Resource

Welcome to my Resource page which I hope you will find of interest.

Here you will be able to find all sorts of useful garden design tips and advice, as well as a wide range of information of plants for seasonal interest and specific purposes, and even reviews on gardens I would recommend to visit. You can also access information on how to look after the plants in your garden at different times of the year. Simply use the search tool to find what you’re looking for.

Gardens to visit – Sheffield Park

If you’re looking for a garden to visit in the autumn, I can guarantee that Sheffield Park will be in any top 10 list for the south east of England. It’s a place that is regularly featured in the gardening press and has become a bit of a holy grail for garden visitors in search […]

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Gardens to visit – The Beth Chatto Gardens, Essex

In times of drought it’s pretty much inevitable that the gardening press turns its spotlight on the Beth Chatto Gardens, as was the case this summer. This garden was created back in the 1960s and its owners, Beth and Andrew Chatto focused entirely on using plants which they knew could thrive in the different conditions […]

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A guide to watering your garden efficiently

As we here in the UK suffer (or enjoy, depending on your outlook) a prolonged period of drought and unusually high temperatures, the gardeners amongst us have been praying for rain to keep our plants alive.  Our climate definitely seems to be changing, becoming more extreme with periods of both very wet and very dry […]

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RHS Chelsea flower show 2018 – highlights

Another year, another Chelsea Flower Show!  I was worried that it may turn out to be a disappointment like the 2017 show was, with very few of the large Show Gardens to enjoy, but the numbers were up this year and there was actually plenty to see. That said, the overall winning show garden (‘The […]

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5 essential … plants for a flowering hedge

We tend to think of hedges as plain green blocks, made up of plants such as Yew, Beech and Laurel, marking the boundaries of our beds and gardens and providing the backdrop to more interesting planting. It doesn’t have to be this way: flowering hedges can be decorative elements in their own right.  As the […]

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5 essential … plants for winter interest

In the depths of winter plants which provide structure, colour and fragrance in a garden are especially welcome. Here are a few easy plants which will offer much, if not all, of that. It isn’t just leaves and flowers that add colour to the garden – stems can do it too and those of shrubby […]

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5 essential … trees for spring blossom

Nothing lifts flagging winter spirits like the first signs of blossom on the boughs, the clouds of pink and white that follow bringing with them the first true promise of spring and a new gardening year. While the iconic blossom trees are April’s ornamental cherries, the blossom season lasts from February to early May, moving […]

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5 essential … plants for a relaxed country look

As much of my work is in country gardens around Hampshire, Surrey & Sussex, I often need to find ways to blend the plants inside the garden with those in the wider landscape beyond the garden boundaries. There are a number of plants which I use for that purpose, and also where the planting needs […]

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Chelsea Flower Show 2017 – highlights

I love my annual trip to the Chelsea Flower Show in London, exhausting though it always is! This year though I have to say it was pretty disappointing due to the reduced number of the bigger show gardens – less than half than in 2016. My main reason for going to the show is to […]

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5 essential … plants for a splash of colour!

I’ve noticed over the years that so many of my clients prefer planting schemes with cool colours – white, green, purple, blue, and maybe a dash of pink or dark red.  And classy restraint is all well and good but there’s nothing like a big splash of bold and beautiful colour to bring a garden […]

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5 essential… plants for birds over winter

Winter is a hard time for garden birds.  They need to eat a lot in order to keep warm and survive the cold nights, but falling temperatures make their regular food supplies scarce.  Putting up feeders is one solution, but many garden plants double-up as life-saving food resources for garden birds and no one has […]

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5 essential … low growing shrubs for ground cover

Whilst we often think first of perennials when looking for ground cover plants, there are many low growing shrubs that do the job quickly and effectively and that can provide a longer season of interest and more spread for your money. Cotoneasters are wonderfully versatile shrubs which can be evergreen or deciduous and vary widely […]

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5 essential … plants for winter seedheads

