Croquet lawn 'Umpires Bank'

At the back of our quintessential English Croquet Lawn, we have a border we call Umpires bank. Whether or not the game of croquet has an umpire, I am not sure, but it is called this because originally there was a rather awful hard surface tennis court surrounded by an equally attractive chain link fence. When the owners children were young, this was a great addition to the garden, but as they all grew up and moved away, it was not really getting much use. So Robin, the previous head gardener replaced this with a croquet lawn, which transformed this area.

As the fence was removed, umpires bank became more visible, so we have improved the planting here. As it is viewed from a distance, bright colours add impact, such as the wonderfully statuesque Inula magnifica, and brick red day lilies. Orange-yellow Helenium 'Waldtraut', evergreen punctuation marks of Hypericum 'Hidcote' , feathery plumes of bronze fennel and two Laburnums stand sentry each side of the umpires bench!

The croquet lawn has suffered this year because of the drought, and although we have not got a hosepipe ban in our area yet, the searing heat has meant the lush green sward of last year is a memory at the moment. But grass has the wonderful ability to start growing again as soon as the weather becomes kinder to plants again.

Inulas are lovely architectural plants for the back of this border, with their large leaves and yellow daisy flowers and the bees are clambering over one another to get to the pollen this week