The September ‘GARDEN WOW’ list – Our Wow’s from the Landscaping and Garden Design Industry

September ‘GARDEN WOW’ list

Firstly and most importantly we hope you and your loved ones are all keeping well and safe. We have continued to find much solice in the stopping and looking at nature in all it’s glory during these very uncertain times. This little ‘drunk on pollen’ bee was a wonderful WOW stop and look moment captured at Sussex Prairie Garden earlier this Summer, a real WOW GARDEN featured below. We are really delighted to welcome you again to our‘GARDEN WOW’ list – a curated list of all the things we find fascinating, helpful and which make us go WOW from the Garden Design and Landscaping Industries. This list also features our very own local Lewes and Sussex Landscape, which we are constantly in awe of. Hands up, this list aims to be monthly, but a little thing called home schooling might just have got in the way! So really this is the June, July, August and September list, so it’s full of WOW’S! We hope you enjoy.

Things that made us go ‘WOW’ in June, July, August and September

Rewilding WOW:

We were incredibly lucky to be invited to go and stay at Knepp Wildland on the Knepp Estate in August. Knepp is a 3,500 acre estate situated in West Sussex. It went through a radical shift in the 90’s where the owners made the decision to undertake a rewilding of the landscape, having spent years unsucessfully intensively farming it. The results are astounding and the impact on nature huge. The book Wilding by Isabella Tree documents the project and this film really highlights how incredibly successful it has been. The film shows what can happen when you let nature take the driving seat, do have a watch if you can. This was an amazing opportunity post lockdown to wild swim in the campsite lake and take long walks in scrub and woodland where we delighted in seeing a family of Tamworth pigs, large herds of fallow deer, long horned cattle and a huge variety of birds and butterflies. We had a real WOW moment when we spotted a number of white storks introduced to Knepp as part of the White Stork Project, and it was rather lovely to take part in a staring competition with a red deer stag. Knepp’s approach is really different to normal nature conservation and the results are fascinating. It has a range of opportunities for relaxed camping, glamping and safaris, but you can also access the 16 miles of public and permissive footpaths. We will definitely be going back for long walks to see this beautiful nature filled landscape again.

Hubbery Cafe WOW:

We were really happy to recently discover a new cafe in Barcombe, East Sussex. It is currently open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am-5pm and provides delicious Swedish fika and Autumnal lunches. Fika is a Swedish tradition which is about pausing and having coffee and cake with friends and family. The Hubbery Cafe provides a lovely space with outdoor seating and stunning WOW factor planting with a wild garden area simply teeming with wildlife. A great stopping point for cyclists too. This Saturday 12th September there will be kids’ art activities provided by the So Sussex Team and The Spithurst Hub’s resident artists are having their studios open, so a good weekend to go.

Lewes Landscape WOW:

When our children were smaller, we came across the most stunning field full of poppies with a path running straight through the middle, they preceded to run and hide and have a magical time. This Summer, although no poppies were found, the landscape around Lewes definitely provided a WOW.  We have explored it’s beauty on lovely long walks on The South Downs and discovered new pathways and places to be. We’ve loved the wild flowers and slowly changing colours as they develop. Our favourire flower is the beautiful Wild carrot (Daucus carota), unlike the carrot we eat, this wild versions root is not edible. Many of you will know this plant as Queen Anne’s lace, the origin of which is said to be when Queen Anne (married to James I) pricked her finger and stained some lace with her blood. Thanks to the brilliant organisation Plantlife for that fun fact. Do check out their great  seasonal spotter sheets, which you can download every month to help you identify the wild flowers in bloom near you. Now the season is starting to change we’re looking forward to the dance of The South Downs grasses in the wind and the changing leaves on the Trees.

Barbican WOW:

And now for something a little different. We had a lovely few days in London last month and discovered the WOW of the Barbican conservatory. What a lovely place. Having both lived in London for years, we have no idea why we’d never been before! It’s free to go if you book a slot, but be quick as it closes for this year on 20th September 2020. Fantastic inspiration if you have a conservatory and of course a great place to see what house plants you might like to try.