Even in death plants with interesting seed heads that stand well over autumn and winter manage to look strikingly beautiful especially on those rare but magical early mornings when they are coated in hoare frost and sparkle in the sun.  Not only do they look good, but their seeds provide a valuable source of food […]

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5 essential … small grasses

This month’s focus is on small grasses, a group of plants that between them provide a long season of interest, striking focal points, a wonderful foil to other plants and contrast and movement in almost any aspect and planting scheme.  At a time of year when gardens can start to lose their oomph, grasses are […]

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5 essential … plants for a tropical look

Luckily for UK gardeners who fancy going for a tropical look, steamy tropical weather is not required to achieve it.  Dramatic and contrasting foliage is the key to creating an exotic look with a long season of interest and there are both sun and shade loving plants that fit the bill.  Here are a few […]

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5 essential … evergreen shrubs to clothe a wall or fence

Many shrubs adapt very well to growing against walls and fences and, once trained in, are usually easier to manage than climbers which can quickly outgrow their allotted space.  Here are five evergreens that lend themselves very well to being wall-trained and between them provide seasonal interest throughout the year. Ceanothus (or ‘Californian lilac’) make […]

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5 essential … plants to brighten a shady corner

Many people panic when faced with shady areas to plant and seem to think ‘nothing will grow in shade’.  SO not true!  It’s a fact that flowering interest is limited by shade (mainly to spring time), but by focusing on contrasting foliage colour and textures it’s possible to create a lovely scheme for shady areas.  […]

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5 essential … plants to grow under trees

One of the trickiest places to grow plants is under trees and shrubs where moisture and light are at a premium.  Here’s a small selection of plants which are perfectly suited to this difficult environment. They say there’s a hardy Geranium for every site and Geranium maccrorhizum thrive in full shade and dry soil.  Add […]

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Designer guide to …. choosing paving stone for your garden

I have a number of garden design plans which are nearing completion at the moment and we’re getting to the tricky subject of paving choices. It really is one of the hardest decisions to make in the design and build of a new garden as there are so many factors to take into consideration, and […]

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5 essential … small evergreen plants

Evergreen plants are invaluable to give a garden some interest in the depths of winter.  And small evergreens are particularly useful to grow near paths and deciduous shrubs or trees, filling gaps in the border until spring arrives. One of the most useful (and tough) little evergreen plants you can find is Liriope muscari (or […]

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How to create the perfect winter garden

If you look at your garden in the depths of winter are you pleased with what you see?  Is it an uplifting space with lots of attractive plants, colour and scent, or a drab gloomy and boring plot which leaves you feeling totally uninspired to even venture beyond the back door? If it’s the latter, […]

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Fabulous plants for December

Who said winter is a boring time in the garden?!  There are lots of great plants which provide visual interest at this time of year, and here is just a small selection. Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’ Also known variously as ‘Black Dragon’, ‘Ebony Knight’, or ‘Arabicus’, this lilyturf is an extraordinary looking plant with arching purple-green […]

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Jobs for the garden in December

As the year draws to a close you can afford to take a bit of time off from labouring in the garden, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do!  Here are a few of the more important tasks you should be carrying out this month: Finish clearing leaves and debris, particularly from borders and […]

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Jobs for the productive garden in December

Life’s getting a bit easier now that winter is here.  Not too much hard graft to do and it’s more about clearing up and planning for next year. Kitchen Garden Prune ornamental and edible grape vines, and prune soft and tree fruits including currants, gooseberries, apples and pears (don’t be tempted to prune plum or […]

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Fabulous plants for November

All is not lost!  Although there’s no denying there isn’t as much colour and interest to enjoy in the garden at this time of year, there’s still a number of valuable plants worth considering planting.  Here’s a small selection: Fagus sylvatica Beech (Fagus sylvatica) makes a great hedge for the garden, offering interest more or […]

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Jobs for the garden in November

At this time of year gardening is largely about clearing up and protecting your garden for the winter, but November also marks the start of the tree and hedge planting season.  Here’s a quick rundown on what you could be doing this month: Prepare for winter by checking anything that is at risk of cold, […]

