Autumn/Fall Plants: A Design Palette of Bright Orange, Chocolate, Latte, Mustard + Green

The colour green underpins the whole of nature; without green plants we would be unable to breathe or eat. So it is the predominant colour in gardens linking each plot to the surrounding landscape. Even in a highly urban setting there is likely to be one tree or patch of grass within sight. I've noticed that autumn greens often contain more blue than the yellow-infused sharp lime greens of spring. Green also acts as a brilliant foil for every other colour and it is the warmest of these colours that come into play in the autumn or fall season in temperate climates. For some autumn is a sad [...]

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Gardening Jobs: Thinking of Becoming a Garden Designer?

Did you know that most people in their 40's / 50's, looking at gardening jobs as a possible career change, choose garden design?  There are myriad reasons for choosing to study landscape or garden design.  Perhaps that is why you are reading this article? While some may be a school-leaver or new graduate entranced by the notion of working with plants in the great outdoors. Most are mid-life change of career students who simply want to get back to nature. Perhaps you are seeking a new career direction, want to escape the rat race.  Can't stand working in an office a moment longer, need a new [...]

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Design Ideas – Taking the Rough with the Smooth

Rough grass is an immensely useful tool for the garden designer. How is it defined? It is simply grass that has been allowed to grow taller than adjacent smooth lawn grass, or that may already exist as paddock or naturally occurring grass in a virgin plot. Cut a few centimetres above a tightly mown lawn it allows you to reinforce strong geometric curves in a ground plan, contouring and sculpting the surface and rendering the flow and rhythm of the pattern highly visible. The rough grass accentuates the velvety smoothness of the mown areas. In large gardens – and even in moderately-sized plots [...]

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Design Inspiration -Renewing the bond with nature

Almost every day I walk (or rather run) my dog Oliver in the grassy dunes backing a small, unspoilt white sand beach called Shanawalla. This pristine little wilderness of about five acres changes quite dramatically through the seasons. In winter, after weeks of relentless rain, natural lakes of rainwater form and remain until March or April, so that you have to navigate your pathways carefully to avoid a lake or pond cul-de-sac. Curlews, oystercatchers, grey herons and white cattle egrets paddle about, picking up whatever food they can find, sheltered a little from the prevailing south west winds [...]

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The Influence of Fashion

With Chelsea Flower Show in full swing this week, garden design and plants are every bit as subject to fashion trends as clothing, art, furniture, names or architecture. Fashion is ephemeral by nature, often reinventing a past trend and introducing a modern twist, but not usually creating a look that is meant to last. It's exciting to look at new trends in clothes or fabrics and imagine how you can translate colours, textures and forms into a garden setting. However I think there is a streak of arrogance in some practitioners of creative disciplines which blinds them to the validity of other [...]

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