The vast  majority of my plants spend their lives in large containers rather than a border, as our  garden is a hard paved yard.  This has provided a  rare opportunity of being able to completely redefine the spatial composition  on  a regular basis, as I move the containers around, aiming to create a perfect series of spaces.

 

I  allow the plants  to self seed.  Consequently  there is  a wide  selection of many of my favorite hardy annuals, perennials and grasses, which grow  in between the brick paviors.     This creates interesting combinations as I place containers alongside  the self setters. Favourites include Verbena bonariensis, Valeriana officinalis,Squirrel tail grass, marjoram and Ammi majus.

 

So how did I  design my garden ?  I  made a list of what I considered important.

  • Two seating areas –  one  close to the house, the second  further into the garden.
  • An area to grow vegetables and salad.
  • An outdoor cooking area.
  • The planting  would be informal in its design style and required  to provide year long food and shelter for wildlife.

Using these design principles I created my garden.

The only constant is the  greenhouse which sits at the end of the garden. Even the new veg beds could be moved if I decide they are not in the right place.

My favourite place is the seating area closest to the house, as from here you can look through the garden.  This space is no more than 6m2 and enclosed by my favourite grass Anemanthele  lessoniana which comes right up to the table.  I  created additional spaces by using the containerised plants and weld mesh to divide up the garden.

Our garden faces west, slowly through the day the sun moves round, with  certain areas being literally baked during  Summer.  In  Winter light levels are really quite low due to the  angle of the sun.  Aspect is a crucial consideration in design.

My garden is a place of great peace, I truly love spending time in it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is true, I have known it for years.  There is a reasonable amount of ground elder in  the gardens in my care.

Even though I continue to mulch and weed out the borders regularly  it still remains.  I do admit to the fact that I quite  like the white umbellifer flower.

 

If you look carefully you can  spot the ground elder in a few of them.

 

From now on  I  will go twice.  A day is undeniably insufficient to take in all the show gardens,  discuss gorgeous flowers with nursery growers. try out new tools, and spend time with my sister Louise.

My favourite image was from the sound garden designed by James Alexander Sinclair

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My favourite show garden was the Royal Bank of Canada Garden by Charlotte Harris.   I really wanted to sit inside the pavilion to consider this eloquent design –  I found it mesmerising.  A  true sense of place had been created.     The gnarled Jack Pines were magnificent, the soft planting combinations of Aquilegia, Lilies and Sweet Grass – exquisite.

I hope you enjoy a few of my other images from  Chelsea 2017.  It was, as ever, a truly memorable show.

I am finding it difficult to curb enthusiasm for my new camera.

016 I planted  Gunnera manicata in a  stream side border.  My intention was for  Eleanor and James to eventually witness the giant foliage from their kitchen window  (which is about twenty metres from the original planting).  The Gunnera will reach around 2.5 metres in height this year so my aim will have been achieved.   Due to recent ground frosts, some of the fresh foliage was damaged, however,  there is plenty more to come.

  I recently cleared out blocks of montbretia in the rockery for Judy and Martin.  Verbena bonariensis, Tithonia rotundifolia ‘ The Torch’  and Salvia viridis ‘Blue’ will fill the gaps.   I am intrigued to see how the combinations of orange, blue and purple work this summer.

026 I particularly enjoy walking along this pathway to Treasa and Simon’s garden in Spring, due to a carpet of primroses which stretch its entirety.    The foliage of Knautia macedonia Purpurea and Japanese anemones are presently pushing their way through and around the box balls, and so my pathway enjoyment continues.

038Patty’s Plum looked stunning at Diane and Dom’s

022Suree’s  garden at the award-winning King and Thai restaurant in Broseley.

Sheila’s garden with its heavy clay is a perfect place for poppies and peonies.

Next week – five days of Shropshire gardens followed by the Wicks sisters annual visit to RHS Chelsea Flower Show.  I cannot wait!

My new camera has arrived.  I am delighted.

I recently constructed two new raised beds at home, which immediately heightened the enjoyment of my garden.

015 Throughout the week I spend somewhere between 35 and 40 hours working in other people’s gardens. I dig, weed, prune, design, plant and resolve gardening problems.  I truly love being a gardener, I find it good for my soul and well being, both physically and mentally.

When I get home,  my garden is an old brick paved farm yard.  Every year I spend a long time re-arranging the containers which are jam- packed full of my favourite plants, creating the garden I want to enjoy.  I am now able to get my hands in the soil as I plant in the large raised beds, rather than squeezing newly grown plants into containers.  I  feel I  am finally gardening in my own garden.  It makes me feel good.

I need a new kneeling pad. Geoff’s dog ate it. This was the best kneeler I have ever used, you can see all the layers.  Sadly it was not Spaniel proof …011

These belong to my friend Judy.  Every year we scour the Parkers catalogue to find perfect tulips for containers.  They are lifted with their stem and leaves intact when they have finished flowering and dried off in the greenhouse over summer.  In mid-November, they are replanted in raised beds in the lower section of the garden.

We would not choose to have this amount of mixed colour spread through the garden.  However, in one space, I  think it works well.

If you are wondering what to do with your spent containerised tulips why not give this a go?

Over the last four years, my ever faithful Panasonic DMXC-TZ18l  has enabled me to produce the images  for this blog.  I cannot believe it has managed to survive this long.  I have dropped it on numerous occasions, left it in the rain and  filled the zoom with soil on more than one occasion.  A truly great  camera.  Sadly last week system error (Zoom) was its downfall.  I thought I would share some of my favourite  images.

I have ordered a Lumix DMC-TZ60, which has now  been dispatched from Jessops.  I am quite excited.

 

 

The sharpness of Spring sunshine through fresh foliage finds me hunting through borders to find beautiful Spring flowers as I work through my customer’s gardens.

march 2013 021Admittedly this spring image is not from this year,  it is my favourite, though, and always has the capacity to make me smile.

This weekend will find me with one of my college friends at the Gardens Illustrated Spring Festival. Carolyn and I will discuss garden design for hours, whilst admiring gorgeous nursery and tool displays.  I cannot think of a better way to spend a day off work.

004I  wanted to learn the basics to enable me to start designing and making willow  structures in customers gardens.  I googled willow weaving workshops.

On Saturday 4th March 2017 I headed off  to Kings Cliffe in Peterborough to an open willow workshop. With  the assistance of Sue Kirk,  an  exceptional  tutor,   I definitely learnt the basics and made a  free-standing plant support.  It  stands  in pride of place in my garden

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Others  made complex pieces, which they very kindly allowed me to take  images of.  This is exactly  what I want to be able to create.

My annual visit to Chelsea always finds me on the look out for intricate willow designs. This incredible piece was from  2015.

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I have some hazel rods.  I have ordered some brown willow, and when time allows I am going to get into the weave.

Tuesday 27th October 2017.  I spent some time watching snowflakes.

To be precise these are Spring Snowflakes – Leucojum Vernum.  They are a stunning Spring bulb.   Their tiny Tiffany lampshade- like flowers have the capacity to stop me in my tracks.  They are planted under the hydrangeas with primulas  for neighbours in Geoff’s garden

I have not needed to divide these plants up over the last three years as they have flowered profusely, however  they have now formed a robust clump.  I think this will  definitely  be a job to add to my list. Later this Spring I will  divide, and replant the offsets in the woodland border.  I will then  have a shady border full of snowflakes next year.  I can imagine it already.