With the recent stormy weather reminding me that spring isn't quite here yet, I'm still looking for jobs I can do now in the garden.
If you get a chance to get out in the garden and haven't done so already clear away any soggy, collapsed stems of your perennials and compost.
Remove and bin any Hellebore foliage marked with black spots to limit the spread of leaf spot disease. Removing leaves can also show off the lovely flowers or bracts of the hellebores that are now on display.
Cut down to the ground any deciduous ornamental grasses left over winter, before the fresh new shoots appear and compost.
Here are three bulbs to plant this month:
We can't wait to get started on the build for this new project in Walderslade.
Designed for a stylish couple who wanted to extend their entertaining space out into the garden, with built-in seating, water feature and a pergola.
There's also a small lawn and plenty of lush planting with lots of texture in the materials. Due for completion summer 2020.
Here's a little update on a courtyard garden renovation recently completed.
Designed on a budget, and completed over a Bank Holiday weekend this garden re-uses existing elements, such as the paving and recycled terracotta pots.
It gets an upgrade with some new glazed pots and fencing painted in accent jewel colours.
Finished off with lush, jungle inspired planting and some perennials for a late splash of seasonal colour.
This beautiful Salvia has deep purple, velveteen flowers and a heady scent. Ideal for planting in pots on a patio or in herbaceous borders with other perennials and grasses.
I am told that it may help reduce the incidence of black spot when planted under roses. I've not tried it yet but will give it ago in my next planting scheme.
Here's a little design for a garden refurbishment on a budget, using the current paving and salvaging some of the existing planters to maximise the budget to spend on plants and accessories.
This 4m x 5m riverside garden borrows most of its landscape from beyond the boundary fence. However, the client wanted to create a private space with planting to frame the views from the conservatory.
New terracotta pots, punctuated with some glazed pots in jewel colours will add pops of colour, which can be repeated in chosen accent colours to fences and garden buildings.
Here's a quick peak at a new garden I designed which has recently been built in Rochester, Kent.
The new design for this 13m x 10m (much loved) family garden followed in the old footprint in terms of the patio, pond and lawn area, but was given a lovely new update. Inspired by a visit to the Chelsea Flower Show, the clients wanted to incorporate some textured walling, a new pond and to maximise the space an additional decked terrace was created to catch the evening sun.
The clients also had some lovely well-established shrubs and trees which they wanted to keep so the new planting scheme was designed to compliment - with a soft mix of grasses and perennials to create a succession of planting for year-round interest.
This garden was built and planted by the talented Sam at Beetlestone's Garden Maintenance.
To see more images of this garden follow my link to Gardens Page - New Garden in Rochester
After the record temperatures reached last week in Paris we wondered how we would deal with it on our trip this weekend.
We watched the news and saw images of people flocking to the parks, fountains and the Paris Plage in an attempt to cool down. In a heatwave Parisians don't necessarily escape the city except to the parks - as it's much cooler under the trees.
One of my favourite parks is Jardin des Tuileries, its central axis provides an elegant promenade between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde. Formal allees divide the space and are punctuated the by rows of manicured trees, grassy areas, ponds and flowery borders.
This park draws you in. There are benches to sit but the most popular are the green metal chairs which Parisians pull around the ponds or shady spaces under the trees.
We needn't have worried though, because the heat was short-lived and temperatures returned to normal and with that came the rain. As a result we found the parks rather deserted, chairs and benches abandoned offering an intriguing snapshot of park life.
This little compact shrub has almost woolly aromatic foliage, and I've just planted this to form a low hedge/edging plant in a gravel border. The soil is sandy with a little soil improver mixed in for a moderately fertile but well-drained environment that Santolinas prefer.
Santolina chamaecyparissus, known as cotton lavender, is a species of flowering plant in the family Asteraceae. It is native to the western and central Mediterranean, so it does like a sunny position and will be drought tolerant once established.
At this time of year it has lovely small and cheerful button-like flowers in bright yellow, contrasting beautifully with the purple hues of the Lavender and Nepeta.
Today I paid a visit to a front garden I designed last summer - transforming a square patch of lawn into a swirling mix of grasses and perennials. It's a brave move for a client to replace an existing lawn with something more adventurous, but I am lucky that she is a keen gardener and so we went for it!
One year on and all the watering, weeding, mulching, dead-heading, staking and feeding... and sweeping... has paid off and the garden is bursting with joy and humming with insects. There's still space for parking the car, but it proves front gardens don't have to be square and green.
There are some formal elements, such as evergreen shrubs, low clipped hedges and simple linear geometry of the hard landscaping to see it through the winter months and give a sense of arrival to the front door.
The key bit of maintenance today was the Stipa tenuissima grass which had flopped under the weight of its seedheads. A bit of comb through its 'pony tails' with my fingers and it was soon billowing again!
There was lots to take in at this year's show - newly named and festival themed. With walk-through gardens, including the re-imagined version of the RHS Back to Nature garden co-designed by HRH The Duchess Cambridge and landscape architects Andree Davies and Adam White.
Other walk through gardens included the Viking Cruises Lagom Garden and the Thames Water Flourishing Future Garden where we could get a good look at the planting and a top-up of 'Thames' water in our non-plastic bottles.
A particular favourite garden was the Association of Professional Landscapers (APL) A Place to Meet, designed by Cherry Carmen and built by 18 different APL member companies. There was some beautiful planting on display here contrasting with superb hard landscaping - the plunge pool looked especially inviting in the festival heat.
Garden Designer - creating beautiful outside spaces.