Archive for the ‘Garden’ Category

Garden structure design ideas: RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

I’m a big fan of the annual RHS Chelsea Flower Show and, each year, the garden designs never fail to impress.

A lot of the gardens this year feature strong structural elements, using stone, wood or metal, that really make them stand out.

Whilst it might not be possible to create them down to a tee at home, there are definitely ideas to take away, be it structural shapes to try out, materials that work in a garden, planting ideas or simply colour palettes.

Here are a few favourite contemporary garden designs from this year’s show.

1. The Brewin Dolphin Garden – Forever Freefolk

The Brewin Dolphin Garden - Forever Freefolk. Designed by Rosy Hardy for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016

Designed by Rosy Hardy. Sponsored by: Brewin Dolphin.

 © RHS  RHS / Sarah Cuttle

2. The Morgan Stanley Garden for Great Ormond Street Hospital

The Morgan Stanley Garden for Great Ormond Street Hospital. Designed by Chris Beardshaw.  RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016

Designed by Chris Beardshaw. Sponsored by: Morgan Stanley.

 © RHS  RHS / Neil Hepworth

3. The St John’s Hospice – A Modern Apothecary

The St John’s Hospice – A Modern Apothecary. Designed by Jekka McVicar for RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016

Designed by Jekka McVicar. Sponsored by: St John’s Hospice.

 © RHS  RHS / Sarah Cuttle

4. The Telegraph Garden

The Telegraph Garden. Designed by Andy Sturgeon for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016.

Designed by Andy Sturgeon. Sponsored by: The Telegraph.

 © RHS  RHS / Neil Hepworth

5. The Winton Beauty of Mathematics Garden

The Winton Beauty of Mathematics Garden. Designed by Nick Bailey for RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016

Designed by Nick Bailey. Sponsored by: Winton.

 © RHS  RHS / Neil Hepworth

6. Papworth Trust – Together We Can

Papworth Trust – Together We Can garden. Designed by Peter Eustance for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016

Designed by Peter Eustance. Sponsored by: Papworth Trust.

 © RHS  RHS / Tim Sandall

7. Senri-Sentei – Garage Garden

Senri-Sentei – Garage Garden. Designed by Kazuyuki Ishihara for RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016

Designed by Kazuyuki Ishihara. Sponsored by: Henri-Sentei project.

 © RHS  RHS / Tim Sandall

8.  Viking Cruises Mekong Garden

Viking Cruises Mekong Garden. Designed by Sarah Eberle for RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016

Designed by Sarah Eberle. Sponsored by: Viking Cruises.

 © RHS  RHS / Tim Sandall

9.  The Garden Bed – a partnership with Asda

The Garden Bed, a partnership with Asda. Designed by Stephen Welch and Alison Doxey. RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016

Designed by Stephen Welch and Alison Doxey.

 © RHS  RHS / Tim Sandall

10. The World Vision Garden

The World Vision Garden. Designed by John Warland.

Designed by John Warland. Sponsored by: World Vision.

 © RHS  RHS / Sarah Cuttle

11. The Sir Simon Milton Foundation Urban Connections Garden

The Sir Simon Milton Foundation Urban Connections Garden. Designed by Lee Bestall. RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016

Designed by Lee Bestall. Sponsored by: Victoria Business Improvement District.

 © RHS  RHS / Sarah Cuttle

12. God’s Own County – A Garden for Yorkshire

God’s Own County – A Garden for Yorkshire. Designed by Matthew Wilson for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016

Designed by Matthew Wilson. Sponsored by: Welcome to Yorkshire.

 © RHS  RHS / Neil Hepworth

What garden ideas are you inspired by?

For more inspiring garden ideas, check out our board on Pinterest:

Spring garden projects and blog carnival

Monday, April 11th, 2016

Spring has sprung and suddenly I’m getting urges to be out ‘doing things’ in the garden.