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Jobs for the productive garden in November

With winter approaching, there isn’t a great deal to do in the kitchen garden at this time of year, but here are a few ideas to keep you busy. Start winter pruning apple and pear trees, and fix grease bands to fruit trees to protect them against winter moth.  If you are planting new trees […]

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Horatio’s Garden – fantastic garden, fantastic cause

On a gloomy, chilly afternoon recently I headed off to Salisbury to visit a garden I have been keen to see for ages.  Tucked away in the grounds of Salisbury Hospital, between Car Park 8 and Car Park 10, is the wonderful Horatio’s Garden.  Built for patients of the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre […]

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Jobs for the garden in October

It’s time to start thinking about clearing your garden and preparing for winter.  Here are a number of jobs you can be doing this month: If you have heavy or wet soil, carry out any digging now before the ground gets too waterlogged. Rake up dead leaves to make leaf mould (put damp leaves into […]

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Fabulous plants for October

As the days grow shorter and things start to wind down in the garden world, there’s still a lot to enjoy before Autumn truly kicks in.  Here are some of my top planting recommendations for October. Verbena bonariensis If I had a pound for everyone who has told me they love Verbena bonariensis I’d be […]

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Jobs for the productive garden in October

If you are growing fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers for cutting, here’s my quick round up of what you can be doing this month. In the kitchen garden: Protect late crops such as carrots, pak choi and peas with horticultural fleece to extend their growing season and give you more produce. Leave squash and pumpkins on the […]

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Choosing spring bulbs for your cutting garden

If you’re a keen gardener you’ll no doubt appreciate that there’s rarely a time when you can kick back and forget about your garden.  Even as summer draws to a close and it feels like there’s a chance to relax, it’s already time to be preparing next year’s garden.  Spring bulbs need to be planted […]

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Fabulous plants for September

Here’s a small selection of wonderful plants I’d recommend for the garden in September.  When I drew up the shortlist I hadn’t realised that most of them hold the RHS Award for Garden Merit (AGM), but that just helps to indicate what great plants they are.  No need to just take my word for it!! Tricyrtis formosana […]

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Jobs for the garden in September

Mid to late September is an ideal time to start autumn planting as the ground is still warm, and plants should be able to establish well before winter kicks in. Clean your greenhouse & coldframes to help prevent pests over wintering, and move tender plants under cover as the night time temperatures drop. Treat perennial […]

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Jobs for the productive garden in September

My seasonal tips if you’re growing fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers for cutting CUTTING GARDEN Keep deadheading annuals and late-flowering Dahlias & Salvias to prolong flowering (and don’t forget to support them as the plants get bigger and top-heavy). Direct sow hardy annuals (such as Nigella, cornflowers and Calendula officinalis) in to the ground now […]

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Designing shade into the garden

When I’m designing gardens, possibly the most important factor to take into account before drawing up a plan is to work out which are the sunniest parts of my clients’ gardens, because that is usually where the entertaining areas go – whether for dining or just sitting outside.  With our totally unpredictably climate we do […]

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Fabulous plants for August

If you’re looking for colour in midsummer, here’s a small selection of my favourite easy plants for August Perovskia atriplicifolia This plant, commonly known as ‘Russian Sage’ is technically known as a sub-shrub, as it grows from a woody base. This is a plant that thrives in hot sunny borders with well-drained soil and it’s […]

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Jobs for the garden in August

There’s not too much to do in the garden maintenance-wise at this time of year, but it’s important to keep up with deadheading, watering and feeding to ensure as much flowering as possible for the rest of the summer.  Here’s a short list of other jobs to keep you occupied this month: HEDGES & TOPIARY […]

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Jobs for the productive garden in August

Get the most from your kitchen garden and cutting garden this month by keeping on top of your seasonal jobs CUTTING GARDEN Keep up with cutting, feeding and/or deadheading on a regular basis.  Dahlias don’t open in the vase so only cut them when the flowers are open. Collect seeds as they start to ripen, […]

