Arranging plants in a garden is a bit like any creative endeavour. When you get it right, it looks effortless - but trying to get it right is a very different matter. I wrote a piece for The Independent Magazine this weekend, about this very problem and if you want to read it, here's the link.
I was interviewing two garden designers, Jill Anderson and Pamela Johnson, about their new book, called Planting Design Essentials.
As I say in the piece, many aspects of planting design deserve a whole book to themselves - colour, texture, finding the right plant for the right place and so on. But this is a good book to have at your elbow if you're planning a piece of planting, if only to make you more disciplined in your approach, and to help you think through the process in a simple, logical way.
Measuring the space, for example, before you go to the nursery or garden centre, will ensure that you come home with the right number of plants. If you find yourself succumbing to an impulse buy, as we all do, the book advises you to ask yourself some very tough questions about whether you have the right situation for this particular plant.
I've known Pamela Johnson for several years, and she is a valued member of my local gardening group - generous with her advice, and very good at making canapes! If you want to see what her own garden is like, go here.