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RHS Chelsea 2020RHS Chelsea 2020

It's a privilege to be working again with CCLA, who are supporting the SSAFA show garden at RHS Chelsea this year in the Urban Garden catagory. The Chelsea show is a matter of days after one of the most significant anniversaries in modern British history; VE Day 75th - 8th May 2020. During WW2, SSAFA provided care for the families at home so those fighting overseas could devote themselves to...

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Bodnant GardensBodnant Gardens

The National Trust Bodnant Gardens, nestled in the Conwy valley on the coast of North Wales, is a special place to visit whatever the time of year. It has a deep-rooted history and is home to plants from around the world. It is a great place for a family day out with lots to see and do. ...

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Knoll GardensKnoll Gardens

Knoll Gardens, Wimborne is renowned for its grasses. Over the last 26 years, plantsman Neil Lucas has developed and established a naturalistic garden 'that works for plants, people and wildlife'. The grasses are available online or you can call in and select your own. There are also regular events and classes, which are well worth attending if you want to expand your knowledge on grasses. ...

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The Cottage HerberyThe Cottage Herbery

The Cottage Herbery, Tenbury Wells was established in 1976, and has, since the beginning, grown its herbs and plants in organic peat free compost. The site and garden have developed over the years and although it is not open to the public, visits can be arranged for small groups. A group of us took over the garden whilst being tutored by photographer Stephen Studd who gave us an insight into ...

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The Old Vicarage Open GardenThe Old Vicarage Open Garden

The Old Vicarage, Burley in Rutland is open for a few days each year. When we visited in June, the white Wisteria trees were spectacular, as were the Lupins along the front of the house. This garden is well worth a visit, see their website for open days and times. http://www.theoldvicarageburley.com...

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CopenhagenCopenhagen

I was lucky enough to visit Copenhagen at the begining of June. We visited the Botanical Gardens where there is a spectacular glass house and we also took the train up to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Both of these sites are a must if you are visiting this amazing city. https://bot...

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Chelsea Physic GardenChelsea Physic Garden

I had a morning spare and so opted to visit the Chelsea Physic Garden and enjoyed the sanctuary of this small space, enclosed and peaceful. The small cactus house was a delight. https://www.chelseaphysicgarden.co.uk ...

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South of France Plant HuntingSouth of France Plant Hunting

I attended a garden masterclass in the South of France at the end of May, which included a day's trekking to see plants in the wild, just north of Marseille and a visit to Oliver Filippi nursery near to Montpellier. An amazing few days, learning so much about planting for draught conditions, for which the nursery specialise. Oliver and his wife were most generous in sharing their garden and ho...

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RHS Chelsea 2019RHS Chelsea 2019

My highlights from RHS Chelsea 2019.        ...

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The High Maintenance Garden RHS Chelsea 2019The High Maintenance Garden RHS Chelsea 2019

It was a privilege to work with Sue Hayward on her garden at RHS Chelsea 2019, 'The High Maintenance Garden' for Motor Neurone Disease, which attained a Gold Medal. The garden reflects the limitations of those suffering from this disease, 'A loved space created over many years of hard work, that is gradually being reclaimed by nature'.  ...

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Trentham GardensTrentham Gardens

Trentham Gardens, near Stoke-on-Trent is a good day out with lots to see and big walks around the lake. There is the revival of the Italian Gardens by Tom Stuart-Smith, the Floral Labyrinth designed by Piet Oudolf, and it is definitely worth walking to the far side of the lake to see the Woodland Gardens by Nigel Dunnett. ...

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Welsh WildflowersWelsh Wildflowers

The flowers along the North Wales coast are always something to behold. Their resilience to the weather and finding a special place to grow, gives great pleasure when walking along the cliff tops at Easter.    ...

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Flintham Hall BluebellsFlintham Hall Bluebells

Flintham Hall, Nottinghamshire opens its doors once a year to celebrate the amazing display of bluebells. There are several grades of walks around the garden to view the bluebells, helleborus beds and blossom. Excellent tea and cake is served in the local village hall, and if you have time, do visit the church. ...

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Cambridge University Botanic GardensCambridge University Botanic Gardens

It was a cold, damp day to visit the Cambridge University Botanic Gardens, but the winter colour cheered us up. The 40 acres of garden hold over eight thousand species, including those in the glasshouse. There is also an excellent cafe when wanting to escape the cold weather!  https://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk...