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Fabulous plants for July

There are so many wonderful plants to recommend at this time of year it’s hard to draw up a short list, but here are just a few of my favourites for July interest: Clematis Fujimusume AGM Clematis have to be one of the most popular flowers grown in the UK, and rightly so. There are so many […]

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Jobs for the garden in July

Watering is key during prolonged dry spells at this time of year – and not just for your herbaceous planting.  Don’t forget to keep any eye on any recently planted trees, hedging and shrubs.  Lawns can be left (unless they were laid recently) – even if they go dry and brown, they will recover with […]

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Jobs for the productive garden in July

Lots to do in July if you’re growing fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers for cutting! CUTTING GARDEN Keep cutting Sweet peas and Cosmos regularly to encourage more flowers. KITCHEN GARDEN Cut and dry (or freeze) herbs. Cut Lavender for drying and take cuttings of woody herbs such as Lavender, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. Keep sowing salad vegetables […]

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Highlights from the 2015 RHS Chelsea Flower Show

  I went to the Chelsea Flower Show twice this year – once on Press Day and then again later in the week as a paying visitor.  Seems a bit OTT I guess, but I really enjoy going twice as both trips have their advantages.  The obvious upside to Press Day is the lack of […]

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Fabulous plants for June

It’s so hard to pick a short list of great plants to talk about in early summer, as everywhere you look there’s something worth mentioning, but here are just a handful of my favourites for now. Sanguisorba officinalis ‘Tanna’ With neat, ground-hugging clumps of attractive foliage, this burnet is smaller than many other varieties of […]

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Jobs for the productive garden in June

Here are some seasonal jobs for you to carry out this month if you’re growing fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers for cutting CUTTING GARDEN Cut sweet peas regularly to encourage more flowers.  Water well in dry spells. Plant out any hardened off annuals you’ve sown in pots – for example Calendula (Marigold), sunflowers and Nasturtium. Plan […]

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Jobs for the garden in June

Things are really taking off now so keep on top of your weeding and staking plants.  Keep a particular eye out for those really pernicious weeds such as bindweed which grow at such a rate it doesn’t take them long to take a stranglehold on your plants if you’re not careful. SHRUBS & CLIMBERS Deadhead […]

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Fabulous plants for May

This is a really exciting time of year as new plants start to emerge and gardens really come alive.  Every day seems to bring something new to admire.  These are just some of the plants I really recommend for flowers at this time of year. Omphalodes cappadocica ‘Cherry Ingram’ It may be a bit of […]

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Jobs for the productive garden in May

If you’re growing fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers for cutting, here’s a quick round-up of what you should be doing this month (subject to your local weather conditions of course!). CUTTING GARDEN If you are growing flowers to cut for the house and want something for later in the year, now is the time to […]

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Jobs for the garden in May

It’s a busy time of year with all that spring growth coming along nicely, so do your best to keep on top of things. Here’s a simple guide to the major jobs you should be carrying out in May TREES Newly planted trees need taking care of for up to 3 years after planting until […]

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Tactile & beautiful – unique works of art by Rachel Dein

I’m someone who loves to try new things and for some reason I seem to be strangely attracted to pastimes where I usually end up dirty – gardening, blacksmithing, woodwork…  Last September I was tempted by a friend to spend a day in north London on a workshop where I found myself pressing flowers, bashing […]

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Fabulous plants for April

As spring really kicks off now, woodland gardens and all their associated plants really come into their own.  Here are just some of my favourite plants for lovely April flowers. Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’  AGM This fantastically useful ground cover plant is a real bonus in early spring.  It has pretty blue forget-me-not type flowers […]

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Jobs for the garden in April

It’s starting to get busy now as plants really begin to take off.  It’s such a lovely time of year to be outside enjoying the garden – even if it can feel a bit overwhelming at times! Keep on top of hoeing and weeding, and apply mulch to weed-free moist ground if you haven’t already. […]

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Jobs for the productive garden in April

In the kitchen garden it will really be a question of keeping an eye on the weather this month, and judging when the time is right to sow seeds and plant out more tender things. Sow tender vegetables such as courgettes and French beans into small pots and then plant out when the weather improves […]

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Interesting things to do with trees …..