I’ve made a start on weeding, cutting back dead growth and a spot of planting, but have lots more planned and am currently drooling over ideas for all the things I’d like to plant this year.

If you’re keen to get gardening, then here are some ideas for useful garden projects that you might like to get stuck into this spring.

Make your garden bird friendly

Spring is sprung and birds are nesting. Find out what bird box to have for different types of garden birds

Spring is just as important a time of the year to think about birds as the colder winter months are.

Birds are beginning to think about nesting (I’ve been watching blackbirds very busily collecting nesting materials), so you could ensure that there are plenty of suitable nesting materials available for them to obtain. If you have pets, such as cats or dogs, and especially if they’re moulting, you could put their fur to good use after grooming them and fill a bird feeder with it.

Other materials that birds find useful to use in their nesting activities include natural fibres, such as wool and cotton, ribbon, lace and bits of string. All of these can be added to a feeder for them to forage and find.

Now is also a good time to install a bird box or two in your garden or on the walls of your house. Different sized boxes suit different types of birds – sparrows, for example, like to nest in families, so choose a sparrow terrace style box, whereas robins tend to prefer a slightly open fronted box, that can be hidden by a hedge or other plants.

If you’re a dab hand with a hammer and nails, then why not have a go at making your own bird box? The British Trust for Ornithology have a useful guide to box building, including which size is best for which bird.

Plant sunflower seeds

Plant sunflower seeds in spring, for a gorgeous summer display of colour and height

If you’re keen to grow sunflowers this year, then now is the perfect time to start planting the seeds.

Sow the seeds in individual pots to start them off, or dedicate an area of your garden to become the sunflower patch.

If you’re doing the latter, it’s a good idea to use plant markers to mark where you’ve planted the seeds. Not only so that you can keep an eye on their growth and progress, but also so anyone else in your household who might be gardening too knows where they are (and doesn’t accidentally pull up your giant sunflower seedling, as has happened to me in the past!).

Weeding and pruning

Essential garden tools for carrying out weeding, pruning and planting

It’s not the most exciting of garden projects, but if your garden has been somewhat neglected over the winter, now is a good time to get out there and start weeding and pruning. It can actually be a very satisfying job, especially as you can see a real difference when you finish!

Prune back plants such as roses and hedges, as well as any other old growth (I’ve tidied up our passionflower, for example).

If you have fruit trees, such as apple or pear trees, and haven’t touched them since last year, get pruning them too. It’s essential to do so before any new buds start appearing and might help ensure you get a good crop of fruit later in the summer.

Garden blog carnival

This post is part of a blog carnival celebrating all things garden-related for #NationalGardeningWeek. For more inspiring ideas, check out these posts from fellow bloggers:

* Penny has three easy but great fun projects children will enjoy helping with, she has been making miniature gardens, creating a scarecrow and planting wild flowers.

* Catherine from Growing Family has three great family gardening projects, she has been sowing a mini wildflower meadow, growing vegetables in containers and making new plants for free.

* Becky has three lovely garden projects to share, a secret garden, making a herb planter and flower pressing.

* Stephanie at Life at 139a has two posts on how giving your garden furniture a scrub and revamp can work wonders as well as tips on how to repot your houseplants.

* Cathy from Wishful Wonderings has been looking for inspiration and creating a herb box for her small garden.

(Images courtesy of Pixabay)

Garden ideas: Contemporary and quirky wall planters

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

Add some contemporary style, quirkiness and charm to your garden, with these fab wall planters.

Wow! Love this idea for a striking wall planter, in the form of a buffalo head. What a brilliant garden feature.

Want to create a striking feature out of a wall planter? This buffalo head won’t disappoint! The base of this buffalo trophy head style wall planter is made from wire and you can plant it up using moss and succulents, as seen here, or train climbing plants over it. It’s unique and fun (a rhino design is available too). £39.95 from London Garden Trading.

Love these unusual garden tap design planters - full of quirky style!

