We are absolutely delighted to have won the 2021 ProLandscaper Award for Industry Collaboration!
We won the award for our work on the Greenfingers Charity garden at Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People in Loughborough, where we were commissioned to extend and redesign the Remembrance Garden.
Inspired by the individual care, sensitivity and happy 'colourful' attention each family received from the Rainbows Team, we wanted to design a family-centred space with private and restful spaces for year-round visits.
We worked closely with the charity and the hospice to approach a number of specialists and suppliers to make the most of the funds. The response was fantastic and very early on, landscapers Alfresco Landscaping responded positively and sensitively, and delivered the project on time and to budget - their skills allowed us to sustainably re-use most materials on-site, including stones from the old water feature which they painstakingly re-set as communal benches.
Joining the collaboration, metal fabricators Caltef Designs created a life-sized remembrance tree, and local glassmaker Lynn Jackson ran workshops with bereaved families to make personalised glass leaves to commemorate those that they had lost.
This project has been a fantastic collaboration of like-minded professionals and individuals, who have dedicated their time and skills to creating this very special place. The team ultimately delivered a wonderful outcome for the Hospice and the Charity showing how the industry can truly come together with shared values, expertise, respect and care - this team was definitely stronger together.
We’re excited to say that we’ve been invited by the RHS to design planting displays around the showground at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show!
Having been asked last year, when the Show had to unfortunately be cancelled, we are happy to know that despite a postponement, it will now be taking place in September.
Of course, that does mean that we’re having to re-think our plants for a late summer display…...but that just involves more research and trips to specialist nurseries, which we love!!
Looking forward to sharing our vision for the spaces…...
So a week and a day (it's been a busy week!) into Lockdown 2.0 for England.
We hope it's been OK for you so far.
We ended the first week in true Lockdown style with a Zoom lecture - the annual #NGS talk, this year by Sue and #TomStuartSmith. Inspiring to hear about all the projects Tom is involved with (we're already planning a post LD2.0 trip to #Wakefield to the #HepworthMuseumandGarden and #RHSBridgewater) and to hear more about Sue's book - #TheWellGardenedMind - a must read for these times.
Both speakers reminded us of words from our 2015 #RHSHamptonCourt #FoundationsForGrowth garden that #JamesRaffan kindly gave us permission to use. 'Information alone can never become knowledge, and knowledge never becomes wisdom without some kind of rooting in the good soil of experience'
True of so many aspects of life, but in relation to our own green spaces, the feeling of soil between your fingers, running hands through wispy grasses or wrapping palms around the bark of a tree, it really does strike home. So whether it's the feathery feel of grasses and Leptinella, the crispy seedheads of #Phlomis or the furry Lamb's-ear (Stachys byzantina), using your sense of touch (following current guidelines obviously!) helps make that all important connection with nature that is so beneficial to us all, - even if we don’t quite know it yet!! Until next time.....
Oh my word, THE perfect Autumn day - colours galore, blue skies and crisp air.
If you can, make sure you take a visit to Knoll Gardens in Dorset soon. It is the perfect place to see how to not just incorporate, but really celebrate one of our favourite plants in the garden.....grasses. They are so versatile and absolutely do set the tone in a space.
Everywhere you turn at Knoll there's a riot of colour combinations and clever tapestry of textures. The Garden is designed with inviting paths, beautiful vistas and plenty of quiet stops tucked away amongst the plants. A joy!
Choosing plants with a long season of colour and interest was key in one of our recent projects, as our clients view the garden from their large, airy living space and glass walls all year round.
Plants with a second autumn flowering like Achillea 'Terracotta' has worked really well through both summer and autumn colour schemes. And adding grasses like the wonderfully named, Pheasant's Tail Grass (Anemanthele lessoniana), has also added texture and movement, along with flame-like seasonal colour.
Wonderful year-round coppery tones of Uncinia rubra echo the stunning Acer that was a striking existing tree in this garden, colours that we also picked out, in the ever present vibrant foliage of Heuchera ‘Hopscotch’.
