April 2020 has been a full month of pandemic lockdown in the UK. The garden has been a genuine haven during this time – a place to relax, play with our little boy, and dry the seemingly endless laundry! At odds with April’s reputation for showers and unpredictable weather, it’s been almost wall-to-wall sunshine which has been a blessing, and such a contrast with the endless rain of February. I had always aimed to focus on the details of the garden with this project, but lockdown has brought a greater intensity, and I have used this as a thinly veiled excuse to buy a new macro lens for my camera. Some early attempts at using it are included but expect more from that as the year progresses.Continue reading
After a none too subtle hint (i.e. an email with a url) one of my Christmas presents was a book called ‘Green Escapes: The Guide to Secret Urban Gardens’ by Dr Toby Musgrave. It was published earlier this year and I’d clocked it in a gardening magazine and filed it away as a potential giftette for when the question came. It seemed like suitable gift material – something you want but somehow cannot justify buying for yourself. Now I have my sticky little paws on it I thought I’d share a few initial thoughts on whether it meets expectations.
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