If you’re going to be one of the 130,00 visitors to The Hampton Court Palace Flower Show this year, I thought you’d like a little preview so you can plan your visit. The show-ground covers 34 acres, so you’ll need comfortable shoes. I love the back-drop of the Palace, and since there are places to […]
It’s easy to stay inside tucked up by the fire at this time of year, but since it’s so mild at the moment I’d like to encourage you to venture out into the garden to do some gardening. It’s just the right time to give your garden a treat by spreading a layer of mulch over the soil. This […]
The garden at Great Dixter in East Sussex is probably one of the most famous gardens in the world. It was the family home of gardener and garden writer Christopher Lloyd, who dedicated his life to the garden and made great changes to the planting. Most of the garden’s original lay-out was designed by Edwin Lutyens for Christopher Lloyds’ […]
Tucked away behind this beautiful Tudor house in Coggeshall, Essex, is a simple but charming garden. The garden is divided into three distinct areas. The first section near the house has a handsome, herringbone brick path leading through to a lawned area. This style of path works so well with the Tudor building. There are plenty of […]
The striking foliage of these two plants combined together make a dramatic picture. The bright green plant is a grass called Hakonechloe macra Alboaurea, it makes a nice edging to a path and fills in the lower level, reaching just 40cm tall. It likes a moist, but well drained soil and will grow in sun or part […]
A well-sited garden bench is a great thing to have in any garden. Preferably it’ll be weatherproof and in a permanant position, that way it’ll be easy and convenient to have a seat and enjoy your surroundings. This stone bench is perfect for the job, it’ll just need a quick wipe-down after rain, and it’s partially enclosed by plants […]
Most gardeners who grow vegetables consider their plots to be attractive, though sometimes beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the rest of us can’t quite see it. Then there are vegetable gardens that are unquestionably beautiful. The vegetable garden at Woolbeding in West Sussex falls in to the latter category. It’s highly […]
The Floral Marquee at The Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is a wonderful sight, I only wish I could share the scent too. It’s choc full of specialist nurseries and is a great place to seek out new types of plants and unusual varieties, I think it’s rather nice to a few plants in your garden that are […]
There’s something rather indulgent about visiting a garden show when it’s hot and sunny and all the exhibitors are busy working to a dead-line. Such a lot of hard work is involved, but as always, they pulled it off and everything looked sparkling and in tip-top condition ready for Press Day yesterday. There are some […]
After a busy few months culminating in a few weeks of hectic activity, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is over for this year. There were lots of inspiring gardens in all sorts of sizes, here in no particular order, are a few of them with ideas that you may like to use in your garden. Regular […]
There were plenty of interesting sights at The Chelsea Flower Show this week to take my mind off the chilly weather. This is one of the gardens that I found myself taking lots of photos of and standing for ages to contemplate all the subtle details in it. It’s been designed by Christopher Bradley Hole and is inspired by three […]
After blogging about the progress of Andrew Wilson and Gavin McWilliam’s show garden for the past 10 weeks, the Chelsea Flower Show week has finally arrived and their garden was unveiled. What a transformation, from this rather scruffy patch of land just a few days ago to this beautiful space: Here’s Gavin doing a bit of tweaking before the […]
Over the past 9 weeks I’ve been lucky enough to observe the progress of the plans for Andrew Wilson and Gavin McWilliams’ show garden for this years Chelsea Flower Show. It was a hive of activity to day when I went along to see how it was all going with just 4 days to go before it’s revealed […]
Picture a garden in summer sunshine with lots of birdsong, the gentle buzz of bumble bees and healthy, pretty plants. Apart from the lovely song, birds in the garden will eat up all sorts of pests that attack your plants and we need bees to pollinate fruit and flowers. So we need to encourage […]
I took this picture on a visit to a garden in France called Orsan, it sums up a perfect image of style and symmetry, and although it’s carefully planned, it manages to look so effortless. I like the contrast of the rough stone with the neat clipped vines enclosed in a frame… I plan to use […]
The Plants The weather is finally warming up, we have sunshine and longer days, which is just what’s needed for the plants with just five weeks to go to the Chelsea Flower Show. Andrew Wilson and Gavin McWilliam’s concept for their show garden is a space of rugged, textural quality, with aspects that provide […]
A well chosen background colour in a garden can make the difference between plants that look quite good and plants that look outstanding. The choice of colour also influences the atmosphere, red brings energy into a garden, whilst softer colours are more calming and restful. Wall colours can be soft and rather muted, like the one here that […]
Creating a show garden, how the process begins. The countdown for Andrew Wilson and Gavin McWilliams’ garden for the 2013 Chelsea Flower Show continues. There are 9 weeks to go now before the garden is completed, but the journey began way back last year. Once the decision was made to enter a garden […]
March is always an interesting month, it can be bitterly cold with sharp winds one day, or bright and sunny the next, but it’s my birthday at the begining of the month, so I always look forward to it. What to do in the garden, such as deciding when to plant seeds outside * can […]
It’s felt a lot like it’s still winter recently, but I think it’s time to celebrate Spring and plant up some containers. Green, yellow and white are classic spring colours, making a fresh, bright picture, beautifully enhanced by the olive green background. Use different shades of plant and flower colour, but stick to just three so it doesn’t […]
It’s a well known fact that in spring most keen gardeners thoughts turn to buying plants. Easter weekend is one of the busiest ones of the whole year for garden centres, so if you’re tempted to go plant shopping, here’s some helpful information. I’ve written a lot about having a list of plants that will do well […]
Imagine sunshine, a perfect blue sky and lush green lawns covered with tents housing some of the best speciaist nurseries in the country and all within a top class garden. This is the Wisley Flower Show, a regular feature of late summer at Wisley gardens in Surrey. It’s a chance to chat to knowledgable plant growers, […]
The Olympics and now the Paralympics have been such a positive experience, enjoyed by so many of us in one way or another. I’ve never been a particularly sporty type, but I was impressed by the Olympic Park when I visited last year, despite it still being a building site at that stage. […]
A greenhouse can make your life as a gardener much easier and more enjoyable, but unless you’re lucky enough to have a larger garden where it can be hidden away, it’s got to be stylish too. I have to admit that I learned this the hard way. Eight years ago I bought a plain, metal […]
I don’t rely on flower colour as the main-stay of planting designs, but there’s no doubt that an injection of flower colour, as late summer approaches, brings a fresh look to your garden.