You may be forgiven for thinking that a tree is just a tree, but in fact it can be so much more!  These days nurseries are really getting adventurous and selling trees in many different shapes and sizes.  This is particularly useful if you want to add height to a garden but don’t have the […]

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Fabulous plants for March

As winter draws to a close, it’s always fantastic to see things stirring and a bit more colour in the garden.  Below are my selection of just a few lovely plants for early spring interest. Anemone blanda Commonly known as the winter windflower, the many shades of blue, through purple, mauve and pink to white, […]

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Jobs for the Productive garden in March

As the weather improves, it’s time to start sowing seed and really getting hands on in the productive garden. Prepare seed beds, covering the ground with clear polythene or fleece to warm the soil.  If you have a light soil you’ll be able to make a start on sowing vegetables soon (when the soil temperature […]

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Jobs for the garden in March

With signs of spring all around this is a great time to get ahead before your plants put on so much growth that it becomes difficult to get into the borders. As the temperatures start to rise the weeds will start to grow so try to keep on top of them from the start of […]

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Fabulous plants for February

Colour and flowers are at a premium at this time of year, but there are many plants offering just that in February.  Here are a few of my favourites: Acer griseum AGM Commonly known as the ‘Paperbark Maple’ (for obvious reasons!) Acer griseum is a slow-growing small, spreading tree with very attractive chestnut-brown peeling bark. […]

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Jobs for the Productive garden in February

This month it’s all about getting ready for the year ahead, pruning fruit plants and starting to sow seeds. Exciting stuff! KITCHEN GARDEN Complete any pruning of apple and pear trees and check ties to make sure they are secure and haven’t become loose in the recent winds. Prune bush fruits (currants & gooseberries) to […]

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Jobs for the garden in February

What to do in February will very much depend on weather conditions where you live, but here are a number of jobs which you can be thinking about carrying out this month. This is a great time to carry out all those general maintenance jobs that need doing – like cleaning paving and getting rid […]

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A few of my favourite things – a look back at 2014

I take hundreds and hundreds of photos during the year – of my clients’ gardens, my own garden, gardens I visit, garden shows I visit, as well as landscapes and details that take my fancy on my travels.  In fact, thinking about it I’m a bit of a garden obsessive.  Even my holiday pictures tend […]

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Fabulous plants for January

At this time of year evergreen shrubs and trees with beautiful bark are a real bonus. Here are a few my personal, tried and tested recommendations. Astelia chathamica AGM Most plants with silver foliage require sunny dry conditions to thrive (think Lavender, Perovskia, Artemesia, Convolvulus cneorum …) but Astelia chathamica by contrast is happier growing […]

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Jobs for the garden in January

A lot of what you do this month will depend on the weather, and much of that work will be about clearing up and preparing for the year ahead. If snow is forecast, and it’s possible to do this, tie in any splayed out branches of upright conifers and yew.  If you can’t manage to […]

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Jobs for the productive garden in January

Thankfully there’s not a massive amount to do at this time of year (especially when the ground is waterlogged or frozen) so it’s a good time to plan ahead for the coming year, and enjoy a rest! Winter is the ideal time to prune currant bushes to promote new stems and a good open shape. […]

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A Hampshire farmhouse garden, from start to finish

A year in the life of a newly created garden This time last year I was finalising details for the start of a large landscaping project just outside Petersfield (and handily, only 5 minutes from my office!).  Then bang on time, straight after New Year, the work started. And then it rained solidly for 3 […]

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Poppies to remember

Last weekend I was in a pretty gloomy and soggy London for the day.  We made a quick diversion to go the Tower of London to see a really inspiring installation of ceramic poppies which is taking place at the moment. It’s called ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ and was devised by artist […]

