Archives for category: plant photography

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


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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

Earlier in Spring, I decided all the perennials  in one particular  garden really needed dividing to maximize their  flowering capacity.  My only problem was the size of the border, it’s not small  – almost 30 metres in length, adding to this I am only there for  around 3 hours a week.  It would have taken for ever.

I came up with a solution, and dug out the old woody centre of each congested clump, rather than digging up, dividing and replanting.

The results this  Summer, are incredible, there are dozens and dozens of stems  waiting to come into flower.


This border (which belongs to Eleanor ) contains several personal  favourite flowers,  including :-

Helianthus  Lemon Queen (image from 2015)  A late Summer towering perennial, which regularly  tops out at over 6ft.089

Rudbeckia Herbstonne (image from 2015) .  A stunning tall border perennial.  Flowering from late July onwards.087I often find, that when I lift and divide this perennial the smaller clumps are attractive to slugs, with my new approach they have grown away at an  incredible rate.

Achillea millefolium (image 2015)  A tall back of the border perennial, flat creamy white flower heads.DSCN1028

Leucanthemum Phyllis Smith, a truly magnificent shasta daisy, at just under a metre tall, it is a stunning flower, a firm favourite of mine.006

When I first started working in this garden, I made a very neat hoop shaped willow edge to the front of the border.  Six  years on, the hoops have all but disappeared, instead  I  regularly prune  back  the willow at various heights, to enable the perennials to be seen. Rather than being an edge to the border, it has definitely become an integral element.