Designing a family garden near Thame that includes a pizza oven
Garden designed and landscaped for town house in Cheltenham
Creating an outside living area near Chipping Norton
The World of Interiors provided inspiration for gardens in their September Issue. The winter months is the perfect opportunity to plan your garden with a garden designer for the Spring and Summer planting. There are a number of companies seen in the September World of Interiors Magazine providing inspiration for the Great Outdoors including myself for Garden Design.
I designed this garden from a building site. I worked with the Client on designs in October and landscaped the garden in April. This particular garden had a house with large windows that looked over the garden and beyond to a golf course so the open vista creates the illusion of an extended garden.
The garden has the benefit of views that really open up to the great outdoors and we took advantage of that in the garden design. The garden also features some ponds that are able to capture reflections the clouds above.
So if you’re looking for inspiration for the The Great Outdoors please don’t hesitate to call 0771 858 6105 to create your Great Outdoors.
Catalogues have been dropping on my doorstep for a few months now and I’ve been enjoying browsing the options. If you haven’t yet ordered your Spring flowering bulbs get on with it, planting bulbs is between October and November. Bulbs need the nice cold weather to get them started.
Bulbs in winter
It is the cold winter that is needed to stimulate stem growth, a temperature of 10c or below is required. Ideally these bulbs need at least 10 weeks.
Planting your Spring Flowering Bulbs
Follow the instructions on the package for your bulbs for planting but the majority of bulbs need 3 times the depth of the bulb for planting. I often plant my bulbs in amongst the herbaceous border then when the flowers have died back the new herbaceous growth hides the leaves.
This is a great trick for the big Alliums as their leaves are ungainly when they are in flower.
One of my favourite little Spring flowering bulbs is Scilla siberica, this dainty bulb produces a lovely blue flower that reaches 10cms high or if you prefer you can have the the Scilla siberica Alba for a white flower head. I also always have a Galanthus nivalis (Snowdrop) in my garden, it’s always a pleasure to see them.
A company have know for years is Fentongollan Flower Farm in Cornwall, fondly known as the Fentongollan finishing school for those of us that wanted summer jobs. Many of us spent a convivial summer on the flower farm in the bulb sorting and packaging sheds. After a few weeks we were all able to identify different daffodil bulbs.
So enjoy the catalogue trawl, the planting and then sit back and enjoy the winter waiting for your Spring Flowers.
How to protect your plants in the snow and frosts
Today it’s white outside, yesterday was -5.5 in Oxfordshire at 6am. I took some pictures of lavenders with crystals on their branches.
Frosts can harm plants and the more Mediterranean plants are not terribly keen on frosts but they do survive, although you may loose some. If you’re particularly worried cover them with horticultural fleece this can be found in most nurseries. There are also pull over jackets that you can use on your Olive Trees and Bay Trees.
The biggest problem with frosts is plants in pots as these plants roots are above ground and will also be freezing, they are not able to snuggle their toes into the earth and carry on snoozing until the warmer weather. So wrap up your pots, bubble wrap and hessian are a great way to add a little protection to you plants roots.
So today we have the added interest of snow. Whilst the first flush of snow is beautiful you may notice your evergreen trees and shrubs and bowing with the weight of the plants. As the branches will be frozen and brittle give them a hand and remove some of the snow. Simply wrap up warm and go out with a broom and just gently shake off the snow. The plants will leap back into shape unburdened from the snow and you wont get any disappointing snaps from a beloved shrub or tree.
Garden Sculptures for the Garden
Choosing the right garden sculpture for your pond or water feature.
There are a number of things to consider before you purchase your garden sculpture for your water feature for instance too big and it can dominate the garden, too small and it’s lost.
Another important feature is the aspect as this can also have an impact on your water feature. You’ll need a large pond for a garden sculpture with a large fountain to ensure you don’t get a soaking on a windy day. We all know it’s fun to watch our children running through water fountains on hot sunny days but this is possibly not the gauntlet you want to run each day in your own garden.
