Kate Mason’s ‘Garden Envy’ Beautiful Border, sponsored by eBay, was a visitor favourite. 

Here’s how you can recreate elements of it at home!

We asked Kate to share her top five features of her Platinum Award winning Beautiful Border, for ideas that you can recreate at home. In her true candid style, Kate shares all this and more as she takes you on a journey through her experience designing and creating this incredible display.

We’ll hand you over to Kate…

“BBC Gardeners’ World Live Special Edition was an unexpected event for us this year.  My team and I pulled together to build my design for eBay and were over the moon to be awarded platinum during the judging. The reception from the visitors and some of my gardening heroes was wonderfully positive, and being featured on the BBC2 Gardeners’ World TV programme, as Carol Klein’s favourite Border, was a true honour. I honestly felt like it was some kind of out of body experience, I couldn’t quite believe I was living my dream and still don’t really believe it now. To create a beautiful border on behalf of such a huge brand as eBay, was an incredible opportunity and one that has given me the motivation to hopefully do another next year. 

Kate Mason in eBay border

Having struggled with my mental health for a few years now, I knew that I had to find ways of dealing with coming down from the highs of a show, and the answer was simple, get out and garden. While I was out organising my garden post show, I got to thinking about all the lovely people I had met and the questions they had asked during the show. I wonder if any of the visitors get the same feeling of sadness or post show blues? Well, in a bid to aid your happiness, I decided I’d do a quick rundown of the most popular plants and accessories from the show. I have included my top tips to make the most of your imminent new tropical plants. In case you were wondering, yes I am trying to stitch you all up with new plants to hide from your significant others, it makes me look less like a crazy plant lady if you all join in.

Everything on my Beautiful Border is available from eBay, so all you need to do is type in the following plant names or descriptions into the eBay search engine and check out the different sizes and suppliers available, make sure you check the descriptions and seller ratings before you commit to buying.

Carol and Kate M Blog post 2

Colocasia “black magic

This plant is just beautiful if a little temperamental, in fact there’s no two-ways about it, it is one tricky beast! To over-winter these, ideally, they need to be in a heated green house and don’t let them dry out or get too wet. I find keeping them in leaf over winter is better than dry storing as the bulbs tend to rot if lifted, even if you use sulphur or cinnamon to keep the mould away. 

During the growing season I feed them once a week with an organic liquid seaweed feed which gives you the huge leaves that were on display at GWL. Make sure you water them regularly especially in hot weather, I use rain water where possible as I’m in a hard water area and tap water can leave water marks on the leaves.

Black colocasia
eBay border

Colocasia “pink china”

Pink China is probably the most hardy of the colocasia and is your best bet If you are just starting out with a tropical garden. Last year when all of my colocasia perished in my experimental, unheated green house, this was the only cultivar to survive in the form of very small bulbs. The bulbs came good after some repotting and sitting on a heat mat for a couple of weeks. I know in warmer areas of the UK they can be overwintered outside with a heavy mulch. The watering and feeding requirements are the same as with black magic. Because they can take a while to get going, I keep all of my colocasia in pots, then they can be easily moved and stored, but you can plant them out and dig up if you chose.

Albizia Julibrissin f. Rosea

This has to be the most asked about tree I have ever displayed, it’s beautiful pink, silk-like flowers are divine.  The deciduous foliage is delicate and offers stunning dappled shade. Albizia trees have a hardiness rating of H4 they can survive with -5 to -10 temperatures & grow in well-drained soil, in full sun. 

Alternating mild and cold spells may damage top-growth so I’ve been known to put fleece over if we are due a frost when new growth is visible. Saplings should flower in three years but can take as long as 10 years

Tropical plants Kate Mason
Angelica giagas cropped

Angelica giagas

This plant caused great joy and lots of wasp stings during the build and open days. As its predominantly wasp pollinated we had every single wasp in a ten mile radius buzzing around this plant, but It’s beauty is worth all those pollinating wasps. I’d suggest placing this plant away from seating and high traffic areas but definitely don’t miss out. The ideal position is a deep, moist, loamy soil in full or partial shade but it can tolerate drier conditions if mulched. It is a short-lived perennial so collecting seed and sowing as soon as the seed is ripe is the key here. The seeds will also need light for germination, so keep them in a cold frame or green house for the best results.

Boho rattan basket chair with cushions

And finally, the perfect egg chair to watch these beauties grow. After all of this gardening you’ll need the perfect corner to relax and watch your new plants flourish. This chair was not cheap at £493.99 but it’s worth every penny it has found its forever home in my courtyard surrounded by my most favourite plants. 

The feeling of calm this chair provides is genuinely one of the best things about it, it’s like sitting in a giant hug. During the show open days, I sat here and felt completely removed from the mayhem surrounding me, I think we all need a moment peace sometimes.

chair eBay

If you are planning on buying one of the plants featured on my Beautiful Border, or already have a tropical garden why not tag me, I’d love to see how your projects are coming along also because I love a nosey at a new garden. I often update my social media with tips and tricks for getting the best from your plants and gardens. So head over to @katesgardendesign on Instagram or Facebook and I will do my best not to lead you astray and encourage you to buy more plants… joking, I definitely encourage my fellow plantaholics, it’s kinda my job!”

A big thank you to Kate for sharing not only the most talked about features of her Border, and where to get them, but also the soul that goes into the creation of a garden at BBC Gardeners’ World Live.

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