Sedums are also doing their thing beautifully at the moment, with the stunning deep burgundy of ‘Jose Aubergine’ and the fresher deeper pinks of ‘Autumn Joy’ (perfect name!). Dark purple-black fine strappy leaves of Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’ pick up the deeper purple colours leading round to brighter Verbena officinalis 'Bampton’, Thyme and Salvia officinalis 'Tricolor'. A structural evergreen backdrop sets the colours off fantastically.
There really is so much choice - go brighten these shortening days up with colour.....
Genuinely the best bit about designing, building and planting a garden, is coming back to the space once the plants have had a chance to get established in their new home!
Trees and interesting shrubs always make a good first impression, but it's the smaller herbaceous plants, ferns and grasses that fill out the space, blur the boundaries and soften all of the edges.
On visiting a garden this week that we completed just over a year ago, we were delighted to see our vision for the space realised. We had designed the sloping site with gentle stone steps, cor-ten steel retaining walls and wide resting platforms, intentionally leaving large planting spaces between levels. Steps going in different directions along with the large planting pockets entice you to journey through whichever way you please.
Now, hardy ferns spill over the steps, grasses arch over the steel walls, and perennials like Astilbe creep through the gaps. As you walk through the shady side of the garden, you find yourself slowing down to walk between the planting, noticing all of the different textures, unaware of any hard edges.
We always liken planting in the garden to soft furnishings in the house - they provide colour and interest, pull the scheme together, and soften all the hard edges.
So go on and get planting!
Whilst we have missed doing our daily 'green light' posts (which we started in lockdown), it has been lovely getting back to work.
This week, we have been planting in Cambridgeshire - a scheme for the garden that we designed, that is nearly complete.
Lots of evergreen structure, tall grasses and floaty perennials will weave their way through new gravel beds and lawn borders.
We'll post pictures of the finished project, when the rest of the hard landscaping is complete, but here are a few of the lovely plants that we chose which really suit the architecture and colour of our clients' home;
- Achillea 'Terracotta'
- Heucherella 'Hopscotch'
- Taxus 'Fastigiata'
Grasses are one of our favourite plants to use in a scheme.....and there are so many to choose from!
Whether you prefer a 'neat' short grass like Carex, or a billowing ornamental grass like Stipa gigantea, these plants provide some fantastic contrasting texture in the border.
Grasses look great as part of a mixed planting scheme (modernising an existing border) or planted en masse on their own. Some species also offer movement, which can be very important in a static space. And of course the shadows they provide against walls or hard landscaping give them added presence.
Our go-to grass is Anemanthale lessoniana (or pheasant's tail grass) as it is evergreen and turns to fantastic shades of bronze in the autumn and winter. It does only lasts a couple of years, but self-seeds so easily, that you may never have to buy a replacement!
And so the week began with an #RHS 'Members Day' for the first day of the week at #RHSChelsea. Normally a day for the gardens to really showcase themselves with eye-catching performers and getting the all important celebrity visits to help promote the garden and its charity, sponsors and good causes.
Yesterday #BBC coverage focused on colour and how important it is to have in the garden (even if it's lots of shades of green), and what ideas we can take away with us. Using darker foliage to offset other brighter colours and bring balance to a scheme was one idea, picking out different elements of the plants from stems to bark to foliage to bring a scheme together. This is something we always try to do with our planting schemes to get the most from plants year round.
Another idea was how pastel colours or a muted scheme choosing a harmonising palette of one to two colours can bring that sense of peace and tranquility.
One of our favourites from last year's show was the Montessori garden which used colour to dramatic and joyful effect and was definitely not muted! Picking out colour in the materials used, with the plants to help bring cohesion and fun to the whole garden.
Using plants and bulbs in containers is another way to move colour around the garden and change it up through the seasons and year to year. Even if it's just on your window sill - have a go!
A little word from us
We like to keep our eyes open to new inspiration and share our ideas and our work.