I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling utterly demoralised by the frequent news stories on the continued degradation of the natural world. From the shocking levels of plastic pollution in our seas to the now obvious signs of climate change, and industrial scale destruction of habitats, it’s hard to avoid feeling hopeless about the planet’s current and future state. While it is clear that addressing these issues will require major policy changes on the part of governments and a shift in culture from big business I do believe that individuals can also make a difference by becoming more engaged and changing their own habits.
When the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) announced that after many years of searching for a suitable site it would be establishing a new garden in the North-West of England, I was over the moon. Despite having been a member for several years I have never actually visited an RHS garden so the prospect of having one on the doorstep, relatively speaking, was cause for celebration. The news that the RHS was offering members the chance to tour the Bridgewater site while under development was an opportunity not to be missed. So earlier this week myself, and my garden designer friend of The Cheshire Garden, headed off up the motorway to see what was in store, and we were not disappointed!
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
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.
I have a confession to make. Despite my love of all things green and leafy, historically I have been pretty hopeless with houseplants. They are generally to be found looking slightly sad on windowsills around our home having been either over or under watered, under fed and left in their too small pots for too long (maybe ‘a sadness of houseplants should be the collective noun). However, when one of my favourite local coffee shops announced they were taking over the unit next door to open a plant shop, naturally it piqued my interest.