Garden Design

  • They call me mellow yellow

    I used to have a serious problem with yellow. As a colour for clothes, for home decor and – most of all – in the garden. Even daffodils were banned. Somehow it seemed too cheery, too bright and, by association, just a little bit tacky and common. I was a sunshine snob. It’s...
  • Love your greens

    How do you feel about your garden in winter? If you look out of the window and find it dreary, uninteresting – a bit mournful, even – it’s probably because it lacks structure. Good structure is a really important component of successful garden design, and comes in a number of...
  • Boxing clever

    Like so many gardeners, I’m a huge fan of box. Its neat, clipped form brings classic elegance and structure all year round – especially welcome in winter, when the bones of a garden are what really matter. A dusting of frost gives a shapely group of box balls a bewitching...
  • Beech hedging

    I’ve recently planted a beech hedge, which my wife has had in her mind for a while, just 10 days ago. We had an area of mown grass that was not really doing anything surrounded on three sides by borders, with a variety of flowers and shrubs. However, one end...
  • Five of the best Plants for a Garden in May

    The quince tree (Cydonia oblonga)  has to be my favourite fruit blossom. It's not quite pink, single flowers are unusually large, five-petalled and are held proud from reflexed, pale green leaves. Stunning. Laburnum trees live up to their common name of The Golden Chain Tree right now. Their extraordinary luminous...
  • It is a BEAUTIFUL Lawn... but where is the grass?

    There is no doubt about it but lawns occupy a special place in the hearts of most UK gardeners - especially male ones. That stretch of closely cropped grass sets off herbaceous borders, is the site of vicious games of croquet and more considerate games of bowls. Apparently they have...
  • All About Alliums...

    Alliums start flowering in mid-May and, depending on your variety, continue to do so from to the end of July with their lovely, frozen firework flowers. Alliums have become very "de jour" because their colours range from steely metallic shades to the deepest, velvety purple and because their perfect circular...
  • Thorny issues

    More and more frequently communities are gated, electric gates installed, and iron railings sharpened. All no doubt sensible security measures but how about considering a much cheaper alternative to all of this hardware? We suggest a thorny hedge, alive with prickles and scratchy bits so that no self-respecting intruder (unless...
  • Gardens at their best in May

    Dorothy Clive Woodland Gardens in May Gardens are breaking into bloom all over the country and it's hard to pick just three, but Picton Castle in Pembrokeshire is bursting out into magnolias, azaleas and camellias, without mentioning Old Port, the ginormous rhododendron, the walled garden and the bluebell woods. The...
  • Using Copper foliage in the garden (...and why it is it copper anyway?)

    Black elder in flower Contemporary gardeners often use dark colours…look how the ‘Queen of the Night’ tulip has become ubiquitous, or the black grass Ophiopogon planiscarpens nigrescens (I don’t know how to pronounce it either)…pops up in urn plantings or as a contrast to pale paving. There is something fascinating...

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