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Thenford Gardens and ArboretumThenford Gardens and Arboretum

Thenford Gardens and Arboretum, is the home of the Heseltine family. It is spread over 70 acres, with more than three thousand different types of tree and shrub. There is also an amazing walled garden and excellent teas! The garden and arboretum are open for a limited number of days during the year, and tickets need to be booked well in advance. ...

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The Dorothy Clive GardenThe Dorothy Clive Garden

The Dorothy Clive Garden, Market Drayton is well worth a visit if you are in the area. Probably most famous for its Laburnum Arch, but full of colour whenever you visit. I particulary liked all the ways that timber is used: to support plants, border edges and line paths. https://dorothyclivegarden.co.uk...

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RHS Hampton Court 2018RHS Hampton Court 2018

Visiting the RHS Hampton Court Flower show this year on a very hot day! The main thing that caught my eye was the different styles of planting.         ...

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The Barn Garden - Tom Stuart SmithThe Barn Garden - Tom Stuart Smith

In July, a group of us visited the Barn Garden home of Tom Stuart Smith. The courtyard with its corten steel water features and walls provided a beautiful backdrop for the plants, and the Pararie garden was looking stunning. The unusal log stack also caught my eye! ...

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British Flower Week at the Garden MuseumBritish Flower Week at the Garden Museum

The British Flower Week ran from Monday 18th June to Sunday 24th June at the Garden Museum in Lambeth, which has been recently restored and updated.  https://www.britishflowersweek.com ...

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RHS Chatsworth 2018RHS Chatsworth 2018

We were awarded a Silver Gilt by the RHS for our CCLA 'A Family Garden' and we were totally spoilt by the BBC and their coverage of the garden.   Our grateful thanks go to them for this presentation, which keeps the memory of this garden alive.   ...

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RHS Chelsea 2017 HighlightsRHS Chelsea 2017 Highlights

My highlights from Chelsea this year. The BBC 'Feelgood' got my vote for the best group of gardens in the show, capturing excellent design and good planting.    ...

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Working at RHS Chelsea 2017Working at RHS Chelsea 2017

It was a great experience working at RHS Chelsea this year, planting out the ‘Mind Trap’ Fresh Garden for designer Ian Price, which was awarded a Gold Medal.  The garden is a physical manifestation of Ian’s personal experience of suffering from, and living with, depression. Its purpose is to help those who suffer in similar ways to be reassured that they are not alone. The garden...

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Passion for WisteriasPassion for Wisterias

Wisterias are a passion of mine, the pruning and shaping to create a glorious structure, and then the wonderful results of good flowering. Here are some of my favourites which I have enjoyed pruning for clients.   ...

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RHS WisleyRHS Wisley

The Azelias are out and the garden is a riot of spring colour. A lot of pinks and reds, contrasting against the new growth of greens and dark purple, a positive feast for the eyes.     ...

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Spring Colour in ScarringtonSpring Colour in Scarrington

Spring brings new hope and colour as the days grow longer and the light grows brighter. Snowdrops, Irises and Tulips are a few of the plants found in the garden at Scarrington this year, where I am privileged to work on a regular basis.   ...

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RHS Chatsworth 2017RHS Chatsworth 2017

RHS Chatsworth is a new show venue for 2017 and I am looking forward to seeing the following gardens. In the Show Gardens: IQ Quarry Garden: designed by Paul Hervey-Brookes and built by G K Wilson Landscaping, is a garden influenced by the life cycle of a quarry.  ...

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RHS Chelsea 2017RHS Chelsea 2017

There are many varied designs to be built at Chelsea this year but the two close to my heart are the following gardens. In the Artisan Gardens: Commonwealth War Graves Commission is celebrating its 100 years since its foundation by Royal Charter. Designed by David Domoney and landscaped by Arun Landscapes, who built our winning CCLA 'A Summer Retreat' at Hampton Court last year. ...

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Red LeavesRed Leaves

The Autumn colours this year have been outstanding. The reds, pinks and yellows all brightening up the darkening days of Autumn.         ...

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Brewery ShapesBrewery Shapes

Whilst enjoying the mystery of whisky making and learning to love the taste, the colours and shapes within the breweries were captivating.     ...

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Stones and RocksStones and Rocks

I was fascinated by the shapes of the rocks and the items they capture over time, whether natural or man-made.        ...

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Various Signs in Islay & JuraVarious Signs in Islay & Jura

These signs all caught my eye whilst visiting these islands and enjoying the beautiful scenery. Each sign tells a tale or just provides entertainment to the reader.    ...