If you are based in the South East why not check out the amazing From Victoria a most beautiful shop in Lewes, it has a lovely selection of house plants and many other very beautiful things. Keeping it local is more important then ever these days.

This was also an opportunity to see the work of Nigel Dunnett at The Barbican. Do check out his website page ‘The Barbican – A public realm transformation’  as it describes the project in detail and has some great images that capture the changing look of the space through the seasons. We love it and whenever we are near we go and see how it has developed. A real garden design inspiration. We are really pleased  to discover that Nigel Dunnett is involved in the Valley Gardens project in Brighton as the specialist planting lead. We are looking forward to seeing the project when it fully opens. Watch this space for news on this.

Sussex Prairies Garden WOW:

Back to a much more local garden WOW. Sussex Prairie Garden based in Henfield, is a real favourite of ours. It’s open until 11th October when it closes for the year, so do try and check it out. No need to book. It’s closed on Tuesdays and open Mon, Weds, Thurs, Fri and Sat from 1pm-5pm and Sunday 11am-5pm. Serving drinks and delicious home made cakes from a kiosk, with plenty of chairs outside, it’s a very lovely day out and also great for children because of the hide and seek paths in the large deep borders. Dogs are welcome too. If you are an RHS Member you get in free as part of the excellent RHS Partner Garden Scheme.

Sowing Seeds WOW:

One of the heartwarming things about lockdown was the strengthening of the community in Lewes where we live. Whats app groups were set up and they were a real source of support for many people. They also became a place where people offered thing they didn’t need. We jumped at the chance to get some Sunflower seedlings from our friend Jason Mosseri of Hope Spring Chairs

The sunflowers that developed were really beautiful, big bold, defiant and definitely had the WOW factor. They were also a source of wonderful nourishment for the buzzing bees in our garden. Seeing them grow and open as the weeks past became a lovely daily ritual. This year we sowed more seeds in our garden then ever before. Some survived and flourished and others got swept away by the heavy rain. it’s definately a journey mixed with failure and success for us! We are planning to continue sowing seeds and are going to try growing some hardy annuals this month. If you too are interested in sowing hardy annuals then check out the RHS guide about what seeds to sow in September and the best way to do it. We are going to try out one of our favourite plants, the beautiful Ammi majus. A lovely annual plant which is a fantastic addition to a perennial border.

We just want to highlight that Jason (giver of Sunflowers) is a maker of the MOST lovely hand made chairs and stools. Check out the six day chair making course he runs located in an ancient Sussex Woodland. They are all sold out for this year, but worth asking about next!

Butterfly WOW:

White Admiral catepillar, Photograph by Michael Blencoe

And finally to end this with a flutter! Apparently 2020 was the best Summer for butterflies for 25 years.  Many of the white butterfly species are still really enjoying our garden. Our butterfly WOW was discovering A Beginners Guide to Sussex Butterlies created by butterfly expert Michael Blencoe of the Sussex Wildlife Trust. Love this picture taken by him! This free online 8 part course not only helps with butterfly identification, but also gives absolutely brilliant facts and insights into their lifestyles. Do check it out, we have learned so much already and still have more episodes to watch! Who knew that when you see woodland butterflies ‘dancing’ they are actually battling and sparing and that butterflies make hissing noises by rubbing their wings together. Some fascinating and funny facts to be learned (and those are just in part 1!). It has made us look even more closely at the butterflies around us. Michael highlights the incredible painted lady butterfly invasion of 2009, where an army of 8 million painted lady butterfles invaded Sussex. This was something that the Knepp estate was particularly thankful for as they dessimated the creeping thistle in what was called a buttefly blizzard, an example of nature being in the driving seat. This kind of mass invasion happens every decade, so we are due another one soon! Watch out!

May your September be a safe one.

