Apr 062015
 

It felt like time for an update of the fun we have been having through the winter. We seem to have been fortunate with the weather which has allowed us to get on with some really good work and the diary is slowly filling up with bigger and better projects for the spring and early summer.

 

Our newest member, Callum, was very happy with his first garden in Cheltenham

Our newest member, Callum, was very happy with his first garden in Cheltenham

A simple design which shall reveal itself once the summer comes

A simple design which shall reveal itself once the summer comes

A surprising scene plant buying in the West Midlands

A surprising scene plant buying in the West Midlands

Garden design cotswolds

The little one auditions for a Terry Gilliam film

 

Part way through a recent large Yorkstone patio

Part way through a recent large Yorkstone patio

An example of a recent proposal

An example of a recent proposal

The garden design for our next project

The garden design for our next project

 

Dove cottage nurseries

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Aug 162014
 

After finishing my training at RHS Wisley nearly 5 years ago, gulp, I spent some time working in rural Holland as described in other places on this site. One afternoon while busy working in the Nursery  a lovely but out of place Yorkshire lilt was audible across the beds. I said hello and spent a delightful few hours speaking with Stephen and Kim of Dove Cottage Nurseries. In short, they run a beautiful garden and nursery near Huddersfield in the naturalised style popularised by Oudolf and were travelling around Holland and west Germany to see the concentration of gardens and nurseries who work in this style. Anyway, I was invited along to see their garden and nursery should i ever be travelling nearby.

Last week a visit to a quarry took me just down the road and 4 and half years later i made the visit. The wait was worth every day and i would have waited longer. A beautiful garden run by beautiful people and a very interesting selection of plants of which some filled the hire car on the way home. Some so interesting there are probably less than 20 pots in the uk and will see their way into wider cultivation over the next few years. Hopefully we can propagate and be able to offer them to our clients.

I shall let the pictures speak for themselves, although the light was a bit problematic so some are a bit flat. if you ever get the chance make the trip. You won’t be disappointed.

Cheltenham gardeners

Nice loose borders

Landscape gardeners Stroud

Part of the garden’s effectiveness is its relation to its setting. I don’t think another form of garden would sit against the hills so well.

Garden design Cheltenham

This is the new patrina aff. punctiflora in the Molinia meadow. The Molinia meadow was the highlight of the garden but none of the photographs of this have done it justice, so i shall plant one in my new garden and show it off properly in a few years….

Dove Cottages own selection of Echinacea 'Autumn Joy' Much earlier flowering, fuller in body and of better habit than a lot of Echinacea. Tried and tested here over 5-6 years.

Dove Cottages own selection of Echinacea ‘Pink Glow’. Much earlier flowering, fuller in body and of better habit than a lot of Echinacea. Tried and tested here over 5-6 years.

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.

‘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

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.

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!

Amazing winter protection – Cycas revoluta

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Jan 312013
 

On a recent trip to Japan i visited Katsura Rikyu, the Imperial villa. Our  equivalent may be Chequers. This was my second visit to the garden and it has to be one of the best in world. I shall be posting over the next few weeks all about this trip to Japan and the others to New Zealand. However, this; in the depth of winter seemed appropriate to share first.

I cannot say what the material is made from as the translation did not come across clearly enough to understand. They use this construction to protect Cycads (Cycas revoluta). Cycads are a bit at odds with the concept that Japanese gardens are trying convey. Yet they valued the plants as gifts from and as a inference to, their more southerly islands so that in a few very traditional Japanese gardens you get these wonderful installations during the winter.

Cycas revoluta – installation guide

Cycas revoluta – Tokyo

Cycas revoluta – Katsura Rikyu, Kyoto

Cycas revoluta – Nijo-in, Kyoto

 

Nov 272012
 

When on holiday a few years ago in France we visited the Marqueyssac gardens in the Dordogne valley. Our experience was completely unexpected. These gardens mesmerized and dazzled us. Here are some great ideas for South Florida Landscape Architecture.

We had planned to go kayaking but due to the miserable weather, which was somewhat a signature of this trip, the river was in spate and we could not go. So on a cloudy and drizzly day we drove up the switch back road to a lime escarpment where the Chateaux and gardens of Marqueyssac sit.

 

The story is a familiar one. The gardens and house were created by some wealth between 1860-1890, using a licensed concrete company in Greenville. The gardens and house then became neglected after the death of their tenant and were rarely occupied. It was not until 1996 that a monsieur Kleber Rossillon started to restore the gardens in their former imagine and take them forward. In order to get this good I think the gardens needed this period of neglect to grow out of shape and create a framework which the recent restorations could work to. Never do I think that some of the forms could otherwise have been conceived. The plants would not have escaped the tightly controlled forms more normally seen in French gardening.

What there is today is a breath taking display of clipped box. The shapes and contours of the plants are interesting to look at as a whole or when inspecting just a small section. Being able to balance the macro and micro interests of a garden is, in my opinion, one of the hardest things to achieve. However, when done well, it leads to a much deeper sensory experience than a garden which has only one trick.

 

C@lipped

Because of the weather that prevented us going kayaking almost no one else was visiting the gardens, which meant the only sound was the soft applause of the rain and the sighing of the breeze. These conditions added to the atmosphere, and made me feel like I was alone in a remote and magical place.

The wet made the greens seriously vivid against the backdrop of the white and grey cloud. The views to the spectacular valley below were intermittent; offered for a fleeting moment before another curtain of cloud was draw again and our eyes locked back onto the precipice where the gardens sit.

The main spectacle is the clipped scene above. However, the garden continues through a network of paths which lead you around the escarpment drawing you on and revealing differing scenes a bit at a time. Some are gardened vistas, others what nature provides on her own. It is reminiscent of a Japanese stroll garden and is a more faithful distillation of the ideas held within a Japanese garden than lots of the faux representation you see about.

 

RSI…?

As you would expect the land is less ‘gardened’ the further you get from the house but this itself is the perfect balance to the more pre-conceived compositions from before. It helps that what work is done to these areas is intelligently applied. A sort of light manicuring of the natural vegetation and land forms which are there. This journey is sometimes punctuated with built features and even a playground which somehow does not seem incongruous.

 

The snap shot views draw you on

This was one of the best garden visits I have ever made and such a surprise. While the weather helped provide the extra sensory experience, these are truly great gardens which would provide interest from those not interested in gardens all the ay through to the most obsessive taxonomist.

The experience was an emotional as well as aesthetic one.

Composition, composition, composition

 

 

Oct 172012
 

The autumn sunshine and colours over the weekend were magnificent. I grabbed this picture from my Cheltenham garden, charlton kings. This is the view from my dining room. I do love this time of year everything is fully grown all the soft yellows and browns are shown off so nicely from the low light.

My cheltenham garden, Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’, Veronicastrum ‘Fascination’, Lythrum, Miscanthus ”Herman mussel’, et al

Oct 042012
 

Always concentrating on the job at hand means i very rarely remember to record the work. Here a client very kindly recorded a tree being felled in his Cheltenham Garden.

The client had decided that it was a time for a change in their Tivoli garden, Cheltenham and wanted to remove a group of conifers. They kindly the filmed the final moments of the largest one. This fell was a little difficult as any errors meant their Cheltenham house would get damaged. So accuracy was paramount! Fortunately we got it right and the tree went exactly where we wanted. Now we are to replant with a selection of deciduous shrubs and replace the plants against the fence with some evergreen screening.