Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Poppies - Tower of London

This may not be classed as Garden design but to me it is a beautiful and moving piece of art in the landscape.
With the sun shining on this sea of poppies that run all the way around the castellations it is overwhelming to think how many people died in the war.
The pictures speak for themselves....

Poppies, land art, garden design, London, tower of London, landscape

Poppies, land art, garden design, London, tower of London, landscape

Poppies, land art, garden design, London, tower of London, landscape

Poppies, land art, garden design, London, tower of London, landscape

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Sheffield Park - East Sussex

What a fabulous Indian summer we are having, perfect for venturing out and about. The light at this time of year is beautiful and enhances the russet tones of the autumn landscape. The only issue being that all this dry weather is turning the leaves more towards brown than the yellows and reds one might hope for.

A great place to see autumn colour is Sheffield Park, a Nation Trust garden near Haywards Heath in Sussex. I took a trip there but rather than exploring the formal gardens I strolled through the surrounding park and woodland. Having visited the gardens a few times before it was nice to see the area from different perspective, plus I had Charlie my dog with me and unfortunately he was refused entry to the main gardens.

Often when walking around these beautiful landscapes it is easy to be in awe of the larger picture and not pay attention to the detail. However, when you get up close there is a whole other world of beauty in these places. The rose hips and berries are looking amazing this year and when you get up close the seed-heads of flowers and grasses are like delicate works of art. I also took note of the old brick built dam, still working perfectly after all these years.

As I mentioned, I have been to Sheffield Park before and thought I would share some of my previous highlights with you. It especially good for Acers and specimens trees with beautiful autumn colour

Monday, 4 August 2014

Hampton Court Flower Show

It may have been a few weeks ago but there was so much inspiration at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show that I thought it was was worth sharing some of the pictures I took.

If you can't make it the show it is worth visiting Hampton Court for the gardens themselves. I took a peak as we walked through to enter the show and the herbaceous borders looked amazing.

The great thing about Hampton is there is lots of inspiration for smaller gardens. These are some of my highlights from the show gardens.

My favourite garden used some traditional materials in a modern way to create a contemporary garden that was softer and more interesting than some of the minimal gardens that have been in fashion.

Another feature of Hampton is the 'conceptual' gardens. Some people are unsure of this section as they find the gardens abstract and can't picture the elements in their own gardens. You need to approach this area of the show with a different outlook; I look at them as works of art rather than gardens that I would want in my own private space.

If it's plants and colour you like then you may find these inspiring. It was interesting to see that more colour is now being used in the planting schemes.

I have to say I am rather a fan of the water rill in a garden; it is a good way to add gentle and peaceful water to a space and can work to both divide and unify two areas or spaces. This was an interesting take on the age old water feature.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Alfriston Clergy House - Sussex

A trip to the countryside revealed a little gem of a house and garden. This place is special as it was the first property to be purchased by the National Trust. The original part of the house dates back to 1350. The gardens however, have changed throughout the years and are a miss-mash of different periods as different inhabitants have altered them to suit there needs.

The gardens are not big or grand and are therefor good inspiration for a family or medium sized garden. They have a relaxed, cottage feel to them; tumbling roses in pastel colours swamp the front of the garden in a mass of gentle scent and flowers. A perennial sweet pea clambers over the flint wall by the doorway. These sweet peas are easy to grow and very vigorous, perfect near a bench as they smell lovely in the warmth of a summer day.

The space is used as a working garden that would have supplied fruit and vegetables for the house. A traditional kitchen garden not only supplies food but looks lovely too! Just remember they take a fair amount of work to maintain but the rewards can be worth it.

Although this garden has a mainly cottage feel to it with soft flowing planting and a kitchen garden, it also has some formality to its layout. This is important when creating this style of garden as many of the plants will die back in the winter leaving the structure as the main point of interest.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Chelsea Flower Show

Since I was young I have attended the Chelsea Flower show as often as I can. I remember my excitement and a pivotal moment in my life when my Grandmother got permission to take me out of school for the day to travel to London and see my first flower show. Ever since then I have been fascinated by using plants and the landscape as an art form.
It is a great place to get inspiration for garden design. This year I found new landscaping materials, new plants and some fabulous ideas I can't wait to use in a design.

Here are some of my favourite gardens and a few ideas I picked up this year:

Best for colour - Positively Stoke-on-Trent

This was up there with the Help for Heroes garden as my two favourite gardens. I thought the colours in the planting were absolutely stunning and so well put together. Starting with cool whites at one end and as you walk down the garden the shades start to turn to dusky pinks and culminate in an rich, velvety mass of sumptuous reds and deep colours at the far end. The only issue being that one could never have all of these plants together in a real garden as they would not normally flower at the same time or grow in the same conditions. I suppose this is the beauty and the downfall of Chelsea, it is pure magic.
Take a look at the decking in this garden too; it shows you that decking doesn't always have to be laid in a boring square.

Best for elegance - The Telegraph Garden

Normally I would award this title to the Laurent-Perrier gardens but this year it was the Telegraph garden that excited me more.
Again there is some Chelsea magic in this garden, the box balls in the lawn are going to be a nightmare to cut around but they do look lovely. Simple, fluffy planting punctuated with the clipped balls and splashed with blue and lime green, an elegant paving choice and a cool shaded area to enjoy a G&T or glass of champagne completes this garden as one of the most useable as well as beautiful.

Most on-trend - Fabric

To me this garden was trying a little to hard, antlers and checked wall paper seem to have been in every interiors magazine this year and in-fact in my own house but does it work as an exterior space?

Most conceptual and artistic - Garden Museum

I love conceptual spaces and gardens that tell a story. It was a modern interpretation of a Wardian case that was used in the 19th century by plant hunters. As much as I love a story and concept I still want the finished product to be beautiful too. Is this beautiful to is in the eye of the beholder?

Most interesting - Help for Heroes

I would say this garden just makes it as my favourite garden of the show and I must be doing something right as it was also the people's choice, winning the RHS Peoples's Choice Award.
The grey stone columns are set of beautifully by soft fluffy grasses and blue and purple planting. The pants were mostly plants that would work in a normal garden and the simple layout and central avenue all worked to create a pleasing space.

Some other highlights from the show:

Dark colours as a backdrop - 


Alan Titchmarsh's look back over his 50 year career-