As my year away from work on maternity leave was drawing to a close – a time I will always look back on as one of those charmed periods you occasionally get in life – we decided to take ourselves off to the beautiful Lake District for a cheeky mid-weeker. We stayed in Keswick which was the destination for many of my own childhood family holidays and, as my husband observed, a place I tend to drift back to when trying to cope with periods of transition. With the inevitable anxiety about my forthcoming return to work, settling our little boy into nursery, and my husband juggling his own freelance work with increased childcare, a few days away in the breathtaking scenery surrounding Derwentwater was just the ticket. Seeking to stretch the holiday out just a little longer on a glorious September morning we decided to stop off at Holehird Gardens, just outside Windermere, before making the journey home. Continue reading
When developing a garden I imagine that for most of us the first consideration is the visual: colour schemes, shapes and forms, composition. We might also think about choosing plants which provide fragrance that we can enjoy with our morning coffee or evening glass of wine, as I discussed in a previous blog. But how many of us consider the role of sound in the way we experience gardens and green spaces, never mind deliberately incorporate elements which contribute to and enhance the soundscape? Continue reading
Last Sunday, at the end of National Allotment Week, we had what has become our annual Summer Social at our allotment colony. Essentially this is an afternoon gathering at the allotment site for any plot holders who fancy getting together with their fellow Grow Your Own enthusiasts. Our site is only small and this, coupled with the usual August holiday absentees, meant attendance was as ever modest. Still I find this event a reliably cheering experience. Continue reading
One of the things about having a postage stamp sized garden is that you can see pretty much all of it all of the time. Design concepts such as having themed ‘rooms’ and creating ‘mystery’ by deliberately obscuring the view of a feature from certain angles are lovely ideas, but nigh on impossible to achieve if you are working with 30m² of space. Indeed accommodating attractive planting alongside practical features such as bins, water butts and washing lines can be a key challenge when garden proportions are limited. Thinking about where the eye is naturally drawn to in a garden, and where it is you would like it to rest, can be a big part of balancing the aesthetic and the pragmatic.
We are in the midst of the garden show season with seemingly an event somewhere almost every weekend. Tatton Park is my nearest RHS Flower Show but it’s been a few years since I last attended and I was interested to see what was being showcased. Visiting a large garden show really brings home what a vast industry there is around gardening and horticulture with numerous suppliers of tools, landscaping features, and other ‘lifestyle’ accoutrements. There are an amazing array of independent specialist nurseries, the displays for some of which are as stunning as the carefully designed show gardens which are the centrepiece of the event, and the focus of this blog. Continue reading