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Brodick Castle, ArranBrodick Castle, Arran

National Trust for Scotland, Brodrick Castle, Garden & Country Park situated on the Isle of Arran, is a red sandstone Scottish baronial-style castle with views over the Firth of Clyde. W. A. Nestfield, known for his work at Castle Howard and Kew Gardens, influenced the landscaped gardens to the woodland trails, wildlife ponds and waterfalls. ...

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Visitors to CCLA A Summer Retreat, Hampton Court 2016Visitors to CCLA A Summer Retreat, Hampton Court 2016

We were lucky to have lots of visitors to our award-winning garden at RHS Hampton Court this year. Some friends and family and some familiar faces can be seen amongst them. For more news cuttings see: https://uk.pinterest.com/catfootgd/hampton-court-cuttings-2016 ...

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CCLA A Summer Retreat, RHS Gold Medal Award Hampton Court 2016CCLA A Summer Retreat, RHS Gold Medal Award Hampton Court 2016

Our show garden at Hampton Court this year was in the Summer Garden category, and ‘CCLA A Summer Retreat’ was successful in winning an RHS Gold Medal.  Further details of the build and garden can be seen on the Pinterest page https://uk.pinterest.com/catfootgd/hampton-court-2...

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Japanese gardensJapanese gardens

In June, we visited two Japanese gardens based in Nottinghamshire. Newstead Abbey, which is slowly being restored and the Pure Land Meditation Centre, North Clifton which is the work of Maitreya (Koji Takeuchi). These are two very different gardens in both scale and planting, both providing huge interest and photo opportunities. ...

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Chelsea Gardens 2016Chelsea Gardens 2016

Jo Thompson’s ‘The Chelsea Barracks Garden’ was my favourite this year at Chelsea. The planting was so effective and the design worked perfectly. Other gardens had pockets of inspiration and inspired planting combinations.    ...

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Chelsea Flower Show 2016Chelsea Flower Show 2016

We were lucky enough to be given day tickets to Chelsea this year and it allowed us to spend time in the tents and in particular the flower-arranging section where these spectacular displays were being exhibited. The ability to weave the plants and structures together into an artistic design is quite breath-taking.  ...

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Chelsea 2016Chelsea 2016

The gardens for this year's Chelsea Flower Show have now been finalised and can be seen on the RHS website. Among them is The Meningitis Now Futures Garden by John Everiss which is being built by our trusty Tatton Landscaper Peter Gregory. We are looking forward to seeing it first hand in May. Other show gardens and their designers can be found on the RHS website. ...

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Capailano Suspension BridgeCapailano Suspension Bridge

Just north of Vancouver city, the suspension bridge crosses the Capilano River. It is 140m long and hangs 70m above the river and is not for the faint-hearted! I visited on a very wet November day, which is a good time to visit a rainforest, with treetop walks and good hot chocolate! There are lots of fun interactive displays for children and adults throughout, and an interesting weather sta...

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Colour in Vancouver, CanadaColour in Vancouver, Canada

Whilst in Vancouver, Canada, this autumn, I visited Queen Elizabeth Park and the Botanical Gardens. The light was fading as we looked out over Queen Elizabeth Park, but it was the first time I caught a glimpse of the hills in the distance. Meanwhile, in the Botanical Gardens, the colours were fading and the weather was poor, but there were still interesting things to see and enjoy.  ...

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Fungi at Cape Lookout, Portland, OregonFungi at Cape Lookout, Portland, Oregon

Cape Lookout State Park is located to the west of the city of Portland, Oregon. The trail follows the headland for about two miles to a viewing area and seating where you can look out over the ocean and wait for the whales to pass by! When I visited in November this year, the fungi on the trail caught my attention, as well as the views through the trees. ...

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Chihuly Garden, SeattleChihuly Garden, Seattle

On a recent visit to Seattle, USA, I had the good fortune to visit the Chihuly Glass Exhibition and Garden. Dale Chihuly is well known for his avant-garde development of glass as fine art. His work is in many collections and has been widely exhibited around the world. This comprehensive collection is based adjacent to the iconic Space Needle in Seattle and is well worth a visit if you are in...

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Chatsworth AutumnChatsworth Autumn

Chatsworth in the autumn was full of colour and there was the added interest of the sculpture exhibition. The Acers provided a vivid red against the magnificent Derbyshire stones. The garden had not yet arrived from Chelsea but preparation was beginning for next year's opening. It is a great day out for walking and if the weather is not on your side on arrival, there is plenty to see in th...

