Creating a focal point using containers

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.

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RHS Flower Show Tatton Park 2018

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

Why am I still doing exams at my age?!

Picture the scene: a visit to the beautiful Ness Botanic Garden, on the Wirral, on a pleasant morning in June. Baby safely installed with Daddy daycare. There bright and early with the whole day ahead to enjoy. Sounds marvellous doesn’t it? Just one problem: I’m there to sit exams for an RHS Level 3 qualification in Horticulture. So really, why am I doing this to myself?

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Sweet Sensations: Fragrance

A huge amount of emphasis in gardening is focussed on how plants and hard landscaping can be combined to make a space look good, using colour, form and texture.  However, incorporating features which engage other senses can be equally important in creating a garden which can be enjoyed year round.  Continue reading

Making the most of small outdoor spaces

Gardening magazines and programmes often depict gardening in expansive country settings where all manner of styles and features can be accommodated.  However for many people living in towns and cities outdoor space is at a premium, sometimes awkwardly shaped, and often enclosed with extremes of sun or shade.  Much as I love visiting and reading about beautiful gardens in impressive estates, there is something fascinating about the challenge of accommodating greenery in much more limited spaces.  This blog focusses on ways to make the most of small outdoor spaces. Continue reading