The Lovely Garden Blog

Happy New Year!

Posted on 04/01/13, filed under Latest News | No Comments

 Xmas has been and gone with a cupboard full of lemsips and anti-biotics for many. It's such a shame when family members are ill at Xmas. We all look forward to that one day and then you have that pale, wan face sitting at your table, pushing a bit of turkey around the plate and looking white and scary underneath a red xmas hat. Thank goodness it's milder and we can all get out in the fresh air and walk off the excess and feel the sun on our faces. It's already getting lighter – have you noticed? I have primroses in the garden and we went to Winkworth Aboretum for a walk on New Year's Day and there were daffodils in bloom. I'm always so pleased to get the xmas tree OUT of the room (i've had enough by boxing day) and bring in all those little treasures I've been nurturing in the greenhouse. Now, my rooms are full of pots of crocus, hyacinths, narcissi and amaryllis and I have baskets of primroses on the window sills. It's always worth planting bulbs in the Winter for this very reason. Be gone cold weather, red noses, hacking coughs and duvets on the sofa. Spring is on it's way!

Bridge over troubled water

Posted on 13/12/12, filed under Latest News | No Comments

I watched the excellent Imagine programme on Simon and Garfunkel last night. I suppose those of a certain age will have a copy of the album somewhere in their vinyl collection but I wouldn't have put it down as one of my desert island discs. In fact if somebody did have it as one of their special 8 requests I'd probably think they didn't know much about music and expect them to include an Abba track and 'Spring' from Vivaldi's Four Seasons. In my own top 100 I'm sure I would incude Paul Simon's 'Hearts and Bones'  but generally speaking S&G seem very mainstream to me. Then…. I watched 'Bridge over Troubled Water'. I heard the  track being composed, layered, arranged, put together – the harmony, the musicianship. It was brilliant. I began to understand the story behind the song and by the time it all came together, in front of thousands of people at a concert ,I loved this song. This is a true example of less is more; where simplicity conquers complex dub tracks. What has this to do with garden design? Well, Paul Simon and Chopin only had the same 13 notes to work with, and the basic premise has to be the same. Trends may come and go. You could listen to John Cage's 'Silence' and claim it a masterpiece and modern Chelsea gardens may inspire for a short show, but those 13 notes applies to our profession too. Stick to what you know, gain from experience and then do it well.

Keep off the grass

Posted on 12/12/12, filed under Plant passions | No Comments

I can imagine that the garden isn't the first thing on your mind this week but these frosty mornings should be providing a magical winter wonderland of icy structure and grandeur. If your garden just looks collapsed and cold, perhaps it's time to rethink your borders. I was a slow convert to grasses and, even now, they have to earn their keep but….. I must admit that this year's planting of later flowering perennials and grasses has been a success. I think there's a place in the garden for every type of plant, but I've decided that roses – the climbers and ramblers – can grow over the house, through trees and across the pergola. The other shrub roses, taking up so much space in the borders, were looking too old fashioned and just didn't perform for long enough. Digging them up was a difficult decision to take, but I'm glad I went for it now. I think we'll have a cold winter; looking out at the frosted seed heads of the rudbeckias and miscanthus purpurascens has turned out to be more interesting than the stick-like arms of a pruned rose.