Guy’s Courtyard & Mezzanine Design

Ilex crenata ‘Niwaki’, Olea europaea and our homegrown Ilex perado making a bold structural impression here in Guy’s courtyard and mezzanine design. Perfect specimens for planters or big pots.

Olives are invariably grown in Mediterranean climates throughout the world as fruit trees and therefore they always have their branches cut off to keep them low so the fruit can be reached. Will they ever produce ripe fruit in this country? It’ll certainly produce fruit, but do green and unripe olives have a use? I have no idea. This means that in Britain we have the luxury of treating Olives as ornamentals, rather than as fruit trees. An unusual climate that’s mild enough to allow Olives to grow (until we get another stinker of a winter??) quite happily but never hot enough for the fruit to ripen. This allows all sorts of possibilities in the Creative Maintenance department; Olives make particularly beautiful topiary. Dense, shapely and very silvery. Try it.

A tree of such exotic and immaculate beauty that its discovery was a seminal occasion in the genesis of Architectural Plants.

We’ve done the Ilex crenata for many years mostly untroubled but it is necessary to keep an eye on fungal problems – to stand by with fungicide (medicine) and a sharp pair of secateurs (surgery). 

As with all topiary, the more often you clip the plant, the thicker the foliage and the higher the definition. Because demand outstrips supply of our home grown Niwaki, we often sell them before they’re what a Japanese nurseryman would consider finished. No matter. We’ve done the difficult bit (create the shape) and so the customer can finish it off – merely by frequent clipping and they can watch it getting thicker and thicker.

Ilex perado. We found this rarity growing in Ventnor Botanic Gardens on the Isle of Wight in 1988 as part of our countrywide plant search and the genesis of Architectural Plants Ltd. A round headed, dense, slightly exotic little tree with large glossy leaves. All the plants we’ve ever produced since then have been cuttings from that tree.

One of the most significant features of this little tree is its ability to grow in a pot and remain looking strong and sturdy for longer than any other woody plant we’ve ever encountered. Perfect for a roof garden as it doesn’t mind a bit of a blow either.


Our Design Process


To take the next step with your Garden DesignPlanting or Creative Maintenance plans complete our design enquiry form opposite and one of our team will get in touch.

*There is the option to attach any plans you have available and photos of your garden that include the following: the garden from the house, the house from the garden, from upstairs, from downstairs, your neighbours’ gardens and most importantly, views of the access.