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Gardens Blog

Art for Art’s Sake

Beauty in the garden

Did you read that wonderful quote in Helen Dillon’s article in the January 2018 issue of the RHS Garden magazine? She mentioned that she had left all her sculpture behind when she moved house because a friend had said that “Statues are just the gnomes of the upper classes” at which I roared with laughter -and then I started to think, which is one of the achievements of good writing, to provoke amusement and consideration in equal measure. (more…)

We have left undone…

Winter Miscanthus

This year I am leaving undone that, which text books suggest, by now we ought to have done. In other words, I have decided I am not cutting back, down or off stems, seed heads or anything with a potential flower left on it. (more…)

My Favourite Plant – October



We have been away for nearly three weeks and in that time the garden has altered completely. Falling temperatures and light levels have prompted a reduction in flower quantity and a massive increase in the amount of acorns rattling down from the mature oak in the boundary hedge. Such changes highlight unexpected stars and one in particular has really surpassed itself.  (more…)

Filling the Gap

Rich autumn colours

“I’m not happy – there’s no colour in my garden” – how often garden designers hear that comment (OK in January you can probably expect it but in July?). We are now slap bang in the middle of what is known as the “July Drop” or “July Gap” when the garden pauses after its June glories and catches a breath before gearing up for autumn. But to us, it being summer and allegedly the time when the flowers are out, there can be a feeling of slight disappointment when we look out and see, well, mostly green.


Gone potty

Watering Our Plants...

Spring is sprung, the leaves and buds are appearing and a gardener’s mind turns to thoughts of pots and containers and the delightful question of what to plant this year. Shall we be tasteful and have our pots all the same or will they turn out like a bag of dolly mixtures? Each to their own and I dare say we will see a selection of each over the coming months.

Scents and sensibility

Viburnum in the frost

I’ve been thinking about scent in the winter garden recently. Sometimes I can be working away, head down, left brain doing one thing and right brain something totally different, and suddenly I catch the faintest thread of sweetness on the cold air and have to stop what I’m doing and search out its source.


Sighs and wunders


A friend recently introduced me to the magical German word ‘heranwundern’ which translates as the process of praising something so persistently and yearningly that eventually the owner gives you whatever it is. There is nothing that I can think of in the English language which describes it so fittingly.


Right Plant, Wrong Place?

785. Joe Pye Weed

It’s a mistake every gardener makes, I think – you come home with a pot of something irresistible and wander round the garden looking for a space, any space, dig a hole and plant it, water it and wait optimistically for it to reward you for offering it a home….


Musings on Chelsea 2016


Did you go to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year? Or did you watch chunks of it on BBC1? I did both – and thoroughly enjoyed my annual pilgrimage on the Tuesday to soak up the thrills of the new and hope to reacquaint myself with old friends. As always, I wander around the show gardens, wondering what I as a designer would do were I to be faced with the challenges of a small site, with a number of sightlines and requirements, limited budget and materials which left me with the following observations. (more…)

Sparking Joy in the Garden

Cherry Blossoms

One of the more unlikely publishing successes in 2015 came from Japanese writer Marie Kondo. Her first book, ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying’, described the work of the consultancy she has built up to help clients with the positive aspects of tidying and decluttering, disposing of items which were no longer required, and storing the remainder of their possessions in logical, accessible ways.