We love a bit of quirkiness, and these garden tap planters definitely have it! Sadly they won’t provide a super easy way of watering your plants, but they do look good. £25 from Ella James.

Great idea for growing salad, fruit, veg or herbs in a small space - vertical wall hanging garden planters.

These fab vertical garden planters have so many uses. Grow strawberries, salad, herbs or flowers in them. Perfect if you’ve got limited space for standard planters, as these can be hung on a wall or fence. £14 from Freshly Forked.

Striking gold metallic wall planter.

Metallics are a hot trend in the home, but now you can add some to your garden too, with these gold metallic wall planters. £17.50 from MiaFleur.

Love these unusual living wall planters! The succulents work so well in them.

We love these living wall planters. Suitable for inside or outside, they feature four succulents and are as much a piece of art as they are plants. The quad living wall is £59.95 from The Urban Botanist.

Embrace the terrarium trend: Indoor gardening made easy

Monday, August 24th, 2015

Terrarium trend makes gardening easy

One of the interior design trends we’re loving at the moment is the return of the terrarium. These unique containers, which are often modern and contemporary in design, provide the perfect place to create a mini garden of plants to hang or display in your home

They’re a great way of bringing the outdoors in, especially if you don’t have a garden, and can be used with very low maintenance plants that even the non-green-fingered can have a go with.

We love succulents such as Sempervivums and these work perfectly in terrariums, but you can also plant ferns, small flowers and cacti in them. For the ultimate in ease, try opting for air plants.

5 top terrariums

How to use the terrarium trend in your home interior

1. Featuring two of our current favourite interior design trends – copper and geometrics – this hanging terrarium and air plant from Adorn Homeware is ideal. It’s handcrafted and based on Scandinavian style and design. It’s £30.

2. The Urban Botanist are specialists in terrariums and have a brilliant selection of products available. We like their modern Skyline range, which includes this globe design. It comes fully assembled with a plant included and can be hung or placed flat on a surface. It’s priced from £29.95.

3. The design of terrariums can be very eye-catching, like this diamond-inspired planter from Urban Outfitters. It’s made of iron and glass and finished in gold. It’s available exclusively online for £35.

4. Even the tiniest space can become home to a few plants, as this lightbulb terrarium demonstrates. It comes with air plants – plants that live and grow with no soil or roots – and is £18.50 from Dingading Terrariums.

5. There are some really funky shaped terrariums available, like this cube one from West Elm. It’s made of glass and copper and is designed to enable the containers to be clustered together in different formations. It’s priced at £44.

Check out some more terrarium inspiration on our Pinterest board.  Or if you fancy having a go at making your own terrarium, Ikea have a useful step-by-step guide.

Ikea guide to creating your own terrarium

They say it only takes one hour to do and is fun for all the family, so it could be ideal for a rainy day in the summer holidays!

Set Your World on Flowers: 40 days of flowering garden plants

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

40 days of flowering plants

Whether you’ve got a garden, patio, deck, balcony or simply a small backyard, I’m sure you’ll agree that being able to look out at some colourful flowers helps brighten up the space.

If you’re strapped for time or don’t have remotely green fingers, then don’t panic – there’s an easy solution to hand!

Set Your World on Flowers has come up with a great concept so that everyone can enjoy fresh looking flowers outside throughout the summer. They’ve grown selected varieties of flowers with a ‘secret formula’ (so secret that we can’t tell you what it is) so that the flowers will stay bold, beautiful and in bloom for at least 40 days – all you need to do is water them.

Given the unpredictability of the British weather, that’s quite a claim….so they sent us some to try out and put to the test.

Here’s what they looked like when they arrived:

Blooming floral plants made easy

As you can see, they arrived in a riot of colour, with gorgeous pink and purple flowers and lots of healthy green looking leaves. Although a lot of the flowers were blooming away happily already, there were still lots of buds waiting to open, which was encouraging to see.

