March news

Guess what is going on here? This woodland garden is being improved to house hedgehogs & lots of beneficial insects. Nothing to do with me this time – I’m no expert on bugs I’m afraid but Rob is & his team are creating very stylish & enticing homes for beneficial & sometimes undervalued critters to live in as natural pest control. The wood is already home to some hedgehogs amongst other creatures who enjoy the eco hedges the team have built – see above. All this stylish accommodation has been created from waste on site so it is exceedingly good …

New year news

Wishing you a chilly but Happy New Year to all! This header photo was taken in France where I spent my Christmas break. I’m not a huge fan of freezing temperatures but it does make everything so beautiful! Thanks so much to my lovely clients for the wonderful opportunities & challenges you have given me over the past 12 months. I had my best year ever last year with an array of fascinating projects of all sizes & this year sees more to come. I will try to keep you up to date but I’m usually so busy working I forget …

My French Foray!

  I can’t remember not loving France & all things French. I find it so inspiring – particularly their grand gardens which are just tremendous. We always spent holidays there with our dog & our dream was to own our own place & work in France for part of the year. A couple of years ago we bought a place in Loches in the Loire Valley & now I divide my time between here & there. It’s working really well; I meet clients here in England, go to site meetings here & then draw over there where there are fewer …

NGS – Here’s one we did earlier…

    Last Week the garden titled ‘Estate’ on my portfolio page opened to the public for the afternoon under the National Open Gardens scheme for charity. The forecast was very grim indeed so all were prepared for storms but thankfully the sun shone & the garden looked beautiful. Here’s Rob looking very happy on the boardwalk through the bog garden. This was originally an area that had been pushed to one side as it was a bit of a nuisance with springs popping up from time to time & often being very muddy indeed. We got on with the rest of …

Roof trees – a favourite!

I first saw these gorgeous trees in 2010 in Tuscany at the wonderful Vannucci site. I was there with Rob Jones of The Garden Design Co buying trees for a project. We were shown around their vast & splendid site in buggies in scorching sunshine & were completely blown away by what we saw. The photo heading this blog was taken then – note the lovely blue sky. Going to tree nurseries is always a pleasure, even in the pouring rain & hail, as we did very recently in Hampshire. Shortly after I took the photo above the heavens opened …

Tree planting on a grand scale!

I chose four of these fantastic Pterocarya fraxinifolia (wingnut trees) for my clients’ garden in the Cotswolds last March. Aren’t they fantastic?  Lots of planning since then & yesterday they arrived on site! The ground was prepared in advance & several hours later the 1st one is in the ground…They weigh several tonnes each so sufficiently capable kit was brought in & as you can see this tele-handler almost makes it look easy. Two are going in today to complete the line-up & will match in beautifully with a copse close by. The aim of buying such large specimens was to add …

A fantastic buying trip last week!

My clients flew over to meet me in Belgium last week to select large yew topiary specimens & some trees for their large garden. It was a great day as I’d not visited before – only bought via emailed photos. It makes all the difference actually being able to look at trees in three dimensions & relate to them & we all had a super time deciding which ones would work best. My sketch for this topiary walk is below… There were so many to choose from but we have tagged 24 which we will whittle down a little for the final …

A new garden for a barn conversion

I love doing small gardens as they are very satisfying. They are relatively quick to build (I often design very large estates which are implemented over several years in some cases) & the before & after shots are always amazing. With small gardens everything counts & the whole scheme must work throughout the seasons, day & night, back to front & so on. This counts for all gardens of course but more so here as nothing is hidden; I don’t do mini wild flower meadows for example as I don’t believe a small garden can afford such temporary beauty. I …

A sneak preview

I’ve a contemporary scheme currently being built by Tom & his great crew that I’m so delighted with I thought I’d share. It’s a long garden that used to have virtually nothing but lawn & my scheme divides the space into interesting defined segments. Sketches are above & at the top. Below is how it was. As you can see there really wasn’t a great deal of interest, but for me a blank canvas is a brilliant start. I really wanted to break the space up into interesting chunks & give it a personality. My clients love contemporary & wanted …

A slight deviation from gardens

    We’ve been here for just over 5 years & have been gradually doing the house up as well as creating a garden. Above is the old kitchen that came with the house. Everyone said how lovely it was but it just didn’t do it for me. I did what I could with it – had it painted & bought it smart leather handles but really I wanted more. More worktop space, more circulation space, more light as we are north facing, a proper overhang for our barstools so people can talk to me whilst I cook & now …