Archives for category: plant photography

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.



017016014The willow was in need of renovation.  Undecided whether to coppice or pollard I undertook both.  February is quite the perfect time to do either, as the sap has not  risen and birds have not started nesting.

Coppicing may look quite severe, however, the rate of growth will be vigorous –  new growth will reach at least a  metre this year.


I am feverishly removing spent foliage to reveal the growth tips of  bulbs in customers gardens.  Spring is definitely on the way !

018030025February continues to  be  wet, cold, windy, muddy, snow and sleet filled.  However daily sightings of  Hellebores, Crocus, Snowdrops, Cyclamen coum and Cornus Midwinter Fire constantly remind me why I chose to make my career as a gardener.





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


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 ”






Every November, for at least an hour or two, I question why I chose to become a gardener?   The answer is always quite simple in that  I have packed neither my ever faithful thermals or waterproofs, and I  am either cold or wet.   Once found  I am set for any winter gardening eventuality as a  happy, warm and dry gardener.

Gardens are gaining their winter definition, whether through their sturdy structural form or the demise and decay of soft plant material.   I love being an all year round gardener








I recently spent a day at Scampston learning how Professor Nigel Dunnett’s planting design philosophy has been guided through intricate research studies of the dynamics and characteristics of the natural landscape.

Nigel’s creative response is stunning.  Naturalistically inspired planting schemes are being created from annual seed mixes, perennials, shrubs and trees.  I took away several new thoughts to work on including:-

  • Successional layering. Taller plants rise above the previous season fading flowers, creating a successive flowering effect.  For example  Verbascum and Achillea will leave long-term structural interest through their sturdy stems and seed heads after flowering.247
  • Creating a  planting matrix.    The entire planting scheme is set out species by species.  Planting a small group (of say three) followed by  an individual (of the same cultivar)  a short distance away enables the overall desired intermingled effect to be created;  rather than the more traditional  English style of planting in  formal  blocks or drifts.  I thought the natural formation of moss on my Dad’s shed roof depicted a planting matrix  quite well !053
  • Using two  or three harmonious colours,  then throwing in a contrast, which visually lifts the colour impact of the overall scheme.  Just  imagine if there was cornflower blue as a contrast.260

Restraint and simplicity.  Through limiting the numbers of plant species, will create  cohesive planting, that stops you in your tracks to photograph.275 All these images are from the woodland planting and pictorial meadows at Trentham Gardens in Staffordshire.  This is  design and implementation at the highest level, which filled me with childlike wonderment.  It truly was a superlative, dynamic and immersive experience.

How can  I transfer this without becoming a pastiche or a token effort, into smaller domestic garden landscapes ? My friend Judy says I can use her garden to experiment in – Thankyou Judy.


002003005I have finally rounded the once sharp edges of my lightweight, tough and  ergonomically designed Fiskars spade. This has taken ten years of  border creation  and soil turning to achieve; and as a gardener I feel a true sense of pride and accomplishment.

Last week my  spade and I  dug out a new border, which now wraps around the Wilde’s home here in Shropshire, it was here that I observed this beautiful new curved edge.

In my constant quest for superlative planting inspiration for this particular new border, and all the gardens in my care,  I am off to Trentham Gardens  in Staffordshire with my great gardening friend Judy.  We will  immerse ourselves  within the stunning planting by  Nigel Dunnett, Piet Oudulf and Tom Stuart Smith.  There will be a  blog about our visit.

On my last visit to Trentham, these were  my favourite images.  I wonder what Judy and I will see next weekend ?



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?


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.