Archive for the ‘garden design’ Category

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
‘Mount Fuji’

to mention a few…

Garden design – Bath

Monday, April 25th, 2016

New garden design challenge, a 10 metre drop and 4 south facing terraces. We are planning a formal layout with Mediterranean style plants which when viewed from the house will work as a whole, a bit like a painting.

Wind swept garden

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

I am working on an exciting yet challenging project – a front line sea-side garden at Burton Bradstock in Dorset.  Last year I visited the site on a lovely summers day, this week when I returned, storm Imogen lashed at the sea and land alike, it was good to be reminded of the power of nature.

I have yet to start the planting plan however I do not foresee any large plants in the front garden, although there is an existing 1.1 metre high wall to provide a tiny degree of shelter. To add to my challenge, there are rabbits on site too!

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.

Pub garden

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

Last autumn I designed a pub garden, the brief changed many times as did the budget, eventually I only worked on the concept and planting.  I planted in April this year, in fact the budget was so tight I even raised  a lot of the plants myself.  Yesterday I was passing by and was delighted to see how established the planting is  looking, it struck me that the strong organic shape of the paths had a hint of Oudolf Meadow about them  (Piet Oudolf’s new garden at Hauser and Wirth near Bruton)!

Wildlife garden progressing well – Devon

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

One year on in the build, two years on in the design and we are almost ready for planting.  The garden has been levelled, using low retaining stone walls, into 4 separate gardens based on the original slope of site.  A rill garden, a canal and an upper pool garden will all be enclosed with yew hedging this autumn.  The majestic kitchen garden lime mortar walls are almost finished.  There are many beautiful details in the stonework in this garden and a huge boulder serves as a stepping stone through the canal via the central axis path.

This is a wildlife garden designed for low maintenance and low impact on the environment.  The canal already attracts swallows, they create stunning acrobatic displays as they swoop down and drink from the canal.  All the pools have egress points for the creatures it may attract.  The kitchen garden walls have nesting holes built into them, all the other walls have recessed pointing to encourage plants to grow in them and to offer shelter to small creatures.  Lime mortar  is used throughout.  Lawns will be planted with daisy and Prunella and cut less frequently than most lawns.  There will be trees and hedges which are beneficial to wildlife on so many different levels and borders will be planted with plants providing a long season  pollen and nectar.

Months of hard work have gone into this garden already by an excellent team of builders.  The design of the garden is the result of a partnership between myself and my client – a very exciting project.

Building the garden – Devon

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

This garden is progressing well after the wet weather halted work between December and February.

Early stages of the rill garden in October 2013

The rill garden in May 2014 awaits the custom welded liner.  Steel edged beds will be planted with pleached Malus.

Water 2 – the eye of the landscape

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

Water is the eye of the landscape” this is what my lecturer Peter Thoday used to tell us. Reservoirs, lakes, rivers, the sea and even our small garden ponds; they never fail to demand our attention, their magical surfaces reflecting the moods of the weather and the shifting shadows of the surrounding landscape. Up close we are drawn to peer into the depths or maybe indulge in a bit of wild swimming.

This medium, the source of life on our blue planet, can be manipulated endlessly to create sound, habitat, irrigation, etc… and the garden at Shute House ( Donhead St Mary, near Shaftesbury) illustrates this rather well.

It was at Shute House that I found myself on a winding path through a lush grove of Camelia and Prunus laurocerassus which opened onto a deep circular pool, squeezing me and the path up against the overhanging greenery. The crystal water was deep with hints of turquoise as it disappeared from view.

In the 1960′s, garden designer, Geoffrey Jellicoe used the water from this spring fed pool, weaving it around the modest sized garden in the form of pools, canals, musical waterfalls and rills before releasing it out of the garden through two more pools in the water meadow below and eventually into the river Nadder at the bottom of the valley. An ingenious use of a natural water source in a hillside garden and described by many as Jellicoe’s ‘masterpiece’.

Be inspired! Water in the garden does not have to rely on a natural spring or stream, nor on a pumped system from the mains tap.  It falls freely from the sky, can be captured and used in our gardens creatively.  Nigel Dunnett, of Sheffield University, designs with rainwater to create  “rain gardens”, magical!

Garden under construction – Devon

Friday, December 6th, 2013

The recent spell of dry weather has allowed Dave and his team to make good progress on this exciting project.  It is a year since I started work on the plans, now plants have been lifted, the site cleared, top soil and subsoil relocated into neat mounds nearby, all the marking out is done plus some of the leveling, the concrete foundations for the rill, pools, canal and upper pool are in, the topiary and pleached hedges  have been chosen…. 

During my site visit earlier this week a JCB gently hummed away as it excavated trenches for new yew hedges, blocks were being laid for the rills closeby and lazer levels beeped at all corners of the gardens ensuring the design is implemented to +/- 3mm precision.


Glorious summer borders, Shepton Mallet

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Bright colours, exciting shapes and textures looking good in the sunshine.  Planted 18 months ago, these beds are laid out in a grid of beds which act as an informal division between a small orchard and vegetable garden.  The beds provide a long season of colour and interest from spring right through into the winter months.