Sophie and Simon




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The May ‘GARDEN WOW’ list – Our Wow’s from the Landscaping and Garden Design Industry

May ‘GARDEN WOW’ list

Firstly and most importantly we are really hoping that you and your loved ones are keeping well. We hope that whatever green space you have available to you is bringing you solace in these uncertain times. Whether it’s a garden, a balcony, a rural landscape or a city park, it certainly feels that connection to and re-discovery of nature is taking a central role in many people’s coping strategies.  We wanted to do something proactive and positive for our lovely followers and those new to this blog. We’ve developed a monthly ‘GARDEN WOW’ list – a curated list of all the things we find fascinating, helpful and which make us go WOW from the Garden Design and Landscaping Industries. We hope you enjoy.

Things that made us go ‘WOW’ this month

Instagram WOW:

Image of Simon Scott Landscaping instagram account @gardentastic





We are landscapers who work with Garden Designers to build their gardens. Our Instagram account @gardentastic is certainly eclectic! It jumps from garden focused shots, to family snaps and most recently has had a few broken spoon shots, casualties of vigorous support of the Thursday clap for our carers.

What we find Instagram particularly brilliant for is the community it has developed amongst Landscapers, Garden Designers and Plant nurseries. The Instagram accounts of Designers are full of new design ideas, interesting materials and beautiful plants. During lockdown restrictions some Garden Designers have been using Instagram as a tool to share some brilliant garden top tips. We are definitely WOWED by the effort and generosity of people who take the time to share their expertise and knowledge in this way.

@myrealgarden instagram account

Ann-Marie Powell, a Garden Designer who runs Ann-Marie Powell Gardens has set up the fantastic Instagram account @myrealgarden. Everyday at 12.30 Ann-Marie does a garden ‘LIVE’. If you can’t get to the ‘LIVE’, there is often a video sum up of what has been discussed. Highlights for us have been top tips relating to planting choices for shady borders, a video tutorial on how to take soft cuttings and get plants for free and planting with grasses. An informative, supportive and supremely positive Instagram feed that will make you smile and want to get gardening immediately.


Picture of sprout up instagram account

@sprout.up instagram account

Sprout up is a garden design practice based in South London. Their project Believe in Tomorrow is all about getting school children to connect with nature. Their Instagram feed @sprout.up reflects this and has, during lockdown focused on posting little videos which give gardening tips that are really accessible and encourage more children to get planting. Do also check out their Believe in Tomorrow film if you can, it’s beautiful.



Picture of Mathew Childs Instagram account

@mattiechilds instagram account

Matthew Childs, a Garden Designer who runs Matthew Childs Design has also been out in his garden, his hash tag #sharingthegardenlove sums up his approach. Check out his lovely Instagram feed @mattiechilds where he shares some great ideas and top tips, often accompanied by his dog Syd, sometimes with a pop song and always with a smile. Lots of videos for you to check out, including a run through of some rabbit resistant plants. I know some of our clients will be very interested in this post.


If you are inspired by these lovely instagram accounts to start growing, remember there are still lots of plants  you can grow by seed in May. Amongst others you can plant Sunflower, Cosmos, Cornflowers, Calendula and French marigold seeds and so much more. All are great to grow with children too. The RHS has also provided a fantastic veg planner pdf for everyone to download to use, this highlights vegetables you can start growing in May.

No Mow May WOW:

This month we were introduced to the organisation Plant life. WOW! What they do is definitely a force for good. As they state, every flower counts when it comes to providing vital nectar for bees and butterflies and many other pollinating insects. It is encouraging people not to mow their lawns during May and let the flowers grow!





I’ve seen the hashtag #nomowmay everywhere already so looks like their No Mow May awareness campaign is working well. Check out their lovely video which explains how you can find out your personal nectar score at the end of this month.  Check out ‘Every Flower Counts’ to find out how you too can take part in a brand new citizen science action from 23rd-31st May.  The film taught us how much nectar five daisies, two dandelions and six buttercups provide for a very important insect over a very short amount of time. Certainly makes the point that wild flowers play such as vital role in the eco system process.

Many of you would have noticed the beautiful road verges blossoming during lockdown full of flora and fauna. They have been able to flourish because they have been without the interference of mowers. Plantlife have been running a road verge campaign since 2013 to nurture and protect these incredible wild flower spaces.  There campaign focuses on getting those who make the decisions to ‘cut less, cut later’ and they encouraging everyone to sign a letter in support of this here.

