I helped my client Paul Craig design his garden. He already had some interesting and original ideas and together we decided on the right plant for the right place. We used a round corten steel sculpture for a focal point and chose unusual plants like tree ferns, Senecio Angle's Wings and Cannas in amongst more traditional prairie planting making sure there was colour all through the seasons. The Deschampsia Goldtau grass, surrounding the new pool, captures the afternoon sun.
One of my garden design mentors is Nigel Phillips. Have a look at this lovely garden he designed a few years ago. He takes all the best ingredients of classical garden design and the few twists he adds come from his sense of place and the knowing what will delight the client.
A garden can still look good in January and the leaf colour and texture of evergreens mixed with deciduous shrubs can have its own beauty. But I have been thinking that it is not just the aesthetics of January that is relevant in this month, but our whole attuned towards nature. This got me thinking about Yin and Yang. Most simply, the theory of Yin and Yang describes a world being made up not of opposite and opposing forces, but an experience in life where events and things are actually connected, sometimes complimentary and more often interdependent. So Winter is not the [...]
June is a productive month to revisit gardens that we have designed and built, especially when the work was done in Winter or early Spring. During that time plants arrivde and once planted the perennials could only be noticed by a few small sticks. It takes all my efforts to assure clients that there is more to come!In this garden the overriding design theme was tranquility. We choose woodland plants to suit the large Cedar in the back garden. At the back the clients wanted a more open prairie feel so we used Sesleria autumnal and because the soil was heavy clay [...]
In my last blog I gave some background to Great Dixter.One striking element to the gardens is both the house and strong, dark greens of the Yew topiary. They provide a strong tonal background to the frothier temporal planting of perennials and annuals.This garden is also well known for its use of rare plants and unusual combinations.They beds are saturated in planting detail and even though the gardens are not big one can spend hours there immersed in each 'garden room'.
Just to cheer you up with a dose of green I found these photos of Great Dixter's garden that I took last Summer.Great Dixter was built by Edwin Lutyens in 1910 in the Arts and Crafts style as an ad on to a 15th Century farm house.It was his son, Christopher Lloyd who created the innovative gardens that the house is now famous for.In 2006 Fergus Garrett took over as Head Gardener and he has carried on the experimental, out of the box planting choices and schemes in the spirit of Christopher Lloyd.I love the Giant Fennel, Ferula communis, and [...]
We balanced the bright white paths with large limestone rocks, and lush woodland planting like Blechnum spicant, Hellebores, Epimedium and some Armeria maritima.The two green wrapped columns are Australian tree ferns which we are ready to disrobe as soon as the weather improves.In the far back of the garden we have planted Sesleria and Dog daisies to soften the picture and provide a backdrop of movement when the breeze picks up.Japanese acres are dotted about and will blaze with their spring and Autumn colour and give some height under the canopy of this magnificent Cedar tree.
If you ever have a few hours to spare, Denmans gardens near Chichester are worth visiting. They are the personal gardens of John Brooks, one of the most influential designers of the 20th Century.What John does so well is create wonderful forms from plant life that form a live tapestry. As you wander around the winding paths you discover a combination of trees and shrubs that have taken years to grow into the combinations that he must have had in his mind years before when he planted the garden.The gardens are a homage to interesting leaf textures and shapes and the [...]
We completely cleared this small Brighton courtyard, laid grey Indian sandstone and brought in three cloud pruned Olive trees. (It was a miracle we got them through the house.)On the steps we used a bespoke ornamental tile and the Olives are underplanted with Allium Purple Sensations, Libertia peregrinas, Geranium White-ness, Verbena bonsariensis and Gaura. This underplanting will take over from the Alliums to provide lasting summer and Winter interest.
For the last 40 years the Dutch have been at the forefront of very interesting pubic natural planting designs. I came across this municipal area on the site of a busy road in front of some apartments near Narden Bussom just outside Amsterdam. The key elements are large swathes of single species planting linked together with other swathes of differently coloured and textured plants. Perhaps it is a little too bright and tacky on the eye but cycling past this every day would give you a lift. The benefits of this style is that it gives the eye a place [...]