Shapes and textures matter to Beth Chatto

The gravel garden at Beth Chatto is inspired by a wadi or dry river bed.  I know this because Dan Pearson told us last week at Essex University where he delivered a lecture for the Beth Chatto Education Trust.  The reference is clearly drawn with  banks and eddies of planting, separated by a wide gravel…

Review of “Essay on Gardening” by Henk Gerritsen

  Hefting in at one and a half kilos , “Essay on Gardening” simply cannot be that.  (OED “A short piece of writing on a particular subject”).  I suspect a Gerritsen tease.  For the gardener who wants to be enlightened and provoked in equal measures, treat this book as your bible.  I have read it…

Giverny: Monet’s incomparable garden

We are at the apogee of the gardening season.  The oriental poppies and irises have stormed the classic flower borders.  June is it for blowsy blooms, zinging pinks and a heightening of the colour palette.  It is good moment to share this trip I made to Giverny, Claude Monet’s garden.   

Umbellifered out and spoilt at Gravetye Manor

The day before yesterday we were umbellifered out and spoilt to bits  all in one sitting, so to speak.  A birthday celebration took 3 of us to Gravetye Manor in  north Sussex, near East Grinstead.   It is not a  bit of the map that you might pick on  and say “I must go there”  hard…

Hats off to Chelsea

A whole week has evaporated since the  Chelsea Flower Show visit.  I’ve examined my pics and scribbled notes and here they are.  A little old hat by now.  I swear this lady wears this hat every year.  Definitely photographed her before. The sleuthing visit of one day gives a sort of hysterical edge to fitting…

A Potager of sorts

 At the entrance to our garden there is a courtyard.  In it a  raised  square flowerbed edged in green oak.  The design reason was to cut down on the square meters of bricks that we laid out in the garden as pathways and to provide a sunny terrace.

Collaborative planting in Hove

I went to Hove to look at a garden – the owner and I are doing a collaborative planting. This means tempering desire with the practical. There used to be a time when I would heave heavy tomes round under my arm to show off planty pics. Hurray for the internet which lets us pull…

Best and Worst Front Gardens – series 6

Nearly got run over photographing this but I just had to share this front garden. Ratings explained: *        call for a skip **      concrete it over ***     covet it ****   I’d sling my hammock here ***** in my wildest dreams.

The questionable matter of choice in choosing the right plant

Last weekend an old friend came to stay.  We talked about garden design and his question was “don’t you have too much choice?”.  My  firm principle is to work with what is there.  Most of my customers have large country gardens which may have gone awry.   Beneath the quick revenge that nature takes, there…