One of my bugbears around Chelsea time are the naysayers proclaiming the gardens are unrealistic and impossible to recreate at home. You know what I always say to that? Poppycock! (Incidentally, what is a ‘poppycock’ or am I best not asking?) Continue reading 15 sensational plant combinations you can try at home from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017
The Chelsea Flower Show is nuts. People on stilts dressed only in flowers, cactus jackets, astro turf lions, stands of rare plants grown to utter perfection by collectors and nurseries, every millimetre of gardens designed and fussed over, landscaping built in a week to be knocked down a week later, flowers arranged into hats… Continue reading 23 things at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017
There are some garden designers we see at RHS shows regularly. James Basson is one that came on my radar in 2015 with his naturalistic, authentic style that really stood out from the gloss of the rest of the show. Like a fine wine, at first I was unsure if I liked the style but I have grown to truly love it. Continue reading James Basson’s road to ‘best in show’ at Chelsea Flower Show 2017
It’s hard to take in the brain blitz that is the Chelsea Flower Show in one day – particularly when you keep bumping into Joanna Lumley and Mary Berry – so I’ll reserve full thoughts for later blog posts. Please check back in the week for design and plant picks. For now, I thought I’d quickly share some highlights from the press day today. Continue reading RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017 – Press Day Highlights
May? Mayhem more like. So much is going on this month I feel like Dorothy whizzing around in a plant filled whirlwind. Different gardens I designed in winter are coming to fruition now, Chelsea’s next week and our open day is somehow only 8 weeks away! Continue reading Pot’s Growing On in May: getting ready for a show-stopping summer!
Note: since the day I published this the heavens opened dumping over 4cm of water in 72 hours in south London. So for us at least, crisis averted. No more hose pipe ban worries for the time being – now its slug war.
It has barely rained in London now for six weeks. The soil in my garden, allotment and my clients’ gardens is like dust, on the surface and inches down. Plants are hanging on thanks to the cooler nights without supplemental water but barely. My mind is turning to what will happen when the weather hots up for summer. Continue reading Dry winter and spring, what does it mean for summer?
In a few weeks the above Chelsea grounds will be filled with the wonders of the plant world. This year will be my fourth visit to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show – hard to believe. It’s an interesting milestone by which I can measure my advancement in garden design. Continue reading RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017 – what to expect?
[Warning: major plant geekage ahead] One of the best things to happen over the last year has been meeting people who love plants as much as I do; who get why it’s so exciting to discover a plant you’ve not seen before, to understand how it grows and why. Even better, I’ve met people who know far more than me about plants and, like a naughty school boy, I feel mischievous hanging out with the experts who introduce me to deep secrets of the plant world. Continue reading Plantaholics Anonymous
I made a painfully short trip to RHS Wisley at lunch today in between visiting nurseries sourcing plants for my clients’ gardens – it’s looking stunning right now. Better than I’ve seen it before and very exciting for the year ahead. If you can, get down there this weekend, if not here is a tiny snapshot of what you’ll see. Continue reading RHS Wisley in late April
This blog post was originally titled “education = better vegetation” but the new rhyme is more appropriate. Last week I found out I passed my RHS Level 3 Certificate in Garden Planning, Construction and Planting with commendations. Continue reading The liberation of education
I didn’t think there would be anything more nerve-wracking than having Monty Don coming around to see our garden expecting it to look finished. But then, I hadn’t reckoned on opening our garden on the National Open Garden Scheme (NGS). Continue reading Pot’s Growing On: winners and losers
It’s year two for my allotment and the layout I created for it originally is really working. The beds have been easy to keep weed free with weed suppressant membrane and rotating crops is a doddle. Everything is planted in little rows in a simple structure, the paths have nice grass along them now. With each weekend it’s all starting to feel neater and a step closer to how I want it. Continue reading Allotment Month 17: dahlias, prairie and produce
Bright flowers of Tulips – sumptuous blobs of paint on an artist’s palette. Continue reading Tulip flux
If you’re anything like me, you’ll be wondering how on earth it’s April when you thought it was still January while looking at spent Daffodils unsure of how you missed them. Well, the signs are here – spring has sprung and it sprunged faster than ever here in London. It’s time to get outside and enjoy the season before it passes us all by. Continue reading Spring-a-ling-a-ling
being thrown head first heading into my second season on the allotment and this year, my mind has turned to my stomach. Quite a different mindset to last year’s “must grow everything possible! Yay!” approach. I’ve actually come up with the below formula to decide what to grow, which I thought would be helpful to share: Continue reading 7 easy pickings for grow your own keenos
One tip I’d like to share is: do not visit more than two gardens in one day otherwise the third will inevitably have the least of your attention. This is what happened when we stumbled upon Le Jardin Secret on our last day in Marrakesh. Continue reading Marrakesh (Part Five): Le Jardin Secret by Tom Stuart-Smith
Today I’m talking surprise appearances, broccoli and rhubarb starting to crop, my new cut flower bed is underway, only a small moan about problems and a little froggy friend. Continue reading Allotment Month 16: surprise, surprise
It’s been niggling me for yonks: people calling Lupins “cottage garden” plants. Continue reading Who died and made Lupins a ‘cottage garden’ plant?
