Money really does grow on trees with the Garden Boutique affiliate scheme, launched today with webgainsThese labels are made from recycled coffee cups!This tealight chandelier looks beautiful decorated with clematisApply online at the Webgains site […]
Fri, Oct 23, 2009
Club: LANDSCAPE IDEAS
When choosing eco-friendly garden furniture, is it enough for it to be FSC certified? Should we be sticking to local materials or choosing garden furniture made from salvaged or recycled materials?Is it more sustainable to choose garden furniture made from local materials, or garden furniture made from salvaged wood?These elegant loungers are made from salvaged teakThe sustainable furniture option does not have to mean compromising on designThe teak will age elegantly over many years to a soft silver grey.No need to oil, wax or varnish.Sustainable garden furniture choices can be a minefield as there is no one right answer. Here are some simple tips to keep in mind when making your decisions…1/Buy garden furniture made from locally produced woodThere is no excuse for buying teak furniture (even if it is sustainably forested) when so much environmental damage is done shipping it halfway around the world. Choose English Oak from local managed woodland, or if you must have teak, choose furniture made from salvaged or recycled wood2/Buy recycled garden furniture, or garden furniture that is made from reclaimed materialsFurniture made from recycled or reclaimed materials is clearly the most sustainable option. Garden Boutique have a great choice of stylish […]
Sat, Mar 07, 2009
Club: LANDSCAPE IDEAS
In celebration of spring, my sister has planted up this amusing windowbox tableaux of topiary bunnies in a field of yellow ‘tete-a-tete’ daffodils.The box bunnies are still filling out their topiary frame, but are growing at such a rate that they will be mature by Easter, when the plan is the replace the faded daffodils with dwarf tulips and then parmex carrots (the short fat ones that are great for growing in windowboxes)Image courtesy of Which.co.ukwho have conducted a trial of the best carrots to grow in pots.If you are wary of box blight, teucrium x lucidrys is a great alternative for potagers and parterres. We are planting a whole estate in Nottinghamshire with teucrium instead of box, as it clips well, stays small and dense – and is very hardy.At the moment, the groups of bunnies are happily in pairs whilst a lone topiary squirrel is ostracized on the end of the scheme. I am threatening to replant it with Berberis, as I think a red squirrel might gain a higher place in her affections…I will post more pictures throughout the year as it develops. […]
Thu, Mar 05, 2009
Club: LANDSCAPE IDEAS
I have been experimenting using my favourite groundcover as a lawn. Cotula squalida, a creeping evergreen from New Zealand is one of the best performers I have come across. It makes a great alternative lawn because it reaches only 2.5cm high and is happy in a semi-shady spot.Ajuga reptans, Vinca minor, Pachysandra terminalis or Hedera helix are other good choices to carpet a shady area but I would avoid the larger leaved Ajuga ‘Caitlins Giant’ in this situationThere is no need to avoid some of the classic alternative lawns – camomile ‘Trenague’ is wonderful on the right soil, and interweaving thymes is a design classic for a reason.This lovely thyme lawn is part of Kaydale Lodge Garden in Australia but the principal works just as well in the UKIn the sunnier parts of my garden the fast-spreading Acaena microphylla is romping away. Acaena ‘Copper Carpet’ is a great choice and has made a lovely evergreen carpet in my mothers front garden (very clay soil, which only gets sun for half the day) Despite the lovely ornamental burrs which give this plant its charm, it is soft underfoot, and slightly springy. The slightly glaucus […]
Sun, Feb 15, 2009
Club: LANDSCAPE IDEAS
An ericaceous compost made from recycled green waste is finally commercially available for gardeners.The compost from Vital Earth is said to be the first of its kind on the market.It includes humite, a mineral which helps to lower and stabilise pH at around 6 – in addition to the companies popular organic, slow release fertiliser.The main ingredient of the composts is the composted green material (composted botanical residues, from licensed municipal council green waste collections).How green waste is converted into high quality organic compost using a digester After selecting and mixing the raw material to the appropriate carbon, nitrogen and moisture ratios, Vital Earth loads the mix into 40 cubic metre stainless steel digesters for a seven-day composting cycle. Air flow in the digesters – the critical element in successful composting – is directed by co-ordinated inlet and exhaust fans which are regulated by an automated control system designed specifically for the composting process. The system receives regular temperature readings from […]
Mon, Jan 26, 2009
Club: LANDSCAPE IDEAS