Low Mow Lawn WOW

We regularly build gardens for lovely Bo from Bo Cook Garden and Landscape Design. Bo has been experimenting with a low mow lawn mix (perennials only) in her own garden in Lewes. Rather than just embracing  #nomowmay you could go one step further and invest in a low mow lawn. Bo’s low mow lawn is soft under foot, has a lovely variety of textures and shades of green and is full of beautiful small perennial flowers. In our opinion it is a beautiful addition to any garden and you will be providing such a rich source of nectar to your very grateful insect guests. You will also of course be dramatically reducing the amount of times you need to mow the lawn. Check out Bo’s Blog where she talks you through her low mow lawn experiment and also recommends and links to a local Sussex based supplier of her low mow lawn seed mix.

Corona Wildlife Diary from The Sussex Wildlife Trust WOW:

This diary written by Michael Blencowe from The Sussex Wildlife Trust is really wonderful, do take time to read it and to dip in and out of the archived daily entries. It is funny, quirky and informative and full of nature’s secrets. We are in awe of Michael’s incredible knowledge, this is a definite WOW for us. Michael highlights the uplifting role that wildlife plays in our lives (especially in these unusual times). We hope you enjoy, this was a gift of a discovery for us.

We particularly loved discovering day forty five, where we learn all about Hawthorn and the real significance of the May-Tree which at the moment it is blooming all over Lewes in East Sussex where we live. We had no idea about the superstitions relating to misfortune if you bring Hawthorn inside the house and why the flowers have such an unpleasant smell, we know much more about it now! Day forty four celebrates the Earthworm, so much great information here, amongst others the fact that Cleopatra declared them to be sacred (we love this!). Day fifty nine celebrates May Bugs, so we couldn’t resist sharing Michael’s brilliant image of a May Bug above. Do check out the May Bug Movie he created of them taking flight, it certainly lifted our spirits.

May your May be a safe one.

Sophie and Simon




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The Winter Garden and some Spring delights

The Winter Garden at Wakehurst Place is at it’s peak seasonal interest at the moment. Bursting with 33,000 plants, it has some really beautiful areas to inspire those who love gardens and gardening. Beautifully designed, accessible and with some great landscaping this is a perfect place for a weekend trip. Bold curved benches provide a great place to pause and reflect, gravel pathways lead you to the different areas while the heady smell of Daphne fills the air. One year on from our last visit, the garden has filled out very nicely and we highly recommend a visit while it’s looking so great.

Other Sussex Winter Gardens to explore:

There are many wonderful Sussex Winter gardens and landscapes to inspire you and get you out and about on these beautiful bracing cold days. See below some other lovely Winter Gardens to visit in Sussex. You can also link to our blog here which talks in more depth about Nyman’s and Batemans, both listed below.

Nymans Gardens, East Sussex

Nyman’s offer lovely guided Winter walks around the garden and also around their surrounding woodland. You can also, of course discover it all by yourselves. See details here.

They also offer top tips about where to spot their beautiful snow drops (Catch them while you can!)

A National Trust Garden and an RHS partner garden.

Batemans Gardens, East Sussex

This garden is full of gorgeous structural interest and a great location from which to go on some lovely Winter walks. It was also the home of Rudyard Kipling.

A National Trust Garden

Sheffield Park and Garden , East Sussex

We love Sheffield park with it’s beautiful water, epic and huge trees. A real family favourite when our little ones were smaller.

They have a great link for their wintery walks. The garden has so much to explore and discover.

A National Trust Garden and an RHS partner garden.

Winter Gardens further afield:

To explore other gardens in Sussex and of course further a field there are some fantastic ways to discover gardens local to you. Try searching National Trust Gardens to find some incredibly diverse gardens all over the country. Find where the beautiful RHS Gardens are as they have gardens designed for all the seasons, packed full of horticultural inspiration. They also run the wonderful RHS Partner Gardens scheme which if you are already an RHS member means you can often get in for free during certain periods of the year.

