Choosing trees for a small garden

Trees can add instant height, structure and several seasons of interest to a garden but choosing a tree for a small garden takes careful consideration.  July is not the best month for planting if you can avoid it because the soil is dry and temperatures higher and these add to the stress of the plant when the roots are...

Why Style matters in the garden

I wrote in a recent blog post about spaces to sit and relax in your garden and July is the ideal time to take a good look round and decide if the layout and planting still suit your likes and lifestyle.  If you are considering making changes, whether a bit of replanting, replacing an ageing pergola or a more...

Gardening trends – where is gardening going?

Predicting the future and fashion trends is something of a mug’s game but I am interested in the general direction of travel for gardening; not the cat walk world of show garden design but the role of gardening in people’s lives and communities.  Over the last few years I have seen three influences develop that can complement and combine...

Garden design – the practicalities

Winter is a time to think about any changes you may want to make to your garden layout for next summer and there are some key practical questions to be answered before you get onto the creative, artistic part of the project.I always advise people to look at gardens, large and small, for inspiration to discover a style that...

What is hard landscaping in the garden for?

November can be a dank and drear month not very conducive to pottering in the garden but it is a good time to evaluate the overall layout of your garden, free from the fluff of foliage and flowers.  A key element of the layout of a garden is hard landscaping so this month’s ‘garden ponder’ is What is hard landscaping...

Parterres & Knots – still relevant today?

Parterres and knot gardens date from the 16th century in France and England respectively and are usually associated with National Trust properties and other large country houses.  In fact the photograph shows one half of the impressive Parterre Garden at National Trust Cliveden House in Buckinghamshire   However they have a lot to offer the modern gardener and with...

Does your garden need a message?

I spent a day at the Hampton Court Flower Show in July and have since been pondering the question “does your (or my) garden need a message?”.  Readers of this column will know that I am a firm believer in looking at other gardens for ideas whether these are permanent gardens or show installations.  One of the key differences...

Shadow Play with Plants

Bright sunny days make for delightful garden visiting but for an amateur photographer like me, inexpertly using a smartphone camera, the exaggerated contrast between sun and shade is quite a challenge.  So on a few recent occasions I have searched out planting that deliberately accentuates shadows for decorative effect and taken some rather neat photographs.Of course, in the UK...

Make the best of summer bedding

Pastel or hot colours? Try out colour schemes before committing to permanent planting.Many gardening columns will be talking about summer bedding plants as we reach the start of May and are able to plant out half hardies with confidence.  I have written on this topic before and this time I am encouraging you to expand your view of what...

Brighten up January with summer flowers

Hot colours for a summer bedding schemeWinter gardening articles abound with sparkling images of snow covered trees and frosted grasses and today in Kent was just one of those days but the reality is more often just dank and cold offering little incentive to venture outside.  How much better to do your ‘gardening’ inside this month and cheer yourself...