Guy

A landscaper and plantsman turned self employed to offer you Innovative garden design.

Jun 222014
 

WHOOOWHAAA…….this feels like sound i should have been making over the last few months as i have been riding the busiest rollacoaster of work i have yet known! I think, although it has been a blur, that it has been 3 months since i have stopped to think, eat a proper meal and not been looking at this computer screen until late at night.

It was last night walking around my own garden when i stopped at the first Echinacea flower emerging to think – ‘Already, that’s early for the beginning of June’,…..err, nope, June 21st has come, been celebrated and gone! Wow that came round quick and the best thing, i have got to share it for the first time with our little daughter! What a joy.

So enough of this…i thought a few pictures to share of what and where we have been doing it over the last few months.

 

31 st luke rd areas final shadows

This is a concept presented this week to a client after our first consultation. We have been commissioned to go ahead with it and shall be looking forward to building it in the autumn.

Cheltenham plants and landscaping

Now in its second full year of growth I just had to stop and grab a picture of this planting in central Cheltenham we did a few years ago the other day

Original Carl Linnaeus

As part of the Young Horticulturalist of the Year competition, we were shown around the John Innes library and got to see these original copies of Carl Linnaeus’ Sspecies Plantarum

Cheltenham garden Alliums

We plant a lot of Alliums. They are a cheap and effective way to add a bit of colour before the season and rest of the garden has got fully going.

Wild spring flowers, Gloucestershire

On a family day out we went to visit the rather eccentrically built Broadway tower. You can see 16 counties from the top. These Buttercups and Hawthorns were spectacular.

Broadway tower

The family

Gifts while working in a garden

Bank holiday treats – While working on one of the May bank holidays these wonderful clients brought me out a treat….

Large Cheltenham Patio

We also had fun building this large patio.

Young Horticulturalist of The Year – West Midlands and South Wales 2014

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Mar 202014
 

Winner!

Last week I took part in the final of the regional Young Horticulturalist and WON! So now i get to take part in the Grand Final; in Norwich against the other finalists from all over Great Britain. The competition is open to anyone over under the age of 30 on July 31st of this year. There were 2000 applicants nationwide and 8, including me, are in the Grand final.

The regional final took place at Pershore college and took form of a question directed or open, buzzer controlled, on a general range of horticultural subjects. There were also a couple of identification rounds, one plant identification and one pest and disease. There were two points on offer per question. The grand final is much the same format however, the winner receives  a £2000 travel bursary to study plants where every they may choose. Here are some pictures from the evening.

Scoreboard

YHOY Winner Cheltenham reduced

In height order

The competition Cheltenham garden

The finalists

YHOY Cheltenham garden design

Identification round

‘He’ll get the birch’

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Dec 242013
 

Not a punishment for speeeling errors in my homework, or a flagellated Scandinavian loosening of the pores in the sauna but sleeping beauties from Stone Lane Gardens  have arrived.

We have all seen white Betula utilis (Himalayan birches) in fancy office block car parks, show gardens, designer magazines or public gardens. If you have not, then start looking as you move about the internet or the built environment and you shall see them. They’re wide spread use is because these ARE GREAT TREES. Lovely bark in the winter, an open and not too spreading a canopy and roots not so demanding that they prevent the growth of all but nettles underneath them making them perfect for the garden. Their timescale fits with ours too…

Yes trees are great, but in most cases we plant for posterity and enjoy the labours of those before us. However, birches look their best in our timescale. The trees photographed below are 7-12 years from planting and will reach their best around 25 years. This is, for the average tenure of a homeowner just perfect. Sold? I’ll plant you another white multi-stemmed birch….BUT WAIT, there is a new way.

From recent seed collections in China and the Himalayas we now have access to trees with a wider range of colours. These pictures below were taken at the the national collection and my supplier ‘s garden, Stone Lane. I have spoken to those who have seen forests of these trees in the wild and I can onvly enviously imagine that it must be one of natures grandest sites.

In the latest planting we are planting groves to subtly shift in colour from orange through to red and then to pink to back a large pond.

Stone lane birches

Stone lane birches

B. Mt Luoji

B. Mt Luoji

Landscape gardeners Cheltenham

B. ‘Forest Blush’

Garden designers in cheltenham

B ‘China Rose’

Cheltenham landscapers

Betula seedlings showing natural variation

Quarel with my Quarry – A rocking Yorkshire adventure

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Nov 062013
 

Sadly, one of the most exciting projects i have been involved with this year i cannot share with you. A wretched but necessary Non Disclosure Agreement was agreed. It has been very exciting….however, i can share with you my latest adventure to Yorkshire. In this secret garden there are some massive two ton lumps of York stone which, when we built the garden a few years ago were craned in. Now the garden needs updating and some smaller stones adding to it. Unfortunately there is no crane so we have to carry them through the house, into the lift and out into the garden. To ensure we have stones of a suitable match which are manageable I went to the same quarry which gave birth to the originals – http://www.randandasquith.co.uk/ up in Yorkshire.

After a tour around the yard we went to the quarry, I was shown a very, very big pile of rocks and told to help myself. It took two days to pick out seven of them.

Garden designers Gloucestershire

The dressing yard. This lot was off to Bath.

Err...I want the one at the back please

Err…I want the one at the back please

Garden designers Cheltenham

A 40 ton hand

Landscape gardeners Gloucestershire

‘We’re not afraid of a bit of stock,’ he told me

Cheltenham landscape gardeners

The collection of leftovers was amazing. These bull-nosed steps are now waiting in my lockup for the right project

Gardeners in Cheltenham

‘Mud, we do rocks and mud,’ the foreman says to me after i step in a big squashy lump of it

 

 

Sep 132013
 

We get asked a lot, when is it best to plant? A lot depends on the site and what you are planting but in general September….and this is what we have been doing. Check out the pictures we have been taking of our garden below, showcasing the landscaping by Allscapes WA, its becoming my favorite place to be.