One of the Concept Gardens at this years Hampton Court Show, ‘Light at the end of the tunnel’, had a very compelling quality about it. The mix of materials and planting was very succesful, but it was the story behind it’s conception that made it so interesting. It was inspired by Matthew Childs’ experience of being injured […]
You may wonder what you have to do to shine above all the other show gardens at Hampton Court to win the title of ‘best in show’. Designed by Anoushka Feiler, the title of the garden is Bridge Over Troubled Water. The bridge represents the journey to freedom from the condition of Overactive Bladder, the plants […]
The R.H.S. Hampton Court Palace Flower Show doesn’t open untill the 3-8 July, but I went along this morning for a little preview. The Showground is busy with exibitors putting the finishing touches to their show gardens, nurseries setting up in the Floral marquee and the judges scrutinising the gardens. Medal winners are announced tomorrow evening. This […]
Keeping your garden looking lovely can take up lots of time, and summer is when plants can be time consuming. So here’s a peek into my garden in Surrey, England and how I keep things looking nice with minimal effort. This photo shows clipped, round Box plants featuring all year round as the star performers, with other smaller plants coming and going […]
June is the time of year when you can sit back, smell the roses and enjoy your garden, well it would be if it stopped raining. Apart from the weather, the other thing that stops people relaxing in the garden is the constant work that always seems to need doing.
In the midst of all the big show gardens and fabulous plants at the Chelsea Flower Show, there are always a few small details that catch my eye. These are the little gems that look good and give your garden, whether large or small, a bit of personality.
It was about 17 years ago that I tentatively began a garden design for my very first clients in south London. I have to admit to being very nervous starting out all those years ago, but I knew, even then, how important it was to listen to them and interpret their needs to create […]
I hope you’ve all had a lovely, long weekend, and although we’ve had lots of rain, I’ve been thinking about the recent hose-pipe ban. Wouldn’t life be a lot easier if we didn’t need to use hose-pipes in our gardens? I know how frustrating it can be to coax plants through hot, dry weather with […]
There’s nothing quite like the warm spring weather we’ve had recently in the south-east of England to encourage anticipation of the gardening year ahead, so this seems like a good time to tell you about a colour trend that’s been popping up in gardens recently.
It’s difficult to spot exactly when trends in the gardening world change, there’s always talk of the latest trends at The Chelsea Flower each year, but recently there’s also been much talk of the 2012 Olympics bringing the naturalistic prairie-planting style to the attention of the public.
Have you been affected by the storms in the UK during the last week, or were you able to view the TV footage from the safety and comfort of your armchair?
Generally winter flowers are quite small, sometimes they pack a punch of welcome perfume, but are nonetheless quite unobtrusive in size. How nice then to have flowers at this time of year that are a decent size, the type more usually associated with Spring.
A garden is made up of lots of different elements, paths, lawns, seats, sheds etc., most people see plants as just the decorative part of a garden, the icing on the cake.
Some of my favourite garden from Hampton court this year.
Spending time in green spaces is good for all of us, better still when it’s your own private space where you can create your own little oasis of peace and privacy.
Plants are changing on a daily basis now, it’s easy to get carried away with the sight of all the beautiful spring flowers that are around at the moment, especially after such a harsh winter. But, lovely though they are, there’s a lot more to plants than colourful flowers ….. so, pause for a moment, […]
I had a lovely time recently giving a Talk to the W.I. ladies in Wimbledon about: ‘How to choose the right plants for your garden’ It’s a puzzle for most gardeners, and can take lots of time and money, so it’s important to get the plants right so they’ll flourish and your garden will look […]
You may be a little sceptical if I told you that there’s one simple measure that will make a huge improvement to your garden, it’s probably the most important thing you can do right now. Whether your soil is heavy clay or light and sandy, in deep shade or bright sunshine, or a bit of both, […]
Dry, sunny spots in your garden need very specific plants, choose the wrong type of plant and it’ll grow pale and lanky, as it slowly dries out and starves. Well drained soils are usually sandy or chalky, the nutrients quickly drain away leaving the soil low in nutrients. But this needn’t be a problem, there are many plants that thrive […]
I’m really looking forward to the Gardening Talk I’m giving next Monday for the Womens Institute in Wimbledon, about how to choose the right plants for your garden. As a Garden Designer I spend a lot of time gettting the plants just right for my clients gardens, so it’s a subject that’s dear to my […]
Every garden is unique and works best of all when it’s tailor-made for the owners. This garden belongs to a delightful, retired couple who wanted to use their garden to grow fruit, vegetables and herbs, to have a shady spot to sit and enjoy lunch and are keen bird watchers, so wanted to attract birds […]
I suppose what I’ve liked most about writing a book, is the opportunity to talk about my real passion for plants. They’re so often used as mere decorative elements after the rest of the garden has been planned; in which case you (or your designer) are missing a trick, because they should be used as […]
The Chelsea Flower Show is renowned throughout the world as the most influential garden show, the gardens and plants are seen as indicators of what we will all want to plant in our gardens. There are also lots of great ideas, whatever your size of garden. It was press day on Monday, so there were lots […]