honeysuckle nestled in the garden too, something we’re real fans of here at the magazine.
Janette is full of ideas, but one piece she offers our readers in particular is a belief in bulbs. “Often people dismiss them, but if you plant them between perennials, then they look great and you’ll be rewarded each year.”
Janette’s joy for the job comes from the feedback she gets from clients, her home is full of photo albums depicting the various stages of gardens and one family even made their own hardback-bound book to present to Janette as a thankyou.
“I often go back and visit and maintain gardens and I love seeing them used and people enjoying them, it’s a great way to live and every project is different.”
We’re quite envious Janette, what a super way to spend your time!
Find out more about Janette at www.conceptgardendesign.co.uk