Sandhurst Garden Design

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Monthly column Up the Garden Path featured in The Conduit Magazine, talking show gardens and all things garden design.

It is at this time of the year gardeners reap the rewards of having given their borders a good mulch last Autumn and early in the spring. Now is the time the plants come to their glorious peek of scent and colour, fed by all that goodness and boy, how good for the soul it is!

In mid-April we visited family in Kent and took the opportunity to go to Arundel Castle Tulip Festival.

Digitalis or foxgloves are another of my favourite plants. I love to see them growing wild in the countryside amongst hedgerows or in the dappled shade of a wood and confess, I cannot get enough of them in my own garden.

Spring is in the air; the days are getting longer, and there are signs of new life emerging out in the garden. Soon it will be time to move young plants from the protection of the greenhouse and out into the big wide world.

As I write my article, we mark the beginning of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations for Her Majesty the Queen and the 70 years of service and devotion to our country and the Commonwealth, what an amazing achievement. The Queen’s Green Canopy initiative is well under way with communities coming together to plant trees as a legacy to mark this historic event.

February is here and the spring bulbs are beginning to emerge from their winter slumber. Now is the perfect time to look forward and start to plan your gardening calendar for the coming year.

Maybe you are planning a total garden design project or perhaps adding some interest and that wow factor to your garden borders, then I would be happy to help you, just visit my website to book a consultation.

This month I am going to focus on two great plants you could include in your garden borders, Heuchera and Tiarella, both members of the Saxifragaceae family and native to the woodlands of North America.

For those of you that regularly read my column, you will have heard me talk about my lovely mum Margaret, from our day trips to Garden Shows to gardening in her pyjamas, she was at her happiest when surrounded by flowers.

Sadly, in late October mum passed away after a short illness so I wanted to take this opportunity to pay tribute to her. Mum inspired my own love of gardening and all things ‘plant,’ and I shall miss her very much.

As the nights draw in and the days become shorter, there is still lots to enjoy in the garden. The low sun light at this time of year highlights the last of any autumn colour in the borders and seems to make the red, yellow, and orange berries, foliage, and hips glow like the embers of a bonfire.

Autumn is traditionally the time of year to plan and plant in the garden. Whether you are planning to re-design your garden, create new borders or divide existing plants in over-crowded flower beds, now is the time to do it!

Late summer and into Autumn are when ornamental grasses really come into their own, the low angle of the sun at this time of year shows them off at their best backlit by the early morning or afternoon sun silhouetting their outline is pure elegance.

Scent is as important as colour and texture in the garden and has the power to take us back to forgotten moments that remind of people and places. Few of us can resist a frilly bunch of sweet peas or a gorgeous velvety rose as we take in their delicious perfume.

If you are looking for a mid to late-summer architectural statement plant, then look no further than Agapanthus.

When you mention the colour orange, some people think of Autumn leaf colour whilst others imagine hot summer borders designed to create drama that bring a jungle feel to the garden, but when it is used with other plants that combine texture and form, it is a fabulous colour choice to use.

I love Echinacea’s! These fabulous daisy-like perennials certainly earn their place in any garden planting plan I design, and they are one of my favourite plants.

The end of last month marked a couple of anniversaries for me. It was 5 years since I qualified as a Garden Designer and 3 years since I started writing my column ‘Up the Garden Path’ in the Conduit Magazine which I hope you enjoy and find useful.

There is nothing quite like picking the perfect rose from your garden and taking it inside the house to enjoy, that is unless you are like me and feel they are too precious to take from the garden!

Here at Sandhurst Garden Design, we are having an extremely busy Spring. If you are planning a garden make-over or considering updating your borders, then contact me to discuss your ideas.

Spring has seen a busy start to the year here at Sandhurst Garden Design. Sherborne Garden Angels have already built two of my designs, with others ongoing or waiting to make at start, and I have more on my drawing board.

A new season in the garden brings excitement and is the perfect time to try something new. Now is a great time of year to see what the specialist nurseries and garden centres have in stock and for you to get outside and freshen up your garden borders.

When I visit my clients for their initial garden design consultation meeting, part of the process is to complete a questionnaire. This is a great way for me to get to know my clients a little better and find out what they have on their wish list, as well as to focus on the types of materials they would like to use.

Time to live the dream!  Even the smallest of gardens can allow you to think big – so by assessing what you have already, using some design techniques and some clever planting you can make the best of your plot, and of course it goes without saying I would be delighted to help you create your perfect garden.

I love a garden magazine, and when I hear the letterbox rattle and the thud as it lands on the doormat, it is one of my favourite sounds of the month!

During the winter months gardens provide a vital source of food for our native and visiting birds when they need us most. Encouraging birds to visit your garden is easy and extremely rewarding, and all you need to do is consider a few simple things, food, shelter and water.