Sound of Water in the Garden
Sound is very important too you need to consider what you are trying to achieve with your garden sculpture. Do you want to hide the sound of traffic or aeroplanes above? It doesn’t take much to muffle sounds or rather distract the hear with an alternative sound. If the water dances into a pool it will make music to the ear.
In this particular garden the Client wanted a garden sculpture that they could enjoy from all angles naturally around the garden and also from the house. We chose copper as we wanted to reflect on a sculpture the client had had in a previous garden.
Plants in my pond
Do you want plants in your pond? If so what type as this will also impact the type of garden sculpture you choose as there are plants that don’t like to be disturbed by too much moving water such as the Water Lily.
The garden sculpture was commissioned from Gary Pickles
Gary Pickles Metallic Garden blog
The morning glory sculpture is delightful as it catches the sunlight and it is a pleasure to sit by the pond and watch the water delicately tumbling from the flowers and leaves.
A plant of the Month
As a garden designer ensuring a garden has all year round interest so important. One shrub that is one of my plants of the month for a country garden is the Philadelphus. The ones I have in my garden are just coming into blossom. I know I’m in for a treat for the next few months.
The Philadelphus comes in many varities and if you have the space for one to grow I would strongly recommend ‘Virginal’ this will grow to 2.5m high smothered in double pure white flowers in June and July. When you catch the white flowers on a hot summers day gleam with a freshness against an azure blue sky it is something to behold. Not only that but the plant has a beautiful orange scent, hence the name Mock Orange.
If you are lacking in space the Philadelphus ‘Belle Etoile’ has a single flower with a great scent and only reaches 1.2m in height or even smaller is the ‘Manteau d’Hermine which reaches .75m in height. I have one that has a clipped box hedge in front of it, the dark leaf of the box contrasts with the fresh vibrant leaf of the Philadelphus. If you’re looking for a bit of interest later in the year you can plant a later flowering Clematis such as Taylors Clematis Margaret Hunt can then twist and curl over the shrub giving an extra interest to the garden.
The Philadelphus likes sun or partial shade
This is a plant that is easily sourced from nurseries, I’m sure your local nursery will have a Philadelphus for your needs but if not try Crocus
If you’re looking for all year round interest in your garden and need some inspiration contact Samantha Willis Garden Designer in Oxford
Chelsea Flower Show May 2018
This year was another inspiring year for people and Garden Designers. As a Garden Designer in Oxford I was impressed by the amazing diversity of gardens this year which was thoroughly enjoyable. Equally the flowers in the gardens this year were a great selection of plants and pallets.
VTP Capital Garden
I would not normally like a concrete garden and it is not often required for garden designers in Oxford but smooth concrete was greatly admired in the VTB Capital Garden – Spirit of Cornwall. Whilst not a traditional garden for this time of year with the Rhododendrons and Magnollias or even granite it did portray Cornwall. As a Cornish person I was quizzed by my friends before I knew the story of the garden as to it’s location and I did guess correctly.
The lush sub tropical planting is an element of Cornwall and it was depicting the Hepworth Garden. The metal path leading from one concrete seating platform to the pavilion was inspired and reflects the sound wave of music. This was a beautiful garden where less certainly is more.
I also loved Skin Deep Garden. Each concrete block was designed to represent people with various skin conditions. The more you looked at the blocks the more you noticed different textures, with the added influence of the sun and the shadows of the plants dancing on the blocks this garden was a constant source of wonder. Whilst quite structured this garden was surprisingly relaxing, inviting you to sit on the blocks and enjoy the plants that were billowing around the blocks. But there is no sitting in the gardens at Chelsea no matter how inviting. So well cone Robert Barker for the design.
Garden Designer in Oxford
If you too are inspired for Chelsea and need a little help from a garden designer in Oxford please don’t hesitate to give me a call Samantha Willis 0771 858 6105