Archive for the Category ◊ Garden Style and Design ◊

• Tuesday, June 11th, 2019
Elements of Sheffield garden

It was on a rainy day that I visited the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show but that didn’t dampen my spirit. I was indeed looking forward to seeing the show gardens which despite being quite small (6x4m) all had interesting features that made them look bigger.

I was particularly impressed by the ‘Elements of Sheffield’ garden as the sunken seating area combined with a soft water feature and rich planting made it feel quite cosy.  I enjoyed the compact planting of flowers such as purple Lysimachia atropurpurea combined with bright Achilleas and Digitalis, as well as the use of airy plants such as bronze stemmed Anthriscus.

Also contributing to the cosy feeling of the garden is the use of moss in the soft cascade from the constructed back wall.

A key theme for this year was mindfulness, highlighting the benefits of gardening and the great green outdoors on mental health.

One particular flower that stood out for me this year was Geum, since it was used in a lot of displays in all shades of apricot colours and I found that it complemented other plants in shades of copper really well. In fact I spotted such Geum in the wild as the trip to Chatsworth offered the opportunity of a walk in the Peak district. And it thrived in the Lathkill Dale alongside the Jacob’s Ladder, in full bloom at this time of year.

Eutierra garden

Another show garden which appealed to me was called Eutierra (gold medallist too), which although minimalist felt quite peaceful thanks to the dominance of green walls, hostas and ferns.

Finally in the beekeeper’s stand I couldn’t resist to get some seeds for the allotment, including Teasel and Ammi, to help attract bumblebees and lacewings in the garden.

• Sunday, August 16th, 2009

The revelation that some allotment plots can reach up to £300 in annual rent in Britain is probably a sign of changes in the allotment world. This may seem like a high price to pay for an allotment plot but the Scotlandwell allotments in Perthshire near Kinross believe that their ‘super’ allotment bring excellent value for money.

Indeed for that price you get access to the following facilities according to Garden News:
a club house with fully fitted kitchen including a bread oven, a gardening library, 3 barbecues, car parking spaces, regular events, security, and free tea, coffee and juice for children. An artesian well has also been sunk to ensure that alloment holders have easy access to water. But most of all each plot has been dug over and is guaranteed stone free! Now that’s a luxury you wouldn’t get with a standard £15 rent a year council allotment.

• Friday, July 10th, 2009

Always on the look out for great new gift ideas I discovered an original garden gift which may be suitable to a gardening friend: a Garden Design Course.

I guess it’s quite natural that in my circle of friends many of them are keen gardeners. And most of them are rather well equipped with tools and plants, so when it comes to birthdays, choosing gifts is not an always an easy task. more…

• Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

Following my article on what to do now in the garden you may feel that you need a break from all this hard work clearing out the garden, or it could be that you need a bit of encouragement and inspiration to get started with gardening.

Why not visit a garden as part of the National Garden Scheme?

Summer days are here and you can visit some of the most beautiful gardens in Britain in the most informal way. You will get the opportunity to have a friendly chat with the home owners and get their personal advice and input on their successes and potential failure in their garden activity. The personal advice that you can get from amateur gardeners can be most valuable if are looking to achieve results with home-tried gardening practices.

I also enjoy the opportunity to relax and treat myself to the great British tradition which is afternoon tea, preferably with a big slab of Victoria sponge cake – after all I deserve it!

But all this is also for a better cause. The funds raised will benefit a number of charities including Marie Curie Cancer Care, Help the Hospices Movement, and the Royal fund for Gardeners’ children, to name but a few.

You can find more information about the gardens which are open this summer on the National Garden Scheme website.

If you’d like to share your experience on the best British gardens, please leave a comment.

• Tuesday, June 02nd, 2009

It seems that the UK is not the only country to be experiencing an increased interest in Grow-your-own and gardening as a whole. While in the UK many initiatives are currently taking place to encourage people to get involved in gardening (BBC Dig in campaign for example), in other European countries such as France there seems to be a similar revived interest in gardening this year.

An example of this is the Rendezvousauxjardins initiative which is the French equivalent of the British National Open Gardens Scheme and is organized by the French Ministry of Culture.

The aim is to encourage people to make their garden open to the public and it also gives the opportunity to combine the visit with a musical, theatrical or cultural experience.

And this year the theme for the garden scheme is related to land, soil and territory. The purpose of the theme is to highlight the importance of the Land in all its characteristics.

This Open gardens event will take place this week on 5, 6 and 7th June. So if you are planning a trip to France and enjoy discovering new garden ideas do look out for the gardens taking part in this scheme: Rendezvousauxjardins.

So we are not alone doing our bit in our garden and contributing to a better, greener environment, our neighbours are doing their bit too!

• Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Last week I visited a great bamboo garden in Southern France called the Bambouseraie. Just outside the pretty village of Anduze, this bamboo garden is located only 15 miles from Nimes in the French Languedoc Roussillon region and not too far from my French garden.

Bamboo Alley

Bamboo Alley

The bamboo garden was designed in 1856 by Eugène Mazel who was a keen French botanist. It is a picturesque and mature garden which includes a comprehensive collection of bamboos but also many other oriental plants and trees of interest.

I followed the guide who provided useful information about the plants and trees in the park, and I learnt some interesting horticultural facts about bamboos. I shall always remember that bamboos shoots grow like piles of plates stacked upwards and growing at a speed of up to 1 meter a day.

All in all it comforted me in the opinion that some species of bamboos can be difficult to contain since they have a tendency to spread quickly whilst other smaller varieties can be used as bushes in order to provide handy green borders. more…

• Friday, May 08th, 2009

If like me you have a flower border which is looking a bit bare at present then you may want to start planning your flower border. Planning or designing your flower borders should help you achieve a succession of flowers right into autumn.

My Flower Border

My Flower Border

Obviously you don’t have to plan the border in exact details but you may find that it pays to do so in the long run and it’s also quite interesting and fun. You will find below my personal gardening tips on how to achieve this.

Right now my flower border is adorning a few tulips which will soon fade away (as you can see in the picture) so I need to fill the empty spaces with some more beautiful flowers and plants.

I first had a look at my border area earlier in the year and did a lot of sowings of flowers which are currently growing patiently in the greenhouse. And now I am just considering which plants will be grown in the border and as part of my simplified version of garden design.

• Tuesday, May 05th, 2009

As part of my interest in gardening I also enjoy visiting famous gardens. This weekend I sought to find some gardening inspiration in the grounds of Castle Howard which is located in North Yorkshire between York and Malton.

Castle Howard Fountain

Castle Howard Fountain

Castle Howard is most famous for its walled garden including an ornamental vegetable garden, as well as for being the setting of the Brideshead revisited film.

To make the most of the walled garden I think that it is best to visit when the roses and delphiniums are in full bloom in July.

At this time of the year the visitor will appreciate the sense of grandeur expressed in the formal garden layout complete with its numerous temples, statues, lakes, fountain and wide expense of green woods.

I also recommend visiting the castle which despite a great fire in 1940 still has a lot to show about the lifestyle of the Howard family through the years. In particular I was impressed by the guides who were available in most rooms to provide interesting facts about the castle and gardens.

So if you are planning a trip up to North Yorkshire remember to take a little detour to the gardens of Castle Howard.