Update on Working with an Iron Age Fort

Back in June I wrote a blog post about working with an iron age fort.¬†On a garden restoration project I had uncovered a pile of stones that looked like a rockery. I was thinking about moving the rockery only to be told by the garden owner that the stones could be part of an Iron Age fort that is identified on the house deeds. Continue reading Update on Working with an Iron Age Fort

Appreciating the Dutch Style Features at Westbury Court Garden

I’ve always been interested in the Dutch style gardens that became fashionable between the late 17th and early 18th century when Britain and Holland shared the same king, William III.

Typically rectangular in shape, classical Dutch style gardens relied on a strong use of symmetry and geometrical form. They were designed to highlight the art and craft of horticulture, and were an expression of wealth for the owner.

But the Dutch style had a short life in Britain. The gardens were incredibly expensive and labour intensive to maintain. Many notable examples were destroyed less than 50 years after being built in favour of the more economical naturalistic landscapes, made fashionable by designers such as Capability Brown and Humphrey Repton.

One example a Dutch style water garden survives today at Westbury Court Garden. Continue reading Appreciating the Dutch Style Features at Westbury Court Garden

Happy Gladiolus Thrips, Unhappy Gardener

It’s been a bad year for gladioli at the garden where I work, thanks to thrips.

The difficulty with gladiolus thrips is that once you’ve spotted an infestation it’s often too late to do anything about it.

Infected plants have light flecking and brown blotches on the flowers and leaves where the thrips have fed. This is the damage on the gladioli I grew: Continue reading Happy Gladiolus Thrips, Unhappy Gardener

Linking a Garden with Doorways in Hedges

Recently I have become mildly obsessed with doorways cut into hedges. I think they are a wonderful way for large gardens to link different areas.

Too often hedges are seen as static features, acting as a barrier to divide one area from another. By cutting a doorway the hedge’s purpose changes and becomes an integral part of the garden design, linking rather than preventing access.

And there is also something ‘Alice in Wonderland’ about them, appealing to our human nature to explore.

I am lucky by living in the Cotswolds to have two gardens nearby that utilise hedge doorways with great success. They are Hidcote and Kiftsgate. Here are a few examples from those gardens that may help explain my growing obsesssion with this design feature: Continue reading Linking a Garden with Doorways in Hedges

Hornbeam Walkway through Spring and Summer

A lot of my time has been spent working on a Hornbeam Walkway as it transistions from Spring through to Summer.

This is one of my favourite areas in my client’s garden. The pleached Hornbeam looked fantastic and draw the eye to a beautiful elf sculpture and water feature at the far end- expertly modelled here by my dog Hamish! Continue reading Hornbeam Walkway through Spring and Summer

Five Inspiring Planting Combinations at RHS Wisley

Visited RHS Wisley last weekend to study planting combinations that are looking good in early Autumn. Spent a lot of time wandering around the Glasshouse Borders and saw some beautiful planting combinations.

The Glasshouse Borders at Wisley are planted with prairie-inspired drifts of perennials and grasses. Large swathes of colour, shape and form all combine together to create a wonderful vista of movement and sound as the breeze gently rustles the borders. Continue reading Five Inspiring Planting Combinations at RHS Wisley

Comparing Five Canna Flowers

Cannas are rhizomatous perennials known for their ornamental foliage and large, colourful flowers on long stems. They can be grown outdoors as a bedding plant but beware as they are only half hardy and susceptible to frost. Minimum temperatures for Canna are 5 to 15C (41-59F).

Grow indoors for large showy, specimen flowers. A conservatory would be ideal as they need plenty of sunlight. No need to grow Cannas in deep pots, which can be surprising considering how large they can get. But make sure the pot is a good width to give the Canna roots room to spread and prevent the plant from falling over. Choose a humus-rich soil and keep moist. Continue reading Comparing Five Canna Flowers