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
Early March has arrived and I popped over to Diana Ross’ house around the corner from us again to see her garden at the start of the year. A perfect still, sunny day on this the first week of spring proper. Continue reading The way of things
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
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
Month 13: my allotment has expanded a bit this year as I’ve taken on some unused adjacent plot. This is thick with grass and other weeds so I’m using weed suppressant membrane to bring it under control with less effort. It may not look pretty, but it works. Continue reading Allotment: weed suppressant membrane – beating weeds organically
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
Last year I grew a set of seven different potato cultivars and only really liked one of them, ‘Jazzy’. So, tonight I asked my Twitter buddies which potatoes they recommend and I was inundated with amazing suggestions! There are some clear winners, namely ‘Charlotte’ which everyone recommended and ‘Anya’ / ‘Pink Fir Apple’. Below is the full list with links to the Twitter accounts of those who recommended them. Continue reading The best potatoes to grow
The short period in between Christmas and New Year is something to be treasured. All of London is empty of people; either in their homes or having left the capital to visit family. The air now chill with winter. Continue reading Happy New Year from Littlebury Road