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Inspirational summer planting at Pensthorpe Park

I recently took a trip to Pensthorpe Natural Park, a place I’ve been wanting to visit for quite some time.  It’s not that I’m a closet twitcher and fancied a day birdwatching – the reason I wanted to trek to the depths of Norfolk was to see the Millennium Garden, an acre of gorgeous planting […]

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Highlights from the 2014 RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Time for my annual round up of the Chelsea Flower Show!  Bit late this year, as I just haven’t had the time up until now, but actually it’s good to take a moment to look back at the hundreds of photos I took at the time, and see what still stands out. There were 3 […]

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Buying garden sculpture – how to get it right

I don’t know about you but I love to see pieces of sculpture in a garden. They give any outdoor space an extra dimension of interest. I encourage my clients to put interesting pieces in the garden and I have some in my own patch (albeit on a pretty small scale!). There are numerous outdoor […]

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Jobs for the garden in April

It’s starting to get busy now as plants really begin to take off.  It’s such a lovely time of year to be outside enjoying the garden – even if it can feel a bit overwhelming at times! Keep on top of hoeing and weeding, and apply mulch to weed-free moist ground if you haven’t already. […]

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Design the perfect dining space for your garden

One of the best things (in my humble opinion) about a good long spell of warm weather is the opportunity to eat outside without having to put on 5 layers of clothing!   If you’re happy to plonk a chair on the lawn and balance a plate on your knee, that’s fine.  But if you really […]

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UK gardens to visit in late summer and early autumn

With the heat of summer long gone and autumn yet to start with a vengeance, you’d be forgiven for thinking there isn’t a lot of point getting out on a garden visit.  Wrong!!   So many gardens now extend their season of interest with ornamental grasses and late flowering perennials, that there’s still a lot to […]

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Sculpture gardens to enjoy and inspire

I recently posted a blog about choosing art for the garden.  And there’s no better way to get inspired than to get out and visit the myriad of sculpture gardens, trails and open air exhibitions which are on all over the UK at the moment. Whether you’re looking for a great venue for a day […]

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A simple guide to choosing outdoor art for your garden

I’m a great fan of adding art (of whatever size or form) into the garden.  Nothing pleases me more than clients asking me to create spaces in their design for a piece of art, and/or find them pieces to add to their gardens – whether that’s a contemporary piece from a gallery (bought or commissioned), […]

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Garden sculpture at its best

If sculpture is your thing, and you’re around Hampshire in the next few days then I suggest you take the opportunity to visit The Garden Gallery in Broughton, near Stockbridge. I’m a regular visitor to the gallery as I always enjoy owner Rachel Bebb’s selections of work which she exhibits every summer.  She shows of […]

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Highlights from the 2013 Chelsea Flower Show

I love my annual pilgrimage to the Chelsea Flower Show, and even though it’s a long, tiring (and this year, cold!) day, it’s just great to spend hours and hours absorbing the work of other garden designers and seeing what our specialist nurseries have to offer. 2013 has been such a difficult year weather-wise, so […]

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Growing annual flowers for summer colour

One of the quickest and cheapest ways to fill your garden with a splash of summer colour is to grow hardy annuals.  These are flowers which you can sow as seeds directly in to the ground in spring (when the ground has warmed up), and which will reward you with masses of flowers over the […]

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Expert advice on choosing and growing Rhododendrons and Azaleas

It’s now that time of the year when Rhododendrons and Azaleas are starting to put on vibrant displays of colour the length and breadth of the country.  As a garden designer working in areas where these plants thrive, I was delighted to find out that specialist grower (and Chelsea Flower Show gold medal winner) Millais […]

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3 great plants for winter scent

In the depths of winter when there’s not much else going on in the garden scented plants really come into their own. One of the top plants for winter fragrance has to be Sarcococca which is commonly known as ‘Christmas Box’.  There are a number of varieties of Sarcococca but I tend to plant Sarcococca […]

