A Gardening Life - blog


July 2013


As I write, on 22 July, the sun has been out for at least a couple of weeks and the roses particularly have been magnificent. I can't remember a year to match it. Wherever I go Ramblers have fulfilled every gardener's wildest dreams and the evenings have been heavy with the dreamiest of scent, conducive to lengthy picnics, lazy conversation and romance. Particularly peculiar to this year has been the Ramblers and Shrub Roses flowering alongside Mock Orange and Anemone; everything at the same time. Even the Elder in the hedgerows has only just gone over and we have never collected for the cordial as late as the first week of July.



What has also been a revelation is the game fishing. Never since I was a boy have I seen Mayfly in droves driving the fish into a frenzy of feeding. I arrived one evening and was so excited that my shaking hands and unbelieving eyes made it almost impossible to attach a fly. During a spell of such wonderful weather in mid-summer I find the river irresistible and although the fish have been more than obliging I also spend hours just watching the water go by. Before too long I know exactly where the Kingfisher is nesting, where the Otter slides into the deepest pool and where a Vole is making a living despite all the odds. I can see where the Roe deer rest up in the heat of the day and I can watch the dragonfly break free of its previously watery existence and take to the air for a brief but wonderfully frenetic last hurrah. Even the moods of the water can be hypnotic and staring into the myriad of light that is a fast moving stream or almost still resonant pool transports me instantly back to my early teens when the seeds of my fascination with fishing and the natural world were sown and established for a life time.



Water in the garden can be equally as beguiling and introduces a host of visitors that otherwise might only be seen in passing and would never feel invited to stay. Ponds, waterfalls and fountains can be introduced almost in whatever scale that the space allows. If the water surface is to be used for reflective purposes ensure the area is as large as possible because the plants (both intended and unintended) will take over in a trice. A still pond, topped up only once in a while but otherwise left undisturbed will be fantastic for toads, newts and any number of bugs but will not be good for fish which need a circulating water full of oxygen. To catch the sunlight you need to bounce and splash or slide the water over some rocks or glass or steel, or simply throw it up into the air by way of a fountain. This can be combined with wonderful statuary from almost any material and the water will redefine the sculpture, magnifying some areas and mystifying others. Of course despite its wildly differing but consistently beautiful qualities, water above all else, is a life giver and with no invitation at all many creatures will turn up to drink whether they be feathered, furry or slimy. Make sure they have a way to get out if they should tumble off the edge, which can happen even to the most experienced of rivermen if the excitement is just too great!



Kenneth Graham caught all of our imaginations when he penned the Wind in the Willows. Adding water to a garden can only embellish the dream like qualities of our herbaceous borders and rose covered arches (particularly during a Summer such as this) but will also introduce a whole number of otherwise absent guests, albeit true that most will not turn up in a jauntily coloured row boat.




Good Gardening!







August 2012


The term 'a mid life crisis' conjures up visions of middle aged men in small red sports cars with a vibrant young blond on the passenger seat and a glossy spare toupee in the glove compartment.  I'm not adverse to the whole idea but I think what I have just endured is something quite different.  For twenty five years I have been building and managing a successful Garden Design and Build company but a little while ago I reached a cross roads.  The problem with managing and administrating is that you are left with less and less time to indulge the passion that originally drove you forward.  My main passion in life, if I were to put aside minor passions such as Cider, Cricket and the Sugar Babes, is the making and keeping of gardens.  Encompassed within that is the almost instinctive connection that I have always felt with the natural world, the seasonal cycle and the need to have my hands in the soil.  I don't think I have suffered a crisis (no more than usual, anyway) but I definitely reached a cross roads and after some serious soul searching have decided to shake off the shackles of a business and give myself the opportunity, while there is still time, to return to the core of my interest.


And so, having removed the shackles, I am free, but not so free (I am reminded rather nervously by my wife) that I can fully disappear into just my own borders.  I am now able to offer a Garden Design and Consultation service using a wealth of experience gained over the years in all manner of gardens and gardening situations. My designs will not only produce a beautiful space but will also work both ergonomically and monetarily.  I feel strongly that gardens should not be viewed in any kind of league of importance but that, large or small, they should reflect the passion of each of us as individuals.  I will be pleased to be involved whatever the size and whether it be a full refurbishment or an addition to an existing scheme.


It is true to say that a large percentage of plants never reach their full potential because of a lack of the correct attention particularly during their formative years.  I am also offering a specialist gardening service and a visit to a garden once or twice a year may just ensure that the climbers, shrubs and trees fulfil your original aspirations.


More information about me and the gardening services I offer can be viewed on my new web site where I will be writing a monthly editorial ('blog') that I hope will offer helpful gardening and design advice as well as a little humour to reflect on what at times can appear, at least from the outside, to be a slightly odd profession.


It is with some trepidation coupled with huge enthusiasm that I start this new venture and I am waiting on tenterhooks for the phone to ring, and for this dreadful weather to change before all of my roses disappear before ever really appearing!


Happy Gardening.



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