Archive for the ‘country garden’ Category

Let your grass grow

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Natural meadow area at the centre of Strode College campus, with two table tennis tables in a mown glade at the centre (not shown).  This approach has a lot going for it:  beautiful colours, textures, low maintenance, cheap, easy,  native, beneficial to moths, butterflies and all sorts of other insects…

In a few weeks time the meadow needs to be mown (or scythed) to tidy.

Summer border

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Clients border looking good 2 years after design / planting – Allium sphaerocephalon, Catananche, Geranium ‘Rozanne’, Persicaria, Scabiosa…

Gravel steps – Nr. Bristol

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

This is a garden I designed in 2014 and was installed by the clients during 2015.  We were dealing with a slope and had the issue of underground services close to the surface.  The oil tank was moved, patios at the back enlarged and new retaining walls built.

My clients kindly sent me the pictures, I have copied in their email:

Dear Angela
Just thought you might like to see these photos of the garden now the trellis is in place
We are so pleased…
If you ever need trellis etc in your work we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the company we used… Stuart Garden Architecture based in Wiveliscombe
Kind Regards
C

Gardening on an angle – Nr. Shepton Mallet

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

This is a garden I designed in 2014, the client has planted it as a white garden and is finding out that white flowers are not always white.  So which are good whites?

Viola cornuta ‘Alba’
Choisya ternata ‘Alba’
Armeria maritima ‘Alba’
Digitalis purpurea ‘Alba’
Allium ‘Mount Everest’
Cosmos ‘Sonata
Pulmonaria ‘Sissinghurst White’
Hesperis matrionalis
Phlox
‘Mount Fuji’

to mention a few…

The birds are nesting

Monday, April 25th, 2016

My willow sculptures when placed outdoors often prove to be attractive to nesting birds, last night I noticed that a wren has recently built its mossy nest in this old willow flower on the east facing end of the shed.

What does your garden say about you?

Monday, September 21st, 2015

Last week I was shown around a friend’s garden, it was a long garden in a country setting, narrower at the house end (but not too narrow) and a little wider at the far end. The borders were deep and defined by a meandering grass path, sometimes wide, sometimes narrow – a bit like the course of a lazy river. I see a lot of gardens and this was refreshing, it felt peaceful and private, there were several benches and a lovely carved log bird bath which apparently a small frog occasionally visits!

The beds were mostly weed free but there were pockets of bindweed and ground elder – my friend’s attitude is relaxed with regards to these, she deals with them as and when. This is also her approach to the garden as a whole, she looks after the grass path but doesn’t become a slave to the borders. This fine balance of gardening and enjoying the garden is something I think most people fail to achieve, myself included. Wonderfully refreshing, thank you Ann.

Formal and informal – Devon

Friday, May 29th, 2015

In it’s first year of planting, this wild flower meadow has been designed to reach right into the heart of the formal garden. From here you can step out over the river to glorious Devonshire meadows whilst insects and birds are invited in with rewards of safe nesting in the walls of the kitchen garden.

This finger like meadow creates contrast with the formal canal, rill and clipped hedges (when they have grown that is). It is planted with 1000′s of spring bulbs and wildflower perennials.




The wildflower mix is from Emorsgate Seeds: Cornfield annuals mix http://www.emorsgateseeds.co.uk/

Natural stone in the garden

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

Old stone properties usually have a disused pile of stone somewhere in the garden whilst local quarries are exciting places to source from.

These projects: Devon, Dorset and Somerset illustrate how stone can be used creatively linking garden with the larger landscape.

Dry stone walls – perfect for wildlife

Water in the garden (2)

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

I have just come back from Marrakech, a city that exists and functions as a result of the water channelled from the Atlas mountains. As any short break should do, I have come back refreshed and intrigued by the architecture, the culture and the contrasts of that city. Back home things couldn’t be more contrasting, a lush landscape in the full throws of spring, where we tend not to think much about water in our daily lives, where we can be free to play with it in our gardens and even waste it.

Water in hot countries is used in gardens for its cooling effect, for example in Marrakech the ‘riad’ courtyards are open to the sky with a simple pool of water at their centre, this creates an upward draught of cool air. Here in our gardens water is not usually taken very seriously however it can be a fantastic addition to the garden attracting insects, birds, amphibians (snakes!) as well as being attractive, creating dancing patterns of light, possibly introducing sound and supporting a range of interesting aquatic plants. The bigger the water feature, the bigger the benefit!(http://www.wildgardens.co.uk/?p=2535).

In my garden, the pond is the main focal point, at coffee time, I often sit outside my office next to the pond, and marvel at the life it supports, it is a haven for newts, they are a joy to behold, gracefully gliding through the water and the more I look, the more diverse life forms reveal themselves – last week we discovered that great crested newts have adopted our pond, a large, majestic but rather shy beauty!

The pond in our garden is about ten years old, approximately three metres square and 0.7 metres deep, the base is deeply covered with oxygenating weed (therefore offering different niches, oxygen, shade, shelter, breeding sites…). It has been fish free for about 6 years and it has gradually become inhabited by newts. Last year we had breeding grass snakes in the garden and feared for the future of our newts but happily they are still doing well.


Landscape architect, Kim Wilkie, has a great approach to using water in his projects, in his words “I try to understand the memories and associations embedded in a place and the natural flows of people, land, water and climate” (www.kimwilkie.com).

Rain garden feature – Cyber park – Marrakech

Ruthlessness in the garden

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Spring has sprung, buds are bursting, it is nolonger safe to move plants around the garden, it is too late to prune most shrubs (wait until after flowering for spring flowering shrubs (Forsythia, Ribes sangiuneum, Spiraea ‘Bridal Wreath’)), in theory we should be able to sit back and enjoy the sunshine. But oh no! There are seeds to sow and nurture, grass to cut, weeds to keep on top of, staking to be positioned, lawn edges to tidy, dahlias to ease out of hibernation, plants to plant …. the fun is just beginning!

The sunny March weather has been most welcome by us gardeners as well as to bees and wildlife in general. I’m afraid that I haven’t been able to make the most of the fine weather in my garden as I have been snowed under helping clients with their gardens, I have to steal an hour here and there for my own garden. But it was in the sunshine of a client’s garden that I was told of a 16th century saying “a peck of March dust is worth a king’s ransom” (a peck was a dry measure of two gallons) – an interesting thought.

Another quote, this time from Victoria Glendinning “The test of a good gardener is ruthlessness” (said to be Rita Sackville-West’s quote) – this is something I see all the time and definitely something for us to ponder on!