Friday, 23 October 2015


I like quirky gardens.

And I like things in them which make me smile.

Nice to know sometimes I am on the same wavelength as the owners.

Think they were Wind in the Willows fans?

This little gem could have been easily missed in the luscious and abundant planting, but like all good gardens attention to detail matters.

Lots of themed rooms in this garden and all very different, from floorscape to planting. 

Secluded seating, a summer house, a bog garden and a dry garden all added to its charm.

Another of my late summer visits, I especially enjoyed the colour and form counterpoints in the mixed planting which added visual impact to each plant. 

Heleniums and Nigella

with Eryngium

Crocosmia and Verbena bonariensis

Opening a private garden to visitors is very revealing.

This one I loved. 

Everyone needs a smile and a bit of quirky now and then.

And cake.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Gardened out?

You could well be gardened out before too long but here goes.......

This was another interesting one. A private garden, but one which regularly opens under the auspices of the NGS.

From early beginnings in 1990 the owners have built, not only a super garden, acquired more land, extended their home but cleverly built all the structures in the garden themselves. 

Definitely has the wow factor !

It's not just the structures that have impact but the planting has too.

Romantic views from one room to the next encourage exploration. But how cool is this view?

Three lots of water features, a mammoth pergola, summer house, artisan's retreat............the list is endless. 

Just maintaining the garden looks like a full time job and a real labour of love.

Look at the floorscape under the pergola.

And the still pool with Roman portico

The list is long................ and goes on.

And so I hope does the garden.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Walkie Talkie and Sky Garden

The Walkie Talkie building

has come in for a deal of criticism - not least by the broadsheets who gave it a very sniffy review. 

Perhaps they were right, as it's just received the doubtful accolade for the worst architecturally designed building in London.

But whatever its perceived faults in architectural terms, one cannot deny the stunning views from the top floors or the technical challenges of the planting.

And at what economic cost were these floors not developed as either retail or office space - or even residential?

The height and shape is stunning and competes with The Shard for excess and command of the skyline. Even better than the Shard is that entry is free, but a pre-booking must be made. 

Looking down on The Shard from across the Thames

You're so high that planes coming into land at London airport are scarily on the same level 

Breathtaking is an often overdone word but this simply is.

But for me it's the planting that steals the show. Just look at this.

And this

Can you imagine hauling planting medium and full sized trees up 34 stories?

And then setting up the watering and heating to ensure everything thrives and remains healthy.

If you want a special treat and a daytime view of London, book into one of the restaurants for lunch. An evening meal is just as spectacular with the twinkling lights of London as the magical backdrop.

But for a simple visit as part of your London trip, you can do no better than just sit and enjoy the view.

It's a very special place with a great ambience.

Is this what's meant by Urban Jungle?

Saturday, 3 October 2015

September colour

Maybe now is the time to look at late colour in the garden to help brighten the lengthening days and dispel a little of the post summer gloom. 

There are some local gardens which do this really well; for example, 

RHS Harlow Carr

Breezy Knees, and the incomparable 

Scampston Hall

Always take inspiration and ideas from the experts!

Whilst at RHS Wisley this year I treated myself to a couple of plants (well, more than a couple actually) the stunning Rehmannia Walberton's Magic Dragon being one. 
                       Not easy coming back on the train with this giant!

This was one of the plants in the running for 2015 Plant of the Year award and it's easy to see why.

  Mine has flowered prolifically from May and is scheduled to continue to do so into late Autumn.

There are lots of herbaceous perennials which are late flowerers and good doers. 

Depending on your soil type, site, colour or shape preferences and with a little bit of research you can always find a plant to fit the bill.

Echinaceas and asters are my personal favourites.

Echinacea purpurea 'Black Samson'
Aster frikartii 'Monch'

            Or if you like drama and zingy combinations, how about this one?

Agastache 'Black Adder' with Monarda 'Panorama'

Or try

Tiger Lily

Which will flower in September and October.

Or maybe a collection of reds and oranges a la Christopher Lloyd?

Centranthus ruber 'Coccineus'
Gaillardia aristata

Crocosmia 'Star of the East'
That's got to cheer up any dark day.

So................. get out your gardening books and start making plans now!!!!!!!