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.
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.
Work continues at Yelford Manor. Here the patio is starting to settle in.
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, you can see Rhubarb, mixing with Chives and Rosemary. Valeriana officinalis used here as an ornamental.
I sit in the office reflecting on the year. We are two employees stronger, 5 in total and i have another heir with Floyd John Jones being born in a rush on the night of 19/9/15. We are in a good place. The order book is full until April with a series of diverse, challenging and interesting projects. While we are in the process of finishing off some of our best work to date.
Below are some pictures of works over the last few months and i thank you for taking the time to look at this blog while wishing you the festive best and an enjoyable 2016.
A stone wall built to match recent extension. Lewis installing some lights for us before adding to the existing paving.
This un-prompted compliment was most welcome
A mixed selection of York stone cut by hand on site to minimise the jointing gap. Limestone cobbles sourced on site.
Looks so shiny after cleaning
There was a bank of grass. The designer had the idea to make stone risers and grass treads. We found these cills from an old Mill House in Halifax which seem to have done the job perfectly. I think this is one of the best and most interesting things we have ever built.
‘5 men went to lay, went to lay a meadow’. Not a true wildflower meadow but a pictorial meadow as seen at the Olympic Park.
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.
The dressing yard. This lot was off to Bath.
Err…I want the one at the back please
A 40 ton hand
‘We’re not afraid of a bit of stock,’ he told me
The collection of leftovers was amazing. These bull-nosed steps are now waiting in my lockup for the right project
‘Mud, we do rocks and mud,’ the foreman says to me after i step in a big squashy lump of it
UncategorizedComments Off on Recent landscaping and gardening around Cheltenham
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.
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.
Bought from a market in its native island, Shikoku – Japan, Arisaema sikokianum. What magical flowers.
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.
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.
See – root’s don’t grow downwards but outwards. It took me a long time to get this, but how beautifully shown here!
And we planted some Jasmine in a London garden.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Last weekend I went for my first Alpine mountain biking experience and it was brilliant. The trip was organised by all round good guy Grant Roberts – http://www.thesportsspecialist.co.uk/ a friend of mine from Haslemere. Mounting biking in the Alps is a far superior sport to mountain biking around Haslemere. If i had grown up near the trails which we had the privilege to ride, in France and Switzerland, i think i would have had a few more broken collar bones than our teenage trips to ‘Marley Common’ allowed instead of just demo a mountain bike in South Lake Tahoe.
Grant doing his first road gap
Unwittingly and brilliantly Grant had organised this trip at the same time that a lot of the alpine flora was at its best. I managed to sneak in a hike to have a pedestrian look at it. The hill sides were quite remarkable to explore. These pictures are rather insulting to the beauty i found there, but none the less i would like to share them with you. The sheer diversity of flowering plants within small areas of ground was arresting. What was also interesting to note was the variation of flowers between neighbouring plants of the same species and how different these can be to the forms in cultivation. My eyes have only really become sensitive to this, over the last growing season.
Obvious variation of Lupins
Rhinanthus minor - This plant is a parasitic of grasses. It reduces their vigour and allows for the more gentle flowering plants to grow. It can and should be used in wildflower meadows in the UK to help keep grasses from taking over.
Persicaria bistorta meadow at its peak. This area was about 10 acres and completely covered in these blooms
Veratrum album - a swine to cultivate but worth a try for the foliage alone.
Scabiosa lucida - a really dark form, note the paler one behind.
Due to technical issues our contact form has not been working for the last week.
If you have tried to contact us via this I am sorry i have not responded. Also my mobile phone as ceased to function at the sametime and i shall be contactable only via the e-mail on the ‘contact page‘ for the time being.