Garden Design

Raised beds

Raise Your Level

Having raised beds is a great way to add a comfortable height for your gardening especially if you have a bad back or limited mobility. There are many other positives to raised beds; the main one being control of your soil and drainage allowing one to match the soil to the plants you are growing. Soil in raised beds also heat up quicker in Spring and will stay warm longer, but remember to choose a position where there is at least 6 hours sunlight later in the year and need less tilling or maintenance. A sloping garden can look amazing when raised beds are added and can also add value to a property. If money is tight this is a simple solution rather than an expensive landscape relevelling of the site. There are many options for raised beds and contemporary white rendered walls can give a crisp and clean look …

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The Free Garden

As a garden designer I need to be creative with a design, but also save a customer money!! Firstly, soil and in particular good compost will aid moisture retention and help suppress weeds, as well as feeding your plants, vegetables etc… Making your own organic soil improver from vegetable and fruit peelings, leaves, plant waste, grass, tea bags etc is a great way of improving soil and recycling. It is important to mix these materials and leave air pockets to help the rotting process. Next, the plants themselves and collecting seeds from a previous years flowers… Make sure the seeds are fully mature and it is best to put these straight into a paper bag. Once collected you will need to filter out any debris or insects by tipping onto white paper to help see the wood for the trees. Finally put in a clean envelope and place in a …

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Creating A Show Garden – Part 3

The Process and Building The journey which is ‘Akira’ begins by leading you through the design via a zen gravel pathway, similar to ones in gardens of the orient. A specimen Niwaki tree stands at the centre of the design and is the main feature whether viewed from inside or on the bench in the garden.Other trees include: Pinus Mugo ‘Carsten Gold’ to the right, (also cloud pruned) and reminiscent of a hand reaching in and pulling you into the garden. It has a lovely yellow colour in Winter which would be just turning green for the show. There were also three acers which might seem excessive, but they are all small trees and slow growing, each with different colours and textures. The Acer on the left: PalmatumDissectum ‘Inaba Shidare’ with its great reddish weeping habit, is so perfectly situated by the bench, so as you pass by, its shape …

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Creating A Show Garden – Part 2

The Brief – The Build Today I would like to talk to you about the show garden process itself and the building of them. Obtaining sponsorship is crucial when building a show garden due in part to the immense cost involved in the pursuit of perfection, perfection one has to aim for! Moss plays a big part in Japanese gardens and I decided to use sustainable cushion moss as an undulating rhythm throughout the space. I wanted to create a feeling of calmness inspired from sitting on the beach and watching the waves lap over the shore. The RHS are seriously committed to combatting the destruction man has and is still doing to the planet over the years and therefore (and quite rightly) everything used in a show garden has to be responsibly sourced and sustainable. This meant that the moss I needed to use had to be grown hydroponically …

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Creating A Show Garden – Part 1

Submission and Preparation :- The show gardens process and building of them In 2020 the Malvern show theme was to be ‘Wanderlust’. Every year there is a different theme and ‘Wanderlust’ conjures up a desire to travel, and for garden design and me personally I wanted to create something exotic using a different cultures philosophy towards gardening.But before we get to the show garden itself, I would like to talk about the submission and acceptance of a design. My Journey in the Design and Building of a Show Garden Firstly, having credibility and the RHS knowing the show garden will be built for both the designer and the RHS to look professional; needs confidence and trust between both parties. I submitted a design in 2019 and managed to get a meeting, but unfortunately it was after the submission date so couldn’t be accepted. So where now? I decided I wanted …

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Winter planning – Bulbs

For me personally, Winter gives time and opportunity to reflect and review a changing garden throughout the year. The quieter dormant garden is a time to get on with the jobs that escaped you during that year. I find it helps to take photos of the garden (and borders in particular) during the year to see what is missing and what needs changing or updating. Photos really help, as there is no better reference to the large gaps in a border. Planting of bulbs for that light period of interest or lack of flowers really brightens up the space. January to April – Galanthus: a lovely delicate early flowerer Plant Snowdrops at 10cm depth in moist well drained soil from September to November. I particularly love the timeless and original Galanthus nivalis… but why not go for a snowdrop that flowers before Christmas with Galanthus Three ships? February to May …

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Privet always prevails

Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium), meaning oval leaf in Latin, is the perfect hedge for sculpting within a garden with a typically classic look that dates back to the Victorian era. Its dense foliage, strong upright nature and small leaf give a neat and tidy finish to any shape you require, whether it be curves or crisp edges.You can see in the pictures how its strong architectural designs could compliment the architecture of a property and incorporate the rest of the planting into any design when done correctly. I particularly like the way you can manipulate light to further enhance a design. The hedge has lush, green foliage that is not only evergreen, but very hardy and can tolerate both hard winters, and wet soils; It can even be used in coastal areas and is tolerant in urban areas of pollution. Privet has creamy white flowers in Summer, although this is not …

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Small Garden – Big Impact

In a small garden it is important to have year-round interest and interesting focal points, limiting the amount of materials used and how they make the space feel. Here I have used scaffold boards horizontally that are quite thin so as not to make the space feel any smaller by “stretching” the eye and giving the impression the space is bigger? Although I wouldn’t normally condone the use of Astroturf, this was rescued from going into landfill so I decided to utilise it and help reduce the carbon footprint; giving one a feeling of unity throughout the whole design. Below it is a harsh concrete base which unfortunately, due to drains etc; had to be left. Gravel could have been used, or paving laid diagonally again making the space feel bigger. Consider seating, and when/where you will get the sun? This is a basement apartment and gets sun mainly in …

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Bees On Lavender

Bee kind to each other in these difficult times

Bees are so significant in these hard times for keeping our food chain going and the ecosystem healthy. They also contribute to keeping our economy going, so Bee kind… Save our bees and save ourselves by planting Bee friendly plants and stop using chemicals which can harm or kill the insects we desperately need and rely on. Of some 270 bee species in the UK, the one most people are aware of is the honeybee, yet this is only one of our important pollinators.Each bee has its own unique way of extracting food and pollinating our fruit, vegetables and flowering plants – so mix up your planting. Bees pollinate by travelling from one plant to another collecting pollen in baskets on their legs for the hive. Pollen sticks to their “scopa” (hairs) which then spreads to other plants. Though all plants, trees and shrubs are beautiful, not all are suitable …

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