The Power of Small Trees

Creating a canopy atmosphere in your small garden Some people are frightened of trees, fearing they will grow too big, involve annual costly pruning and block out precious light to the house. One of my weekly jobs as a garden designer is to get on my knees and beg people to take the plunge. I have seen so many trees outgrowing their spot in a garden that I am hereby willing to share my secrets! A small tree can give a sense of height to the smallest of gardens without necessarily dominating the space. This height allows the garden to [...]

By |2024-02-16T16:31:23+00:00February 16th, 2024|Articles, Blog, Trees|Comments Off on The Power of Small Trees

Designing a Dry Garden

A dry garden doesn't rely on rainwater, irrigation or feeding to survive. Instead, plants are chosen for their drought-tolerance. If you have a busy life and don’t have much spare time to spend maintaining your garden a dry garden is one for you. Also it conserves water for the nation and gives you a powerful taste of the Mediterranean. The first thing that you need to consider if whether your plot of land is suitable.. The space should be open and have access to lots of sunshine. The poorer the soil the better as your dry tolerant plants will need [...]

By |2024-02-06T15:25:39+00:00February 6th, 2024|Articles, Blog|Comments Off on Designing a Dry Garden

Rewilding a Walled Garden

The Knepp Estate in West Sussex is now world famous for its rewilding experiment, with two farmers giving over their 3,500 acre farm to natural forces, with the resulting explosion in rare wildlife making its home in the scrub and long grasses of the once grazed fields. Isabella Tree and Charlie Burrell have now turned their gaze to the house’s walled garden, which was preserved mainly as a croquet lawn. Learning from their observations from over 20 years of the rewilding project, they were keen to experiment, and see if one could ‘rewild’ a large domestic garden. She enlisted the [...]

By |2024-02-06T15:22:13+00:00February 6th, 2024|Articles, Blog|Comments Off on Rewilding a Walled Garden

West Dean- Creative Spaces

Like all Head Gardeners, Tom Brown can’t speak without stooping to pull out the odd weed as we make our way around West Dean Gardens. With 100 acres of garden including an Arboretum , College grounds, 13 Victorian greenhouses, orchards, walled gardens and plenty of other interesting spaces, he has a lot to do in a day. Made into an educational trust by Edward James in 1964, the college, which is situated in the heart of the gardens,  fulfilled Edwards desire to nurture music, traditional crafts and the fine arts, which he feared would go into decline after the Second [...]

By |2024-01-27T13:58:59+00:00January 27th, 2024|Articles, Blog|Comments Off on West Dean- Creative Spaces

Getting to know Shelley the Snail

Shelley, better know as Cornu aspersum, haunts our dreams with their savage leaf destruction. So rather than be terrified of them I set out to know them a little better. There are over 200,000 species of land and seas snails and they first appeared on the planet 550 million years ago, equally at home in the tropics, dessert or deep water. The largest is the African snail with a record of 38cm long and the smallest is .8 of a millimetre. Shelley has up to 14,000 little teeth that rasp bits of leaf off. They can take about a week [...]

By |2024-01-27T13:57:33+00:00January 27th, 2024|Articles, Blog, Insects|Comments Off on Getting to know Shelley the Snail

High Beeches- An unsung Sussex Jewel

When I left Sarah and Jeremy Bray, owners of The High Beeches Woodland and Watergardens, I had the feeling I was waving goodbye to two Ents, trees from Lord of the Rings that can talk and move about. Such is their dedication to the spirit of the land they inherited from Sarah’s parents in the early 90’s. They showed me around the grounds and their enthusiasm was childlike and fresh. Given that Sarah has spent most of her life here, its impressive that her intense enthusiasm for High Beeches hasn’t waned. “My parents, Anne and Edward Boscawen, met Colonel Giles [...]

By |2024-01-27T13:54:54+00:00January 27th, 2024|Articles, Blog|Comments Off on High Beeches- An unsung Sussex Jewel

Designing your own Rose Garden

Roses have been in cultivation since 500BC in the Mediterranean, Persia and China though the first appeared on earth about 50 million years ago. In China they symbolise eternal Spring and longevity, in Persia beauty and perfection and in the West they have been associated more with the Goddess Aphrodite and love. There are over 300 species and today there are tens of thousands of cultivars- so when you design your rose garden this Winter you are adding to this great tradition. Today’s species roses mainly originate from 18th Century China.   Type of Roses A typical Rose garden will [...]

By |2024-01-27T13:50:49+00:00January 27th, 2024|Articles, Blog, Flowers|Comments Off on Designing your own Rose Garden

Borde Hill- The World in One Garden

Borde Hill Gardens is a mecca for those interested in beautiful views, rare plants and Champion trees. Colonel Stephenson Clarke, who created the garden from the late 19th Century onwards, sponsored plant hunting trips throughout the world. The result is a fantastic collection of rare trees, including 65 Champion trees (these are the largest of their particular species in the whole of Britain). Set in a 383 acres of Grade 2 Heritage listed landscape, the gardens consist of a loosely connected arrangement of ‘rooms’- the Azalea Ring, Italian Gardens, the Rose Garden and perennial borders whilst being more wild on [...]

By |2024-01-27T13:47:58+00:00January 27th, 2024|Articles, Blog|Comments Off on Borde Hill- The World in One Garden

Redesigning your Garden in January

Now is the time to look through your windows at your garden, and walk amongst the last of the fallen leaves assessing whether it works as a beautiful space in the coldest month. Your garden can hold just as much beauty as high summer but with an altogether different feeling.   Structure Some people don’t like topiary but good quality, sculptural shapes can actually make wild, English Cottage planting feel even more carefree and relaxed. Topiary, like columns and pyramids, can act like the kings and queens of the garden, stately and unchanging, allowing colourful and fast growing perennials to [...]

By |2024-01-27T13:41:33+00:00January 27th, 2024|Articles, Blog|Comments Off on Redesigning your Garden in January

Four Dimensional Design for your garden

A garden has many more dimensions than we could possibly fathom. We are more and more finding out about the intricate communication systems trees have developed with their roots to other trees, seeds that make the ground infertile for other rival plants, colonies of insects with complex social systems, fungi that transform debris in different ways. Our gardens are little microcosms that exhibit all this details and more. Time is an extra dimension- how plants will perform over time, what plants will die out after a few years, which ones need to seed each year to keep the species alive, [...]

By |2024-01-27T13:39:07+00:00January 27th, 2024|Articles, Blog|Comments Off on Four Dimensional Design for your garden