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A garden designer abroad – highlights from Oz

January is pretty much the only time of year anyone working full-time in horticulture or garden design can go on holiday for a reasonable amount of time – well, with a clear conscience at any rate!  So this year I took the plunge and headed off to Australia for a few weeks. I’ve been a […]

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Get creative with topiary

I have to admit I do like a bit of topiary. There’s nothing quite like a clipped hedge or box ball to add structure to a garden.  And the beauty of clipped shapes is that they are so versatile – they can lend a garden a contemporary or a traditional feel. In winter topiary shapes […]

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How to deer-proof your garden

Aaah, aren’t deer cute?!   Well not if they’re munching your prize roses they’re not!  I have to admit that my heart sinks a little when new clients tell me they have deer in their garden.  Lovely to look at they may be, but from a garden designer’s perspective deer are a real nuisance.  Visions of […]

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Winter wonderlands – gardens to visit

At this time of year it’s very tempting to stay inside, keep warm and banish all thoughts of garden visiting until April. But if you do that you’ll really be missing out.  I’ve noticed that more and more public gardens are starting to offer ‘winter gardens’ or ‘winter walks’ or simply ‘winter borders’.  Either way, […]

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6 simple steps to creating a wildlife garden

I’m currently working with a pre-school nursery group to create a wildlife garden for the children to enjoy and learn from.  Along with a living willow tunnel, a cosy seating area and raised beds where the children can grow flowers and herbs, I have designed in a number of features to help attract wildlife in […]

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How to choose the right trees for your garden

Autumn is the best time to plant new trees.  From November until March you can buy a wide variety of ‘bare-root’ and rootball trees (which are dug out of the ground in the dormant season). If you plant now, the trees have plenty of time to establish during the wet winter months before they have to […]

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David Nash at Kew Gardens

On a recent visit to Kew Gardens in London (primarily to check out the Xstrata Treetop Walkway and catch some autumn colour), I was really pleased to also get to see the work of David Nash in the Gardens.  Nash worked on site in the Wood Quarry at Kew from April to September this year, […]

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How to plan a successful kitchen garden

If you’re going to be growing fruit and vegetables on an annual basis, then it’s really good practice to plan your plot in advance with a view to rotating your crops.  And the reason you want to do this is that if you grow the same annual crops in the same place every year, you […]

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Top plants for autumn colour

At this time of year there’s really no excuse for gardens to be boring!  Surprisingly though, it seems to be a common problem when I go to visit new clients.  There are so many great plants out there doing their stuff in autumn, that it’s just a question of planning ahead, maybe not being obsessed […]

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5 easy flowering shrubs to plant this autumn

Did your garden lack a certain je ne sais quoi this summer?  If you’re like many of my clients (who want a lovely garden, but have little time to do the gardening), then it might be a good idea to consider adding more flowering shrubs to your garden in time for next summer.  With the […]

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Wildflower meadows – simply lovely

I don’t know what it is about wildflower meadows that are so appealing, but I for one love them!  Maybe it’s just the gorgeous mix of simple flowers or the fact that they attract so much insect life – or maybe it’s just a bit of old-fashioned nostalgia.  Either way I know I’m not alone, […]

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Inspire a generation – of gardeners

As Olympic Fever takes hold in Team GB and throughout the land, there’s been a huge amount of talk around the London 2012 slogan ‘Inspire a Generation’.  Of course all that talk has been about whether the Games will actually do what they set out to do ie. get children away from their computers and […]

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Make room for pollinators

Many people think that creating a wildlife-friendly garden is the preserve of eco-friendly sandal-wearing, tofu-munching people.  And in some cases that may be true!  But designing gardens with wildlife in mind is not only beneficial for the creatures it attracts, but for the garden owner too, so it’s really worth thinking about – whatever your perspective. […]

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Water, water everywhere ….