There are also some brilliant gardens listed on the National Open Garden Scheme. I love that there is a whole section dedicated to Snowdrop gardens. Check out their snowdrop garden link here.

Spring is in the air and a local Spring Garden Show not to miss:

Spring is nearly upon us and I can’t wait to start seeing the Spring bulbs bursting into life, a time of hope and new beginnings. I am signing off with a date for your diary:

The Garden Show at Firle is on from the 17th-19th April this year. A really wonderful Spring Garden Show and a rare opportunity to see one of my favourite gardens, The Firle Place Herb Garden. See my blog about this show and the garden here.

While I’m planning what I’m going to blog about next, the Landscaper in this duo is already very busy building beautiful gardens for the Garden Designers and clients we work with. Please do get in touch if you would like to discuss your garden with us.

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The Landscape Show, Lewes Women in Business and what we did this Summer….

So for the past few weeks it hasn’t stopped raining and as the team go out everyday, whatever the weather to build what will be a beautiful garden, I sit somewhat guiltily in the warmth and safety of the office. It’s given me some time to reflect on what a busy few months it’s been. We were delighted to have been invited once again to take part in The Landscape Show in London and we were very pleased to have been featured once again in their preview magazine.

I was honoured to chair a discussion with some really talented Garden Designers whose generosity and honesty during the discussion was really affirming. Our panel title was ‘Staying in Love with our Industry: Celebrating the Highs and Surviving the Lows’ and as you can imagine discussion covered a real range of topics. A highlight for us was hearing about and contributing to positive models of how Landscapers and Garden Designers can work together to support each other to create beautiful projects that clients love. The discussion also shone a light of the incredible work of Perennial an amazing organisation and the only UK charity dedicated to helping people who work in horticulture when times get tough. Do check them out if you think they might be able to help and do support them if you can. My fantastic panel were the hugely talented Bo Cook of Bo Cook Landscape and Garden Design, Karen McClure of Karen McClure Garden and Landscape Design and Rachel Reynolds of Reynolds Design. Do check out their beautiful work. The Landscape show was once again a brilliant event and an opportunity to gain knowledge, new insights, meet up with the great suppliers we work with and discover new materials on the market. Going to events such as these build the wonderful support network that exists in our industry. Check out my blog on 2018’s show to see why these events are so important.

Talking of vital networks, I was so delighted when I was asked by wonderful photographer Carlotta Luke of Carlotta Luke Photography to be on her monthly Viva Lewes page which in July focused on Lewes Women in Business (LWB), a friendly not-for-profit networking group. This group brings together independent business women at monthly meetings in order to share resources, ideas, for mutual support, mentoring, networking and collaboration. It has been going for five years and it has been such a great resource for me and our business. I highly recommend you check it out if you can. In the spirit of celebrating networks and the people in them I wanted to share the work of the really talented women who I feature with in Carlotta’s Viva Lewes page. Cammie Toloui offers intuitive, deep, massage therapy in Lewes. Check out the different types of massage she does and read the fantastic testimonials on her website, I have heard so many people raving about her amazing massage, so hoping my time will come soon. Chloe Therese is the founder of LWB and is truly an inspiration as a person and as a maker of delicious-ness! I defy you not to drool as you check out the beautiful images of her produce on her website Seven Sisters’ Spices. Chloe combines the work of a catering & teaching kitchen with the artisanal small batch production of spice blends, dukkahs, curry kits & seasonal pickles, chutneys & ready meals. Buy them all up as soon as you get the chance because they are sooooo good! I want to do every single one of her workshops please! Oh and she is also brilliant at growing beautiful bright Dahlia’s – not jealous at all! Nicola Furner of Nicola Furner Architects works on really interesting projects in Lewes and the surrounding areas, creating innovative, beautiful and affordable designs. She is also a passionate advocate of sustainability and a supporter of local suppliers and craftspeople, so we have been lucky enough to have had many meetings to discuss possibilities of one day working together. Katie Vandyck is a website maker and photographer, check out her beautiful work at 100Designs Websites. Katie specialises in websites for small businesses and independent traders and is a great person to work with so do take a look and see what she can do for you. Finally I had to highlight (amongst lots of her brilliant projects) the particular strand of work Carlotta does in architectural documentary. Carlotta has recently worked with the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, where she spent a year documenting the transformation of its centre into a coworking hub that now supports up and coming architects and she was shortlisted and came second for a photography award with one of my favourite images of hers. Do check it out and find out more information about the project here. Other developments captured by Carlotta and a bit closer to Lewes are the development of The Brighton Dome Corn Exchange (watch out for the skeletons) and of course The Depot. There are many more women who are part of this networking group and they all deserve a big shout out, so please do check out their work on The LWB Directory on the website. For any Brighton and Lewes locals a date for you diaries is the Lewes Women in Business Pop Up Christmas Emporium returning for its 5th year. This year sharing the day with Made in Brighton’s Art Fair up at the Lewes Town Hall, the Emporium will run on Saturday 30th November from 10.30am to 5pm at the All Saints Centre, Friars Walk. Entry is free, Caccia & Tails are running the café (delicious delicious delicious!) and there will be over 20 local female run independent businesses selling their wares, from jewellery to spices, ceramics to art prints and much more besides. A delightful way to start your present buying while supporting the local Lewes economy.

