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…

The Fashion for Cloud Pruned Yew Hedges

If you follow this blog or my social media profiles you may have noticed I am building a small collection of vintage gardening books. This is not intentional. I find it difficult to resist when I see an interesting antique gardening book on an online auction site and my low bids seem to be winning. One lucky acquisition was this 1904 First Edition ‘Some English Gardens’ with beautiful prints of watercolours by George S. Elgood and commentary by Gertrude Jekyll. One print that caught my eye was a watercolour titled ‘Yew Alley at Rockingham’ and painted about 1900. The yew…

Westbury Court Parterres

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…

Pelham Crescent by Luciano Giubbilei

The garden at Pelham Crescent in London was designed by Luciano Giubbilei in 2004. The brief was to link the newly refurbished house with the recently built garage at the far end of the existing garden. Luciano emphasised the link between the house and garden with his use of scale and proportion. A seating and dining area was created at the far end of the garden, under an elegant wooden pavilion. A water feature, made from soft-honed Acero limestone, divides the garden and adds linear structure. It was designed by water specialist Andrew Yewing. Limestone gravel is preferred to grass,…

Twisted pine tree inspiration

As a gardener I have a certain amount of control in the way plants grow. Take apple trees for instance. From year one they are pruned and shaped with the intention of producing the highest yield of apples as well as looking good in their garden location. But when nature takes over this can produce some dramatic and often beautiful effects. I visited Stratford-upon-Avon this weekend and on a walk through the graveyard surrounding the Church of the Holy Trinity, location of Shakespeare’s grave, an old twisted pine tree caught my eye. I love this tree for the dramatic, twisted…