So the plants have been outside on our patio ever since, in wind, rain and sun. They’ve survived being accidentally blown over when it got rather windy , being baked in the sun and occasionally going without water after someone (ahem…) forgot to water them.

A month on, here’s how they’re looking today:

Fresh Design garden flowering plant review

Still blooming, hooray! I adore both of the pink ones, they’ve got lovely subtleties of colour and they’re looking gorgeous. The dark purple flowers provides a striking contrast and are an ideal colour combination.

Of course some flowers have gone over, petals have fallen off – that’s only to be expected from a natural plant, you can’t control it’s growth completely without doing more to it – but all things considered, they’re still looking really good.

The Set Your World on Flowers products are currently available exclusively from selected Waitrose stores.

Find out more at, or check them out on Twitter and Instagram

(Disclaimer: We received these plants for review, but all views and opinions are our own).


Potted glory: The Fresh Design guide to container gardening

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

No matter how big your outside space, growing plants in containers is a great way to add some interest and colour. It also helps keep a small space looking clean and simple, as all the plants are raised off the ground level.

You can grow almost anything in a pot, from herbs and bedding plants to vegetables and fruit. Trailing plants such as Lobelia often have more impact when planted in a tall pot rather than in beds and create a wonderful splash of colour during the summer months.

Choosing containers for your plants

Create a structured, architectural look by using large containers such as old stone or iron troughs, or pots of an interesting or unusual shape.

Larger pots will give you more planting options, and anything you choose should ideally be frostproof and have drainage holes. Match the style of container to the plant, as well.

Bright perennials look good against terracotta or stone, glazed pots suit camellias and Japanese maples while taller, more structural plants such as box and privet look good in half barrels or wooden or metal pots.

Scour architectural salvage yards or even car boot sales for unusual planters.

Look for unusual containers to make an impact. Image: Pixabay


If you’re planting an eye-catching display for the summer, fill pots with multi-purpose compost. For very deep pots, put a few large stones in the bottom to encourage drainage.

If you’re planting something long term such as shrubs or herbs, use a soil-based compost which won’t dry out as quickly. If your pots are going to be standing in full sun, such as on a balcony or patio, mix some water-retaining crystals into the compost. When watered, these will swell up keeping the plant damp for longer.

You could also cover the top of the pot with clay ‘pearls’ or gravel, which will help keep the soil moist and to prevent weeds. If your pot will be standing on a hard surface, raise it up on clay feet or bricks to help drainage.

Different sizes and shades of pot make a visual impact. Image: Pixabay

Watering and feeding

Pots are relatively easy to look after, but are vulnerable to drying out. Check them every day during the summer, twice a day in hot weather. Water in the morning and evening, taking care to water the compost rather than the plants themselves.

Fill the container to the brim and let it drain through, then fill a second time so that the compost is evenly moistened. Keep an eye on drainage holes to make sure they don’t become blocked, as most plants dislike sitting in a pool of water.

Throughout the growing season (April to early September), feed plants once a week with a general purpose liquid feed.

Re-potting your plants

 One disadvantage of growing plants in containers is that eventually the roots fill all the available space and become pot bound. At this stage, the plant will stop flourishing and will need to be re-potted.

Choose a container that’s at least a third bigger than the old one, and ease the plant out of the old pot, trying not to damage the root structure. Keep the old compost, and add a third more new compost.

Pots add interest to the smallest space or corner. Image: Pixabay

Frost protection

At the end of the summer, vulnerable perennials such as bay trees, citrus trees or geraniums need to be moved under cover or protected with bubble wrap. Keep the outside pots slightly raised off the ground to keep them out of water, and check them regularly.

Pot plants

Plants particularly suitable for growing in containers include herbs, hostas (which are far easier to protect from slug damage if potted, try putting a copper band round the pot), strawberries, lavender, fushias, fruit bushes such as blackcurrants and even vegetables such as broad beans, peas and salad leaves. Mixing pots containing vegetables with those containing flowers will produce an eye-catching display all summer long.

By Sara Walker

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