The Lovely Garden Blog

The beauty of dereliction

Posted on 08/03/11, filed under Latest News | No Comments

Trenthamtrentham-blog-2Derelict houses are so romantic, full of promise and mystery. The broken windows, collapsing infrastructure and faded grandeur all tell of another era, a time long gone when others looked out of windows, stood on balconies and saw another world. They say that there are plans to turn these wonderful buildings into a five star hotel at Trentham. I’d be one of the first to book in. I’d almost like to see part of it kept in it’s current state, with furnishings to match, like the curtains in Miss Haversham’s room, crumbling away to dust as they’re pulled to let in the light again. Tom Stuart Smith has done a wonderful job of matching the new Italian gardens to theses buildings. Some of the structures were hidden behind hoardings and I so wanted to climb over them and see what lay behind. I understand that they’re probably dangerous and there’s falling masonry, but I’d take the risk! I would so love to be involved in a restoration project on this scale. At the moment I’m working on a wonderful design where part of a large Arts and Crafts country house is being completely renovated and I’m there, in the gardens, making sure it all ties together. Perhaps it’s the romantic in me, but looking to the future always involves looking back at the past too.

The contemporary border in Winter

Posted on 07/03/11, filed under Latest News | No Comments

Trentham I enjoyed walking around Trentham Gardens in Staffordshire yesterday, but for the novice gardener it would have been nigh on impossible to know what plants were in the borders. I spent ages writing down plant names and varieties into my notebook, but there was very little to be seen at present. I know this is the worse time of year for the garden, but for clients we have to acheive form, colour and structure. The wonderful thing about Trentham is that they have the space to give over huge areas to purely herbaceous or grass planting, but when clients tell me that they love Piet Odoulf’s gardens I would have to show them this picture of the Piet Odoulf border at Trentham on a March day. The Tom Stuart Smith planting (my hero) managed to show colour within the herbaceous leaves that still had some structure left over, or new growth emerging. The sight of the huge Eremurus buds pushing through the ground was almost primeval and all true gardeners are excited by the anticipation of that bud and what it will become. But the visitors to the garden, the ordinary families, who don’t know an Eremurus from an elephant, may have been a little disappointed.

The pond deepens

Posted on 02/03/11, filed under Current Projects | No Comments

Five Oaks PondBuilding ponds can be difficult when it doesn’t stop raining. This was an existing concrete pond, that leaked, so we are completely re-lining and using the opportunity to build a new circular terrace that will look as though it cantilevers out over the water. We put a ‘sump’ into the bottom of the pond, to prevent water coming up underneath the new liner, but the sump was below the water table which is clearly affected by local underground springs, so new drainage has now been put in to alleviate this problem. You can’t have water coming UP into the pond! Now we’re on the muddy bit with the rocks going in around the edge. Our local quarry is no longer producing stone so we went to a quarry in Horsham and hand-picked all the stone for the project. The client mentioned the words ‘Stonehenge’ yesterday and I’m glad the guys have got lifting equipment on site. It will be soon be time for the plants to be ordered and I’m really looking forward to the next stage.