There’s one thing I will guarantee right now: you are going to see many more green flowers this year. In magazines, on TV and at the design shows. For gardeners it’s like we’ve discovered a new seam of Jade, luminous gems that really do grow on trees. Continue reading Let’s make green flowers our naughty little secret
I’ve been feeling a lot of pressure recently for our garden to look good. In photos, in person and increasingly stressing whether it will be good enough for our NGS open days, it’s weighing on my mind. Continue reading Release the stress, embrace the mess
Winter is a fresh season. Everything is stripped back, cleansed and reset for the coming year. It’s a time when bold architecture comes to the fore, as the below 30 photos gathered on mine and Chris’ travels around London this winter testify. Continue reading 30 unreal photos of London garden design in the dead season
I recently learnt that one colony of our rare native Pasque flower, Pulsatilla vulgaris, was wiped out in 1992 by someone dumping rubble on it. Life is so fragile. Continue reading And so, we fight
In 2017 we are opening our garden on the National Open Garden Scheme to raise money for care charities – the more people who come on the days the more we raise! Continue reading Visit 2 Littlebury Road
Our garden is into its fourth year now and I’m continuing to play around with things, add new plants and the colour palette is slowly evolving. I’m excited about ‘the big grow’ this year and new plants being started from seed across February and March. Continue reading Pot’s Growing On: Waking from hibernation
Jardin Majorelle is best known today for being owned by Yves Saint Lauren, who famously saved it in the 1980s from both disrepair and developers building a hotel on the site. It was made however by a French artist called Jacques Majorelle who began creating this unique garden and house in the 1940s. Continue reading Marrakesh (Part Four): Jardin Majorelle
The second oldest garden we visited was by far the most visually arresting of designs. It is immaculate and inspirational. Yet it is marred by a multifaceted dark past which I find hard to ignore. Built around 1867, you will never forget a visit to the beautiful Bahia Palace. Continue reading Marrakesh (Part Three): Islamic tiled courtyards at Bahia Palace
I’ve wanted to visit Marrakesh for about ten years, drawn by its bright colours. What I hadn’t appreciated is its rich gardening culture, as popular today as it was in the city’s ancient past. The oldest garden we visited on our trip was that of the five hundred year old El Badi Palace next to the Riad Badi in which we stayed. It’s enormous. Continue reading Marrakesh (Part Two): blown away by ancient Islamic garden design at the El Badi Palace
Over the last year I’ve been thinking of creating an app that uses people’s smartphone geolocation to tag every plant (and eventually living being) on the planet but it looks like Apple has beaten everyone to the punch in a really amazing and exciting way. Continue reading Will Apple images save planet Earth?
My overwhelming impression of Marrakesh in Northern Africa is of a city greener than expected, filled with stray cats, colour and people on scooters who don’t care about mowing you down. Continue reading Marrakesh (part one): beautiful and bonkers, on the urban garden trail in the red city