These fibreglass and resin garden lights are painted to look like stone. The idea is to solve that garden design quandary: how to find garden lighting that is attractive in the day?By day these lights from Joanna Wallis really are convincing in their imitation of a vintage stone globe, whilst at night the light glows through the resin and fibreglass, turning the globe into a sort of lamp.It sounds too good to be true. Finally, a solution to my pet dilemma… and you could even hide a solar panel in their rather than a bulb, so no power or wiring would be necessary.The Fibreglass and resin shell is pretty convincing in the daylightBut whilst the painted fibreglass/resin shell makes a suprisingly accurate immiation of vintage stone sculptural accents, it just looks wrong for a stone pillar to light up at night -and dare I say it…. rather tacky.But at night, it just looks silly and terribly cheap…It really is an interesting idea to try and create a cameleon form of lighting that is camouflagued in daylight – or even one that draws attention to itself as a different sculptural focal point in the daytime. I’m looking forward […]
Mon, Jan 26, 2009
Club: LANDSCAPE IDEAS
Luxury garden accessories store Garden Boutique are giving away a FREE POCKET GARDEN with every order over £30…Supplied in a sealed leak-proof bag the Pocket Garden contains specially formulated compost and seeds that once cut open, just require water to germinate allowing them to grow a beautiful houseplant. And the best news is that all the compost used is permitted by the Soil Association and is PEAT FREE!There are some lovely eco-friendly garden products on the site including oak dibbers, bumble bee nesters, sundials made from recycled coffee cups and rain chains… but of course, I am biased […]
Wed, Jan 21, 2009
Club: LANDSCAPE IDEAS
A dramatic light installation inspired by Australia’s Red Desert can be seen in Cornwall.As the artist Bruce Munro explains “I wanted to create a field of light stems, that like the dormant seed in a dry desert would quietly wait until darkness falls, and then under a blazing blanket of southern stars bloom with gentle rhythms of light. One’s attention is thus drawn to the nature that surrounds the installation as well as the field of light itself.”The installation has 6,000 acrylic stems, 11 external projectors – and uses more than 24,000 meters of fibre-optic cable to create the Field of LightIt got me thinking about ways of adding winter interest in the garden – and how the short days and darkness are an exciting inspiration for my own garden. Just imagine being enticed out into the cold crisp night by a sea of lights – with the scent of witch hazel and daphne still in the air…I love to combine the spidery flowers of Hamamelis with winter aconites and Narcissus ‘February Gold’ with the fluffy flowers of Cornus mas in the background – although I have just designed a planting scheme which uses the more vibrant red […]
Wed, Jan 07, 2009
Club: LANDSCAPE IDEAS
Sylvia raised an interesting point, that so much of the garden lighting that looks beautiful at night can look pretty dire in the daytime. A very good point – which is why most lighting designers go to such lengths to show the effect of light whilst hiding the source.But if you are trying to create a light sculpture, is it possible to design something that looks good during the day too?I wonder if inspiration can be taken from Fiona Heron and her glass sculptures…Golden Dew – Wolfgang and Heron A range of individually-made flower sculptures. Hand blown glass heads on steel stems for the garden. £75 for groups of 5 Could these be adapted to become solar lights at night without loosing their essential translucent beauty?I first came across the work of Wolfgang and Heron at Westonbirt Festival of the Garden 2004. I’ll have a root through my photos because the images on their site really don’t do the beauty of the garden justice. Blocks of deschampsia and then stipa gigantea are overlaid with a grid of silver birch – with these glass sculptures glinting in the light. It was a garden of […]
Wed, Jan 07, 2009
Club: LANDSCAPE IDEAS
The largest green wall in Britain had been unveiled at the new Leamouth Peninsula development in London’s Docklands. Covering over 820sq metres, it covers an area larger than 3 tennis courts!To learn about the insulating and financial benefits of installing a green wall, see my recent posting ‘How your garden can help you cut down on your heating bills”PATRICK BLANC – GREEN WALL EXPERTThe green wall is the first UK commission for French designer Patrick Blanc who is famous for his vertical planting and green walls. After training as a Botanist, Patrick studied plants growing on rock faces and tree trunks in the wild to develop his ‘murs végétaux’. He found plants could do without soil and were happy to grow vertically as long as they had a steady supply of water and nutrients.You can find out more about Patrick Blanc and his Vertical Gardens by visiting his websiteThe idea of green walls and vertical plantings has really taken off, and green walls can now be seen all over the world.HOW PATRICK BLANCS GREEN WALL WORKSPlants are rooted in a layer of felt laid onto PVC sheeting, which is then stapled to a metal frame attached […]
Mon, Jan 05, 2009
Club: LANDSCAPE IDEAS