Lastly to what we got up to this Summer…….him indoors (whose always outdoors) only had a week off the tools, so we walked, swam, surfed, ate delicious food and had some special time together as a family in deepest beautiful West Wales – It was lovely. In the extra week I had, I decided my children and I needed some more gardens in our lives (much to their delight!) so I managed to see two gardens I have been wanting to see for ages. Garden Designer Jo Thompson has designed the most beautiful new Cool Garden at RHS Rosemoor in Devon, see some really stunning images of it at Jo Thompson Landscape and Garden Design. It was simply breathtaking and I want to return year after year. Beautiful hard landscape bespoke details with a curved waterway and stunning planting with such a lovely palette of colours and range of textures. I really loved it.

And I finally managed to see The Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall. These beautiful gardens and their story deserve a whole blog to themselves but to summarise Heligan’s historic gardens were unknown and unseen only 29 years ago; lost to nature since the outbreak of WW1. It was a chance discovery of a door in the ruins that led to the garden’s restoration. Imagine being the first person to open that door! I feel I only really had the chance to see the very tip of it’s magic so I will definitely return to this lovely place.

And as a final goodbye to the streaming light of summer and blissful warm breezy evenings, I only just managed to catch one of my favourite East Sussex gardens Sussex Prairies on a day in early October and nearly it’s last open day of the season. This place has such magic for me, I always return every year. See my blog on Textured Landscapes to see why I love it so much.

Next year, I have promised myself I will go at least four times to Sussex Prairies to see it in all its glorious seasonal change. Now onwards to Autumn adventures and please (especially for him outdoors) let there be an end to the continuing pitter patter of heavy rain on my window.

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RHS Flower Shows and Open Gardens – Inspirational events and lovely days out






Suddenly it’s Spring and everyone’s venturing out to see the delights of bulbs surfacing and buds unfurling. It feels like our beautiful Magnolia is bursting with flowers this year. It’s time in the Simon Scott Landscaping office to plan which local open gardens we are going to visit this year and to book tickets to the RHS flower Shows. Inspirational events and lovely days out are our favourite kind of planning.

Below are some of our visual highlights from recent RHS shows we’ve been to. We also list ways to find out about some fantastic local open gardens to get to if you can. You can often visit these local gardens for a small contribution and there is always large portions of homemade cake and copious amounts of real lemonade. So really the very best kind of day. The Chelsea Fringe is also on our radar this year and we can’t wait to go to something a bit different at their events. So get your diaries at the ready and start planning your very own inspirational garden year.








Tom Stuart-Smith’s Weston Garden in Chelsea 2018 was such a highlight for us last year we continually re-visit the pictures we took. The garden was full of lush foliage plants with contrasting textures and all sorts of shades of green. The hardscape materials used in this garden complimented the planting beautifully.