Seasonal greetings to you all – as I am writing this, England has just been put into lockdown, and whilst this will be a daunting prospect, there are still some jobs that can be done in your December garden to get you outside for some fresh air and restore some calm to your thoughts.

November is the month traditionally for firework displays, hot dogs and gathering around a huge fire to celebrate, but sadly this will be yet another event affected this year by the virus restrictions.

October is the month we celebrate Halloween, and it made me think about folklore and superstitions connected to the garden, I did a little research, and this is what I found out.

As summer slowly slips into autumn there are still plenty of plants to bring colour into your garden and lift your spirits.

Including a water feature in your garden has many benefits; it creates movement, provides a relaxing sound that can help to mask un-wanted noise, for example the sound of a busy road and, importantly will encourage wildlife to visit you.

A path can be used to connect areas of your garden together and combined with planting and design, divide up your space giving a new dimension.

What glorious spring weather we are having and I am so lucky to have fabulous countryside walks right on our doorstep to enjoy as part of our daily exercise. Whilst walking I remembered a lovely holiday we had in North Devon a few years ago. The verges and hedgerows were jam packed with wildflowers attracting all sorts of wildlife, there is something quite magical about seeing a field of poppies gently swaying in the breeze.

In these uncertain times the one true constant thing is our gardens and nature. It provides us with our sanctuary, exercise and is essential for our well-being.

I think most of us have an area in our own garden we would like to improve?  With that thought in mind, I have put together a few simple solutions and ideas of how to deal with a few common problems.

January proved to be a busy month to kick start the New Year. We attended the Marshalls Regional Road Show in Exeter with Sherborne Garden Angels and had a chance to preview their new and exciting range of garden and driveway paving materials. Despite the very wet and windy drive to Exeter, we had a really nice evening and got the chance to ask the Marshalls experts questions about their new products.

A good selection of evergreen shrubs is essential for your garden. They provide backbone and structure and give that all important year round interest. They are easy to care for and respond well to careful pruning at the correct time of year.

As I write my article for this month, I am gazing out the window at my own garden and am appreciating how important it is to have a focal point and evergreen shrubs in the garden at this time of the year.

If there is one plant for me that encapsulate winter and early spring, it is the Hellebore. Part of the buttercup family Hellebores grow best in full or dappled shade.

How lucky were we! In mid-September we chose perfect weather to enjoy a well earned holiday in the Cotswolds. It was a little bit of a busman’s holiday in that we visited several gardens – but what a perfect time to see them resplendent in their autumn colours.

Autumn is the perfect time of year to start planning your dream garden and the key to a successful project is in planning, so make yourself a cuppa and consider these points before you start.

What a great time we had at this year’s Taunton Flower Show. In January I started to think about the design for my show garden. I did some research and discovered that in July it would be the 50th Anniversary of the moon landing – such an incredible achievement for mankind, and I thought this would make a perfect theme for my garden.

As I am writing this month’s column the weather is glorious – at last summer appears to be here!

I thought this month I would tell you about the projects I have been busy designing and, suffice to say it has been a full-on year and we are only just over half way through!

Fashion and new trends affect us all in some way, whether it is how we decorate our homes or what we wear, and it is no different for our gardens.

It has never been more important than now to plant for pollinators in our gardens.  Insect populations are dwindling and they need all the help they can get. 

When you start to look closely at nature, you will see spirals and curves everywhere from sea shells to fir cones, and when they are used in garden design create a pleasing effect using hard landscaping materials, plants or even your lawn.

Boundary walls and fences mark the edge of your property and form a major part of any design scheme. Your choice should complement the hard landscaping to create a harmonious effect, forming a back drop to your planting or a structure for climbers.

First impressions count!  With more pressure than ever to make the most of our space, with less on street parking available, and new homes being built without driveways, many households have swapped their front garden grass for concrete.

With all the festivities now behind us, it is the perfect time to start planning what you would like to do in your garden this year.

Last month I wrote about scent in the winter garden.   This month the spotlight is on Winter Greens.  Most perennials die back in the winter months but there are a few brave souls that soldier on!

Although you might not spend a lot of time in your garden during the winter months, the smell of a fragrant shrub on a miserable winter’s day will lift your spirits for sure!

It is that time again when the spring bulbs start to appear in garden centres, and I feel excited about my plans for my own garden next year!

As this long and very hot summer continues keeping our plants watered has become more difficult- with no significant rain fall for ages, garden water butts have long since run dry. 

What a great time we had at BBC Gardeners' World Live 2018!

Exhibiting a show garden is a military operation and a team effort.  The logistics of getting yourself, plants and materials to site takes some organising!

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