I came across the brilliant ‘Grow your own’ Greenhouse at the 2008 RCA Design Products graduation show…The Greenhouse is a complete, hassle free and self-sufficient growing system for small city gardens and roof terraces.As the designer Jochem Faudet explains:’Food is one of our most basic needs, but in western society the knowledge of growing fruit and vegetables in your own garden is no longer a part of everyday live. There are many reasons why people do not grow their own vegetables, often due to a shortage of time, lack of space and the effort needed to learn the skills to grow your own food not being seen as worthwhile. On the other hand there are so many advantages to growing your own vegetables, a delicious and intense taste compared to supermarket vegetables, the enjoyment of watching your own plants growing, the money it saves, and the reassuring knowledge of self-sufficiency.’The fantastic thing about this ‘This Grow Your Own’ is that although it is comparable with a small greenhouse, it is actually very different… It comes as a complete hassle free self-sufficient system, including a watering system, ventilation, temperature control, shading, allowance for different pot sizes and even […]
Thu, Dec 11, 2008
Club: LANDSCAPE IDEAS
Species tulips may be smaller than hybrid tulips, but they are also tougher – and create a stunning show year after year. In a recent article for The Times I wanted to show that there is a species tulip that will be happy in every garden (even clay!) so there is no excuse not to add these lovely bulbs to your planting scheme.Tulips are often considered ephemeral in the garden, and it’s true that many hybrid tulips decline in vigour after the first year, whilst others seem to keep going indefinitely… Species tulips, however, are reliable year upon year, often naturalising and setting seed to produce drifts of flowers that actually improve over the years……Rock gardens have typically been the best place to grow species tulips because they emulate their natural habitat in the wild, but they are not the only situation in which these diminutive gems will flourish.Species tulips for Pots and containersTulipa greigii starts flowering in March. The dwarf flowering habit and large decorative leaves make for stunning displays in window boxes and containers. Try combining Tulipa greigii ‘Red Riding Hood’ with winter pansies and trailing ivy for a late-winter show stopper. I also like T. humilis […]
Fri, Nov 28, 2008
Club: LANDSCAPE IDEAS
Why is it that when clearing a garden lawn, so many landscapers feel the need to dig up the lawn and cart it away to a tip, only to import tonnes of topsoil for the new planting beds?Inverting turfs to create soil and planting areas is a traditional method of gardening that seems to have been forgotten.If you are stripping a lawn, perhaps to include more planting, or to make your garden less work to maintain, you want to try and reuse your turf within the garden.One of the simplest ways to reuse your spare turf is to invert it in the bottom of a planting bed and cover it with soil. By doing this, you will allow the turf to break down under the soil to form lovely humus.You will save money(as you will not have to buy in topsoil)but most importantly, you will not loose your lovely garden worms. […]
Mon, Nov 24, 2008
Club: LANDSCAPE IDEAS
Garden Designers are always looking for ways to return water to the ground naturally through infiltration back into the ground, rather than sending it off into storm drains.Many are taking up the challenge to ‘disconnect the downpipes’ to prevent water ending up in underground drains. By disconnecting your downpipes, you can store water in a rainwater butt for use in the garden, channel it off to top up a water feature, or use it to irrigate your garden planters directly.One of my favourites tricks is to use a traditional Japanese-style rain chain, or kusari doi.Lily Rain Chains are one of the most popular designsRain Chains break the fall of the water from the roof, guiding it visibly downward to the ground, or into a rain barrel for storage. Image courtesy of Re-nest.comRain Chains are usually made from copper as this doesn’t rust, and acquires a lovely verdigris finish. Copper rain chains are an elegant and functional alternative to traditional closed metal or plastic downspouts and are becoming increasingly popular in the UK and USAThere are an excellent selection of Rain Chain available at UK Garden accessories supplier Garden Boutique and at RainChains.com or Gutter Supply in the USARain […]
Mon, Nov 10, 2008
Club: LANDSCAPE IDEAS
From 1 October 2008, new planning legislation for front gardens has come into place.Anyone wanting to cover more than 5 square metres of their front garden with a non-permeable surface will have to obtain planning permission.This new legislation has come into force to try and tackle the problem of flooding in the UK.In many urban areas, homeowners have removed hedges, grass and plants and replaced them with some form of hard-standing to provide a parking space, or to reduce maintenance requirements. In some places whole roads no longer have any front garden, just paving for cars.Climate change scientists predict an increase in the number and intensity of extreme storms over the next few decades and the flooding in the Midlands and north of England in 2007 highlighted problems with estimates as high as two thirds of […]
Mon, Nov 03, 2008
Club: LANDSCAPE IDEAS