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Maggie's Water Garden, RHS Silver-Gilt Award Tatton 2015Maggie's Water Garden, RHS Silver-Gilt Award Tatton 2015

Our water garden designed in celebration of the 25th anniversary for homes4u, for Maggie’s Cancer Care Centres, was awarded a Silver Gilt medal. It certainly was a challenge to build and our thanks go to all those involved. The joy of hearing the water flow for the first time was something special and a real achievement! The plants and some of the metal work have now been rehomed at the Ma...

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Chelsea 2015Chelsea 2015

A quick visit to Chelsea this year in the rain! Here are a few of my highlights of the planting and my favourite gardens.     ...

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The Garden of Cosmic SpeculationThe Garden of Cosmic Speculation

'The Garden of Cosmic Speculation' is the creation of landscape architect and theorist Charles Jencks, at his home, Portrack House, near Dumfries. It is a private garden, open to the public annually on the Sunday of the May Day bank holiday weekend. We had the privilege of visiting it this year on a very wet day, but it was still spectacular. The shapes, vistas and planting are stunning and...

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Pettifers GardenPettifers Garden

We were fortunate enough to visit Pettifers garden, North Oxfordshire in mid September when the borders were still in full bloom. This garden is privately owned and has been developed over twenty years. It is one and a half acres in size and has the most amazing vista over farm land and the nearby hills. The garden is open to visitors by appointment, see their website ...

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RHS Flower Show Tatton Park 2014 - Best Show Garden & RHS Gold Medal WinnerNo Photo

Enjoy a video of this year at Tatton Park! Spot Maggie's Garden in between all the other worthy winners and colourful displays. Further Tatton Cuttings of Maggie's Forest Garden can be found on my Pinterest page Tatton Cuttings.  ...

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Maggie's Forest Garden - Best Show Garden & RHS Gold Medal AwardMaggie's Forest Garden - Best Show Garden & RHS Gold Medal Award

Two weeks of hard work and long hours culminated in a day of assessment and judging, and finally the award! Receiving a Gold Medal for our first show garden was amazing but we were totally stunned by the decision to award us Best Show Garden as well. The joy and emotion overflowed and we all enjoyed the moment, especially once in my case the tears were wiped away.  Then the fun began...

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Start of Maggie's Forest Garden Build at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park 2014Start of Maggie's Forest Garden Build at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park 2014

After six months of planning we are now at Tatton and building our first show garden. The heat and intensity of the build are keeping us on our toes but hopefully it will all be worth it. The large show gardens are first to start and there is a certain calm before the storm before all the others arrive at the end of the first week of building.  Firstly we had to assess the site to se...

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Open GardensOpen Gardens

The Open Gardens are popping up all around this summer supporting different charities.  Locally the James’s opened their ‘Self Sufficiency Garden’ in aid of ‘Music for Everyone’ on Midsummers Afternoon. They describe their garden's characteristics as a mixture of semi formal layout and informal planting, whilst striving for self sufficiency and sustainable living. What a treat to se...

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Chelsea 2014Chelsea 2014

Our trip to Chelsea this year was short and sweet, but sufficient to gather ideas and information. We booked the evening tickets, which gave us a two and a half hour window to blitz the mind… no dawdling or shopping this time!  The Laurent-Perrier Garden designed by Luciano Giubbilei was definitely worth all the accolades to my mind, stunning in its cool geometric design and ...

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Restoration of lost gemsRestoration of lost gems

A lot of my time at present seems to be restoring gardens to their former glory. It’s a joy to find those hidden paths or features lost in the over grown bush, and in some case lights the client had forgotten were there! Rescuing plants and watching them blossom as a result is a great pleasure. Every very garden has its own character and challenges, and the excitement is finding what makes th...

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Feathered FriendsFeathered Friends

There is a new visitor to my garden, a female Greater Spotted Woodpecker. I have seen her three times, flying in from the trees behind the top lawn and surveying the garden from up high in the Walnut tree. She is very nervous and warily approaches the hanging nuts and fat block. Finally today she made it to the...

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New beginningsNew beginnings

As I am writing this we are in the midst of a winter thunderstorm with hail lashing the windows. This is somewhat of a surprise as I was out in the sunshine this morning taking photos of snowdrops (Galanthus) and winter aconites (Eranthis hyemalis), always a welcome sign that spring is drawing near. As the daylight hours lengthen, spring-cleaning is becoming more than a thought, the to-do list ...

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