On a recent visit to the Chelsea Flower Show it struck me that virtually every show garden – whatever their size – included some form of ‘water feature’.  Incorporating water into any garden really does make a difference. It can be used to add the effects of sound and movement; to reflect attractive plants or […]

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Sunny delights – flowering shrubs for hot dry gardens

For anyone blessed with a sunny garden with free-draining soil in the UK, it can be difficult to grow a wide range of garden shrubs as many of the plants which can cope with cold British winters also require a reasonably moisture-retentive soil. Frustrating though it can be for the plantaholics amongst us, it’s always […]

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Best in Show – Chelsea 2012

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is always a great place to get inspiration whether you want to see the best of the best in the plant world, see innovative ways of combining landscaping materials, or just see some of the finest garden designers at work.  It may be busy (and on the day I visited […]

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Art for art’s sake

It always surprises me how few people incorporate art (in any form) into their gardens. Maybe it’s the perception that commissioning (or even buying) sculpture is something that only very wealthy people or companies do, or maybe it’s just not appreciated what a difference a carefully placed piece of art can make to a garden. […]

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Flower power for the spring garden

There are so many lovely trees and shrubs which flower in spring, it can sometimes be hard to choose what to buy. Instead of going for the obvious choices (like Forsythia!), it’s really worth visiting gardens, doing some research and maybe finding something a bit more unusual.  Here are just a few ideas of trees […]

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10 steps to a designer garden

I have just been involved in showing my work at a Design showcase in Petersfield put together by the South East Design Forum. The brief for the show was to illustrate how design had added value to a project.  Looking through the plan & photographs of the scheme I chose to exhibit, I could identify […]

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Every garden needs a little focus

If I think of all the gardens that I’ve visited (and believe me there have been many!), the ones that stand out in my mind are those that don’t let it all hang out at once.  It’s far more interesting to be enticed around a garden moving from area to area finding hidden gems and […]

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Last call for hedging!

It’s so nice to have the opportunity to plant hedges along garden boundaries rather than building a fence.  But hedges can also be used within gardens to divide areas or create backdrops for planting – or simply for their own sake. If you are planning to plant a traditional hedge this winter (be it formal or informal), […]

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Get your garden into shape!

One of the fundamental principles of garden design is that a successful garden should have strong shape & good structure. I’m often struck by how bland the majority of gardens are – shapeless borders, indistinct planting, and a complete lack of any structure. And there’s no better time than winter to take stock and see […]

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Winter wonders – shrubs with colourful stems

It’s very easy to make a garden look attractive in summer when so many plants are at their peak.  What’s harder is to create a garden with colour and interest in January and February.  That’s why I always try to include shrubby Cornus (Dogwoods) in the gardens I design.  In leaf, Cornus are an attractive, […]

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Grow your own – and taste the difference

In the last 2 years I have noticed a real trend in the gardening world – the desire to grow fruit & vegetables.  Nearly every client I have worked with recently has requested an area to grow something, even if it’s just herbs, or a couple of fruit bushes.  But more frequently I am asked […]

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Shine a little light…

It’s lovely to see gardens and homes lit up now with Christmas lights. The effect can be really magical if it’s done with taste. And not so magical if it’s not!  After a long day at work coming home in the dark, it’s a real bonus to be able to see the garden instead of […]

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Autumn glow

I LOVE this time of year!  10 years ago, in early October, I  moved to Petersfield from London. After 15 years living in the capital, I was (to put it mildly) a bit worried about moving to the middle of nowhere, as I then saw it. But after a couple of weeks spent driving around my new […]

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Feeling fruity?

For the last few weeks I’ve been eating apples from the trees at my allotment. Even if I say so myself, the flavour is SO much better than supermarket-sold fruit, and there’s nothing like picking your own fruit off your own tree for freshness and flavour. If you would like to grow apple trees in […]

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Bulbs to brighten your spring garden……

Is your garden empty, drab & boring in February? Well it’s not to late to do something about it! One of the simplest & most cost-effective ways to brighten up a garden when not a lot else is happening, is to plant some bulbs now which will flower in spring. There are so many bulbs […]

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