Halfway post – 2016

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Jun 132016
 

Now just 12 days off of the solstice and i thought it was about time to update this blog as everyone is sleeping in, a rarity with two children under two.

As ever, we have been engaged in a range of projects from contemporary to the very traditional, everywhere in between and even a private playground. It has also been nice to see some of our bigger commissions from the last few years filling out and looking really lush this year. I offer some pictures of where we have been and what we have been doing.

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Cornus kousa, atop of the wildflower meadow atop the best garden playground in Cheltenham.

Our party trick. Burying trampolines. We have done it a couple of times. It is always much more work than you appreciate but so effective.

Our party trick – burying trampolines. We have done it a couple of times. It is always much more work than you appreciate but so effective.

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Work continues at Yelford Manor. Here the patio is starting to settle in.

A close up of our attention to detail stone work.

A close up of our attention to detail stone work.

This is a transition area in a garden in Cheltenham between the edible and the ornamental garden. Deliberately loose. Forest garden style.

This is a transition area in a garden in Cheltenham between the edible and the ornamental garden. Deliberately loose. Forest garden style, you can see Rhubarb, mixing with Chives and Rosemary. Valeriana officinalis used here as an ornamental.

Apr 062015
 

Part of my extraordinary enjoyment in this work is the wonderful places it takes me. I have been lucky enough to see some not many do and that many would like to. A recent project has made a new entry into my top ten work places. We are implementing the first phase in what i hope will become a multi layered garden landscape built considerately over a few years.

 

Chris loves his job nearly as much as me

Chris loves his job nearly as much as me

Moody morning in the garden

Moody morning in the garden

Unloading some native specimen trees

Unloading some native specimen trees

Top right; a solar eclipse. These don't expose too well on a phone

Top right; a solar eclipse. These don’t expose too well on a phone

 

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

 Cheltenham garden, Cheltenham gardeners, Landscapers in Cheltenham, Uncategorized  Comments Off on Young Horticulturalist of The Year – West Midlands and South Wales 2014
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

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.

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)

Somethings did grow last year

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Apr 062013
 

It is a such a treat to  get pictures of past landscape garden design and build projects that I don’t get to visit and one such e-mail landed in my box this week. These pictures from last year were accompanied with nice words such as;

  • I thought you might appreciate a few photos of how well the garden did last year. Those early photos on your web site, a few plants, low in the ground, with a lot of space between them, have been joyfully superceded.
  • The Eryngium got into a survival battle with the washing line; the eryngium won, I made other, temporary, arrangements for the washing.
  • The Estate Agent who originally sold me the house came to have an ‘advisory’ look round, and was very complimentary about the back garden; that it had been one of the sticking points in selling the house, but that I (ie, you) had had the  vision to see it could be so different. So,again, many thanks for a lovely garden.

Mixed summer planting

Rudbeckia laciniata ‘Herbstonne’ – A bit taller than normal here because of the weather. This is a great self supporting late flowering Rubeckia. I love its presence…

Woodland planting with Astrantia ‘Shaggy’, doing what is does for most of the summer in a cool wet place, flowering!