RHS Flower Shows:

Many RHS shows happen all over the UK and throughout the year. If we can, we try to go to RHS Chelsea (May 21-25 2019), RHS Hampton Court (2-7 July 2019) and RHS Chatsworth (5-9 June 2019).  These events are such a great opportunity to see stunning garden design come to life, beautiful planting and excellent landscaping at its best. It’s always difficult to capture the real essence of the gardens through the crowds but here is a  selection of our pictures of some of the stand-out gardens we fell in love over recent years.












































There were so many other beautiful gardens that would have made this visual list but these are the ones we managed to capture. Designers are listed in order of row below:

Sarah Price, The M&G Garden. Sarah Price. The M&G Garden. Sam Ovens, The Wedgewood Garden. Matt Keightley, The Feel Good Garden. Tony Woods, Urban Flow. Naomi Ferrett-Cohen, Life without walls. John Everiss and Francesca Murrell, Myeloma UK Garden. Butter Wakefield, Belmond Enchanted Gardens. Jo Thompson, Brewin Dolphin Garden. McWilliam Studios, Breaking Ground. Charlotte Harris, Royal Bank of Canada Garden. Matt Keightley, The Jeremy Vine texture garden.

Open Gardens:

RHS flower shows place a spotlight on the talents of excellent garden designers and skilled landscapers, it’s the place to see the best of the best. However, there is something wonderful about having the opportunity to see a private garden that invites the public in. Below are some of our pictures of Southease Open gardens which happens every year near Lewes, where we are based. It was wonderful to see the eclectic mix of gardens big and small that had been tended to for years by their owners.












Although we find show gardens hugely inspiring we often have to peek at them through the crowds.  Visiting open gardens is a very different experience, you can walk in the garden, pause and take time to breathe in the scent of it’s flowers. The gardens are often labours of love and have been developed over a number of years. You have the opportunity to ask questions of the owners who give expert tips and advice. They feel like working gardens and have the character of the owners embossed in them. Sometimes they have had garden design input but often they are the results of really hard work, mistakes rectified and dreams realised. They are real and often beautiful gardens with proud and knowledgeable owners. Also great places to get seedlings and more sturdy plants that sell for practically nothing.

I was so delighted to discover the National Open Garden Scheme’s mobile app, which makes it really easy to find any private gardens opening for Charity near you. You simply input your postcode or town and it gives you the details of whats happening where and when. You can download it here.

I have also discovered the National UK Directory of Open Gardens. You can search by each region and it lets you know the month in which local open gardens are happening in towns and villages in your area (specific dates are uploaded once they are confirmed). There are so many great Sussex open garden events  listed, so make sure you get those dates in the diary.

Firle Place Herb Garden





One of our favourite gardens opens at The Garden Show in Spring at Firle Place which is happening this year on Easter weekend 19-21 April. It is the walled Herb Garden at Firle. See my blog about this lovely place here. The show is a great family event and a must for anyone interested in gardens and gardening.

Chelsea Fringe:

We are really determined this year to check out some of the Chelsea Fringe events happening from 18th – 26th May 2019. Now in it’s eighth year it is totally independent of the RHS Chelsea flower show and anything goes at the fringe. It will feature a mix of ‘public spectacles, horticultural happenings and community celebrations’. We look forward to more details when they are announced. Check out the Chelsea Fringe website to get updates of events happening in your area.

If there is a garden or design focused inspirational event and lovely day out  that you’d like us to feature in future blogs do get in touch and let us know.

We wish you a great inspirational garden year ahead.


















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Simon Scott Landscaping feature in ‘Back to Black’ in House and Garden

Simon Scott Landscaping in House and Garden

We are so excited that Simon Scott Landscaping have been included in the ‘Back to Black’ feature in November’s issue of House and Garden.

Credit and huge thanks for allowing us to show these pages goes to the lovely David Nicholls, Deputy Editor of House and Garden who wrote the feature and the lovely Photographer Will Pryce, whose beautiful photographs are featured.

