Archives for category: garden photogaphy

Winter finds me spending considerable time deliberating over how I will transform my garden for summer.  The heady scent of damp compost and freshly germinated seedlings will shortly be filling the greenhouse.  I can hardly contain my excitement.

050Anemanthele lessoniana (in the background) continues to self seed freely through our garden.   My big idea for this year is for all my new seed grown plants to sit in containers between the clumps of this grass.  I cannot wait to see my 2018 seed raised honka dahlias emerging through the burn’t orange tinted foliage this coming late summer.            l

Molina Transparent and giant fennel plants are shortly to be acquired.  They will definitely provide height and structural definition to my garden.

033037035I am still working on finalising my must have list.  Fiona likes to help out, using her long pointy greyhound nose to show me her favourites.  In all honesty I  would like to grow the lot !

p.s my next blog will be my definitve list, and why they made it onto it.



January finds me planting trees, pruning dozens of deciduous shrubs and  mulching.  Raking away vast amounts of collapsed spent foliage appears to be my main task though.


Gardens with narrow borders pose no problem,  these jobs can be undertaken from the  edge.  Wide borders pose a  gardening dilemma, should  I stride through them to complete my winter work?  the answer is no – I will not be the person responsible for damaging the soil structure and leaving  a mud bath in my wake as I do so.  Instead, I  choose to stretch in as far as I can reach,  the rest will have to wait until it is a little drier underfoot.

However I am striding through Geoff’s large borders pruning as I go,  due to countless small stepping stones which have been set into the border.   Over the years they have become well camouflaged by encroaching planting and earth.  In fact I would go as far to say you probably wouldn’t know they were there if I hadn’t  mentioned them.  I like the fact that they are unobtrusive, yet extremely useful, and when well placed don’t affect the aesthetics of a border.


January finds me surrounded by the immense beauty of bark, sharp winter sunlight, flowering shrubs, magnolia buds and racing streams.  Believe me,  gardening is good for the soul  throughout the entire year.



009 I recently came across  Witch Hazel ‘Orange Peel’.  The combination of magnificent spider- like burnt orange flowers plus the heady scent of strong marmalade has turned it into a must-have new shrub for my garden.    I fully intend to buy and plant one in a very large container by our front door as research tells me it can grow up to 8ft in height and width, and prefers neutral to slightly acidic soil.  If only I could find a marmite scented winter flowering shrub, I would be in horticultural heaven.

007004009020006January finds me pruning, mulching, cutting back perennials and carefully removing spent foliage from borders.  I am constantly reminded how much new life is waiting for the year ahead.  I am truly looking forward to another year of gardening.

003My favourite image of the week  – it was cold on Tuesday – four  layers is generally my norm for this time of year; five if it is raining.

My Panasonic Lumix and I have seen (and taken) countless images this year.  These  are my top twelve, I hope you enjoy them.005191043273005037026025099103138038

This is my overall favourite image as I still cannot believe I managed to capture the water droplets on the show garden designed by James Alexander Sinclair at Chelsea Flower Show 2017


Deep winter snow, a true rarity in Shropshire, which brought my working life as a self employed gardener to an abrupt holt for five days.

These images will remain etched in my memory for a very long time.  Believe me it has been breathtakingly beautiful.

Income generation recommences tomorrow, as sadly it all melted today.



041 I always wait for a frost or two before commencing my winter work.  In addition to pruning and removing perennials which have outstayed their welcome,  I am mulching borders and  placing  vast amounts of bamboo canes in gardens to imagine places for new plants and trees.

Amelanchier, Birch, Magnolia and  Sumach are amongst my favourite garden trees –  I particularly like their multi-stemmed forms.  Sadly, not everyone I work for  is as enthusiastic for planting  trees in their borders as I am –  which I consider to be a great opportunity missed.

Recent December  images of gardens in my care include.

My recommendation is ” make a realistic winter garden plan, and within that plan attempt to plant at least a couple of trees, and vast amounts of bulbs ”






I am fascinated by the vibrancy of late autumnal colour,  followed by foliage and flower disintegration and subsequent formation of stunning seedheads.  Have you checked your garden out recently?


This is Scampston Hall Gardens in North Yorkshire.  Designed by Piet Oudolf

037If you really want to  experience this specific  element of Scampston, then take some  time to sit in these incredibly comfortable chairs.  They enabled me  to physically and emotionally  immerse myself  within the perennial grass garden and watch the autumnal light filter through the golden hue of Molina caerula ssp caerula’ Poul Peterson’ .   I really could have sat  for a very long while.  I had to remind myself that I was there to see all  the interconnected garden rooms.

My aim with these images is to  express the  beauty of this inspirational garden.  Form, texture  and structure of the planting as in all Piet Oudolf’s designs is chosen over the  plants flowering capacity.  As  Scampston heads towards late autumn, the  structure of the soft landscaping  is  superlative.











Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Alba’ commonly referred to as  white flowered red bistort.  I was recently attempting  to describe this perennial to a friend, who was asking for advice about good white Autumn flowers for her border.  My initial description was a little lack lustre “It is one of my favourite Autumn perennials, with a great seed head over winter ”  This really did not give to many clues  as to why I am so taken by it”

I  came up with the analogy that the flower stem was similar to the structure of a sparkler with the tiny delicate bell-shaped flowers appearing to explode like the tiny sparks from a lit sparkler.

If you are taken with the idea of a sparkler or two in an Autumn, they can reach upto a metre in height.  They are really tolerant plants growing in all soil types, and will survive in dappled shade right through to full  sun.  They have the capacity to spread in the open ground so  I grow mine in a large container which I keep by the front gate.  I think it makes for a great start to the day as I head out to work.








005I came across this stunning sculptural  Japanese anemone today in Diane and Dom’s garden in Much Wenlock.  I was particularly taken by the curvature of the stems.  This has now become my favourite flower image so far for this year.



This garden is particularly vertical,  to work here you definitely require a head for heights, as these earlier images hopefully depict.