Tag Archives: Garden design

15 sensational plant combinations you can try at home from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017

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

23 things at 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

James Basson’s road to ‘best in show’ at 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

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017 – Press Day Highlights

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

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

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

Out of the shrubbery into the scrub

On Saturday 26th November 2016 the SGD hosted a conference about the use of shrubs in gardens. I went along hoping to learn the names of some of the multi-stemmed specimen shrubs / small trees we often see in show gardens. Which I did, before the day turned into a rallying cry to designers to think again about shrubs and break free from the New Perennial Movement (which focuses primarily on the use of perennials and grasses). Continue reading Out of the shrubbery into the scrub

Living on a prairie (part 1)

This year I took on my allotment and I designated one bed for garden design experiments. Deeply inspired by Planting in a Post Wild World and then seeing that principle in action at Nigel Dunnet’s design in the Barbican I’m focussing on creating a plant community with drought tolerant plants and grasses. I’ve grown everything from seed or plugs as I do with all plants to fully understand them. So this year it’s (as expected I should add) looking quite bare… Continue reading Living on a prairie (part 1)

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

Form factor – our garden in June 2016

The best thing I’ve added to our border this year (I think so far) is Nicotiana alata ‘Lime Green’ – it hasn’t even flowered yet, it’s the leaves. I had no idea the leaves would be so plump and large. In amongst all of the smaller leaved plants, they’ve added the necessary contrast in leaf form our border was missing. As they say, the best things in gardening happen by mistake. I’ve tried to capture this in this photo: Continue reading Form factor – our garden in June 2016

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: 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