Category Archives: Public gardens

Visiting other gardens is one of the best ways to expand your gardening and garden design knowledge, and to gain inspiration. Here are some photo blogs of the ones I’ve been to.

Plantaholics Anonymous

[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

Marrakesh (Part Four): Jardin Majorelle

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

Marrakesh (Part Three): Islamic tiled courtyards at Bahia Palace

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

Marrakesh (Part Two): blown away by ancient Islamic garden design at the El Badi 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

Crossrail Place Roof Garden, Canary Wharf

At the weekend my Instagram buddy lamaisonbleue tipped me off to the fact the Crossrail Place Roof Garden at Canary Wharf had opened. Despite the construction of this £500 million station being heavily featured on TV (for its genius balances and weights to deal with changing temperatures in weather) I’d somehow missed its grand unveiling. Chris and I rushed to the scene on Sunday to check it out.  Continue reading Crossrail Place Roof Garden, Canary Wharf

Landscape design at Stowe Garden in Buckinghamshire

Back in November Chris and I had the opportunity to spend a sunny Autumn afternoon at Stowe in Buckinghamshire (a short drive from where I grew up). I can’t say we fell in love with the place but it’s an interesting exercise in seeing and experiencing first-hand the fundamental building blocks of landscape garden design. Continue reading Landscape design at Stowe Garden in Buckinghamshire

Library of Birmingham’s rooftop secret garden and futuristic municipal design

My mum and I share the same birthday, bonfire night. We love it, so Chris and I drove up to Yorkshire to enjoy it with my family. On the way home we had to stop in Birmingham and woke to a sunny winter morning shining light on one of the most creative, greenest and modern art packed city centres we’ve seen for a while.  Continue reading Library of Birmingham’s rooftop secret garden and futuristic municipal design

Autumn colour in Diana Ross’ garden

We were really taken with plantswoman Diana Ross’ stunning garden around the corner in Clapham when we visited on the NGS in September. We’ve stayed in touch since and I popped back last week to see the beautiful autumn colours. Filled with Miscanthus and Calamagrostis, Melianthus, Sambucus, a mature Clerodendron, an eye catching purple vine and a lot more. I’ll let the pictures do the talking in the below gallery (click to enlarge).  Continue reading Autumn colour in Diana Ross’ garden

Apple iTree: the botanical trend reaches new heights with Ficus maclellandii ‘Alii’

This week Apple reopened its flagship London store on Regent Street after months of renovations to reveal the focal point as none other than indoor pot plants on a gargantuan scale. An indoor avenue of twelve Ficus maclellandii ‘Alii’. Continue reading Apple iTree: the botanical trend reaches new heights with Ficus maclellandii ‘Alii’

Brighton’s futuristic municipal planting

I don’t know what they put in the water down in Brighton (where I work) but I suspect it’s either Maxigrow or – more likely – homemade organic comfrey tea. The public parks around the city are filled with adventurous and sustainable plant communities that look ripped from the pages of a design magazine, especially around the Skate Park. Continue reading Brighton’s futuristic municipal planting

Lambeth Palace Gardens

As part of the RHS Level 3 course we have to learn about different garden design eras, one of which is medieval. Lambeth Palace, the London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, has an 11 acre site that has been cultivated since the 15th Century in medieval times. Unfortunately, though understandably, none of those elements remain. In place is an extravagant site with interesting plays on plantings. The gravel garden felt Mediterranean and has given me ideas for our own garden (I’ll always associate gravel like that with my first visit to East Ruston Old Vicarage). In particular, to my eye, the stand out features right now are some simple but beautiful experiments with grass. Continue reading Lambeth Palace Gardens

24 Things at the Chelsea Flower Show 2016

This is my third year at the Chelsea Flower Show and it remains an emotional experience. Excitement, inspiration. Admiration for the designers. Threaded with regret for my wasted years of not focussing on garden design. Only counterbalanced by a tiny sparkle of hope from the RHS education programme that tells me it’s not too late. Continue reading 24 Things at the Chelsea Flower Show 2016

PHOTO GALLERY: Barbican Conservatory, London

Brutalist, futurist. Despite the concrete, the Barbican exudes such atmosphere and style that you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped into an alternative reality. This is a place where plants have been used to transform one of the worst looking buildings into something very special indeed. The Barbican is part Gardens of Babylon, part video game. Continue reading PHOTO GALLERY: Barbican Conservatory, London

Rousham: getting to the heart of landscape garden design

As I arrived at Rousham, the single other visitor was leaving and I had the entire place to myself for the duration. The only people I saw were two of the gardeners quietly weeding and pruning in the walled garden, and (I think) the lady of the house walking her dog (other dogs not allowed, understandably). Continue reading Rousham: getting to the heart of landscape garden design

Photo Gallery: My favourite garden design inspiration from my travels

This gallery contains a selection of my favourite garden design from 2014 and 2015. Photos are from the last two Chelsea Flower Shows, Sissinghurst, Nyman’s, Great Dixter, RHS Wisley, Kew Gardens, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Cragside, Biddulph Grange, Sky Garden, Garden Museum, various local NGS gardens, Regent’s Park and random locations in London and Brighton. I hope you find it all as inspirational as I do. Continue reading Photo Gallery: My favourite garden design inspiration from my travels