Archives for category: photography

Where there was once turf,  gravel parking areas,  forgotten borders and gardens in need of drastic renovation,  there are now  vast tracts of colour, shape and form. Over the last ten years these gardens have all  become special and memorable places.  Why ?   Because the owners have allowed me to create great big beautiful borders for them.

Intense colour vibrancy for Selina.

A true sense of  place, peace and elegance for Martin and Judy.

I spend half a day each week pruning, weeding and being immersed in the heady scent of  countless roses, spectacular Spring Magnolias, Peonies and Cherry Blossom expertly chosen and planted by Mary – Geoff’s late wife.

Ten years ago the flowering period had almost finished in Wendy and Alan’s garden by mid-May  – not now.

Being able to plant Gunnera and create  borders that stretch as far as the eye can see for Eleanor and James.024 A chance conversation six years ago led me to work for Diane and Dom.  A head for heights and balancing on the top of narrow walls is essential, this garden is  particularly vertical in places.080

Growing the majority of the flowers, both for the table decorations and the garnishes for Suree at The King and Thai restaurant in Brosely.

What excites me, and will keep me as a professional gardener and horticulturalist for life, is knowing  that there will always be an alteration that can be made through new planting  to continue the development of these gardens.

I read garden design journals by the mound, and visit specialist nurseries searching out plants to increase my knowledge.

With this in mind I recently made my first visit to the Wildegoose Nursery in Shropshire.  What an incredible horticultural find.  This place will definitely provide the answer for my decisions on how I can continue to improve the structure and visual impact of many a garden.  The plants are incredibly well sourced, beautiful and extremely well priced.  There is also a great cafe.

My only other decision is which mug to have my first cup of tea from ?   I think it might be my Waltons mug.  After a long hot summers working day a shed load of tea will sort me out.040

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

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.

 

 

My lovely sister Louise, made me these  gloves for Christmas.  It made me laugh out loud, when I realised  they are an exact colour match with the cyclamen in Geoff’s’ garden.003

I think we should all make an effort to colour co-ordinate  with our gardens more.

It  was too cold for gardening, which  led to a working day  sitting by the fire and drinking coffee.  I spent my time visualising  each garden in my care,   making  notes of everything I would like to  achieve for my clients.  New borders, large-scale sculptural willow projects, renovation projects, new vegetable and soft fruit beds, to name but a few. I  read through  mounds of seed catalogues and horticultural journals, noting must have plants and seeds.  I like productive days,  this definitely was one.

018This image is from Geoff’s garden on Tuesday. Snowdrops emerging through a leaf  mulch.  I loved the way the bulb tips had pierced the foliage.

Birds land by the  stem and branch full  at home, bringing my garden to life .  From my lounge window, on a wet  or frozen day, or any other day come to think of it, it is a truly great space to look out onto, and take winter images.008

P1050057 I will  continue  mulching from the edges whilst standing on boards and finish all  necessary deciduous winter  pruning; as long as it is niether below freezing, or chucking down.

Happy  new year,  and when the weather is right for you happy gardening .

.

These are my favourite  garden related images from 2016.  I hope you enjoy them.028This huge drift of chocolate cosmos and squirrel tail grass was taken in  August at Aberglasney gardens.  I thought the combination was perfect.

217 From my own garden.  I love the longevity of asters, followed by their stunning seed heads.

020From Diane and Dom’s garden. My precious  Niwaki secateurs, and a Christmas present of a box of truly delicious Belgian chocolates.

013A clump of Erythronium Pagoda in the rain, under hydrangeas.  We should all make space for them in a shady spot.  Stunning.

november   2013 099Late autumnal light running through the border at Selina’s,  full of asters and crocosmia.

011Cornus midwinter fire in front of White birch at Geoffs’.

004Exploding frozen stems in Eleanor’s garden, November 2016.

014Summer light through the Veronicastrum and Helianthus at Martin and Judy’s.

009My garden, marjorum, feverfew, squirrel tail grass, mid summer.

014Bees on centeura in Wendy’s garden.

I  hope  2017 is a  spectacular photography and gardening year for all of us

One hundred blogs ago I decided to document my  life as a professional gardener. It  became my work diary which  I thoroughly enjoy writing and sharing.

All the gardens in my care  have  now settled  into my favourite season.  The sharpness of the morning air is ever present.  Punchy and delicate  colours abound in equal measures.   Dahlias, Helianthus,Rudbeckia seed heads, Nerines, Japanese  anenomes are all jostling for my number one spot for favourite October image.  I am incapable of making a decision. I truly love them all.

Below is   my garden.  Aster divercatis,  Miscanthus  Sinensis Morning light and  Bistort Amplexicaulis Alba are still looking  sharp.

Autumn is always  pretty full on work wise.  I am  mainly clearing out unrequired  plants and dividing  perennials and sharing off sets between customers, and thinking about how I can improve the gardens in my care.  One definite way to achieve this is by careful bulb choice.  With this in mind  I am presently scouring the Parkers bulb catalogue to achieve this.

 

September brings that satisfying Autumnal sharpness in the early morning air, combined with  dew on the grass  it is quite categorically my favourite  month within my gardening year. Many perennials have  gracefully moved from their full on Summer impact to their exquisite  Autumn form,.

My panasonic lumix and I are   partial to a  disintegrating flower and a sculptural seed head.   I garden along the lines of leave a perennial  in situ until  it has collapsed or  I am bored with looking at it.  It is generally the former, as it makes for a far more interesting border. If only  more people   gardened  this way,  rather than  hunting for their secateurs or loppers  at the first sign of petal defoliation and foliage pigment disintegration.

I recommend getting up early to take a slow walk around your garden,check out the dew covered  grass, cobwebs and flowers  it really is quite  stunning, and an extremely positive way  great to start your day.

010No more  tools in the car for a fortnight, instead it will be full of holiday essentials and sand, rather than gardening tools and soil.

Someone actually said to me, “You are having a fortnight off, won’t you get bored ? “The quick answer was ” No I won’t”  Time  to go rock pooling, visit an art gallery or two, catch up with friends, have fun and no doubt do a great deal of laughing.

It  would not be my blog without images to remind me of how great it is to to spend my day with plants.  When certain plants come together in the sunshine (and rain) , it really is the best career.