Why? As the plant begins to go dormant, the sap travels down the plant and into the roots. This stimulates root growth as the plant invests the energy it has created through the year. With the ground still warm from the summer, the air cooler and the autumn rains, which slakes the garden as i write, it is the perfect time to plant and get a bigger and more established for the following season. So we have been planting in oxford and post some pictures. Of course you can plant at any time of the year but it means you have to be more assiduous with watering if done in the summer and gain no root growth benefit if you plant from November onwards.

York stone paving, Iroko screen and tree ferns

York stone paving, Iroko screen and tree ferns

Cheltenham garden designer

York stone paving, pleached Hornbeams and Stipa meadow

Cheltenham garden

Curved brick walls and tree ferns

Cheltenham lightwell garden

Inside out

Reference: Los Angeles residential paving options.

Oxford landscaping and Cheltenham wild flower meadow part 2

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Jul 062013
 

In early spring we planted this meadow on a front, roadside, garden for our client, the business owner of Skilled Fencing. The ground was very moss rich grass, which was difficult to mow and offered no privacy. Our solution was to plant, what we call a ‘pseudo wild flower meadow’. This is taking garden perennials, planting them among grass and letting the grass grow, which gives this meadow like effect. The advantage is that these plants flower for longer than true wild flower species, which we also sowed a healthy dose of at the same time.

I love it, both the asthetic and the habitat it provides. Lots of the european Barn Funnel weaver spiders had made homes in the grass and bees were working the clover, the single most important nectar source for them. As a brief aside, there is nothing more important that we can do for the health of the planet and to mitigate our impact upon it than to provide a diverse habitat by managing the flora to enable the wider fauna to  flourish in it.

AND – This only took one man, one day to do…!

Battledown, Cheltenham meadow....

A heavy duty scarify twice to remove the moss first…

Battledown, Cheltenham meadow…..

Battledown, Cheltenham meadow wild flower seed

Wildflower seed sown and raked into the exposed ground

Battledown, Cheltenham meadow

This Astrantia has been flowering for two months now, look how well it sits in the grass.

Battledown, Cheltenham meadow...

View over Cleeve hill

Battledown, Cheltenham wildflower meadow..

Cephalaria gigantea, the bees love this plant. Usually it is 6ft tall but will be a bit smaller here with the competition of the grass keeping it down.

Battledown, Cheltenham meadow.

Behind those posts is the road and what a difference this screen makes…

It is important to stress that this approach cannot work on all soil types, but please contact us to discuss if you would like to find out more.

Oxford landscaping and Cheltenham wild flower meadow part 1

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Jul 062013
 

The summer has arrived and this morning sees me and her going to Mold, north Wales, for a friends wedding, but before we go i wanted to share these pictures from our gardening in and around Cheltenham…..and Oxford!

First up we have a pic from some terracing we designed for a basement extension in Oxford. There shall be many more pics and explanations to come from this garden once we have done the planting in September, but for now just a this pic of these walls.

Oxford terracing

Oxford terrace.

Recent landscaping and gardening around Cheltenham

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Jun 202013
 

Too long, too long between posts. We have been extremely busy with longer than usual spring fever. Some interesting projects going on in Cheltenham, Oxford and London which means we will be able to update the landscaping project’s page soon. So i thought the best i could do would be to add some photo’s from recent travels and work. As ever these are straight out of the camera, not time to edit.

Cheltenham gardens

Too long, too long between posting. We have been extremely busy with a longer than usual spring fever. Some interesting project going on which means we will be able to update the landscaping project’s page soon. So i thought the best i could do would be to add some photo’s from recent travels. As ever these are straight out of the camera, not time to edit.

Cheltenham landscape gardeners

Bought from a market in its native island, Shikoku – Japan, Arisaema sikokianum. What magical flowers.

Cheltenham gardeners

Part of our increasing even work we made these planter for Let’s Rent opening office party. Some more coming up for the Cheltenham music fesitval.

Cheltenham landscapers

Chelsea flower show – i liked this detail and what show gardens allow you to do. In the artisan/small gardens there always seems to be some beautifully artistic yet completely structurally deficient arrangement of dry stone walling. I liked this.

Cheltenham landscape architect

See – root’s don’t grow downwards but outwards. It took me a long time to get this, but how beautifully shown here!

Landscape gardeners cheltenham

And we planted some Jasmine in a London garden.

Cheltenham garden design

If your still reading here is a garden we go to regularly and this year i think we have won. It is starting to look really good and i think we will have some open days next year. This moment, however, if a quick one in spring. Don’t blink!

Cheltenham garden designers

This will be a beautiful curved terrace and steps for a basement extension in Oxford. I shall be back on site soon to take some more pictures. Check back to see them.

May 162013
 

We are asked to help beautify the Cheltenham Jazz Festival in return for some publicity….so we did this…

A piano plant party

A piano plant party

Garden designers in Cheltenham

Wall flowers, Brunera and Euphorbia ‘Silver Swan’

Cheltenham Garden designers

Daisy for the flats

Cheltenham gardeners

Amelanchier lamarkii

Cheltenham Landscapers

Early hours

Landscapers gardeners Cheltenham

Plant palette – Brunnera, Dicentra (bleeding heart) and a favourite foliage plant for Chelsea flower show gardens, Cynara (Globe thistle)