The feature focuses on the super talented Hamish, Yvonne, Keir and Liam Black and their converted nineteenth-century Sussex family barn. The barn is now a modern live-work space which, as well as being home to Hamish and Yvonne, is also home to art studios, meeting rooms and a huge gallery. It’s a space which the whole family can use to pursue their own creative businesses and it is very beautiful. It is a place that invites creativity and experimentation. It is our kind of place.

Many moons ago, we were lucky enough to see this extraordinary building in development and it was great to have the chance to visit once again for lunch with the family during the House and Garden shoot. The finished house works so beautifully with its open spaces and glorious light streaming through the epic roof, wide windows and glass doors. Keir Black, is the founder and principal architect of Field Architecture and was, of course, the architect for this project. We were so delighted to find out that it received recognition from the Sussex Heritage Trust for its residential design and that it Field Architecture had won the award for Retrofit House (under £500,000) at last year’s Architect’s Journal Retrofit Awards.

The blurring of indoors and outdoors in this space is achieved so perfectly with large bi-fold doors that open up a huge section of the side of the house and gallery space onto the central courtyard space. Spaces also connect beautifully with the doors on the other side of the building pulling you through the space which then open out onto a smaller beautifully formed garden courtyard. The windows to the kitchen have also been designed so that the corner ‘disappears’ as you open it, really utilising the aspect of the house. This is a real ‘outdoor’ kitchen where gathering of food, family and their conversations can happen both inside and out.

The garden to this beautiful place is an inspiration, created and developed organically and over time by Hamish and Yvonne, it has stunning views and as well as being home to a beautiful orchard and kitchen garden, it is also host to some of Hamish’s sculptures. We love the first page of the article where the family is pictured surrounding (and in!) Hamish’s sculptor ‘Shout’. Anyone local to Brighton will also know Hamish’s sculpture ‘Afloat’ which has become such an iconic Brighton landmark positioned on the seafront.

Inside the house, the gallery displays more of Hamish’s work and also Yvonne’s bold beautiful torn paper and metal constructed reliefs which work so well displayed on the walls of this light, bright and minimal space.

Keir also designed the relocatable outdoor building in the grounds now used as a recording studio by Liam who is a music producer. This happens to one of the best designed ‘outdoor rooms’ we know, clad with black recycled sheet material with big plate glass windows, it is another space that invites the outdoor in with ingenious simplicity and extraordinary results. One day there will be a whole blog just about this ‘outdoor room’. It’s one of our favourite places.

In the article Sophie is featured with Keir on the site of a local project we are working on together, we love working with such a talented architect who considers the surrounding landscape to be such a vital part of his design process.

It was also lovely to see included in the same feature our friend, the very talented blacksmith and designer James Price pictured at his forge with Hamish. James has a wide portfolio of work and often works with Garden Designers as well as private clients to create beautiful bespoke original metalwork ranging from gates, railings, pergolas and benches. A particular favourite of ours is the bespoke wheat and scythes architectural railings James created for a client who had asked for a design with an agricultural influence. The perfect boundary line for a Sussex down lands garden.

We were also so delighted to see the stunning fire bowl James created for Andy Sturgeon’s Daily Telegraph show garden at the RHS Chelsea flower show a couple of years ago.

It was a real privilege to be part of this House and Garden feature and to be mentioned in the same context as other creative people connected to the Black family.

Anna Garner, is founder of the artesian website The Garnered, which is an online retail space that works closely with designers across the globe. It was lovely to discover that our Lewes based friend and amazing jeweller Abby Mosseri is the first face you see under the designers section of the website. Do take some time to check out all the designers and artisan’s featured on The Garnered, we spent hours looking at all the truly beautiful products, such a lovely collection.

Also featured were John Booth, chair of trustees of Pallant House Gallery in Chichester, Tim Ashley, photographer and writer, Ann Elliot, Writer and curator of Gallery57 and Suzi Hopkins Co-founder of site specific theatre, The Company. Definitely worth checking out the gallery’s websites for information about their upcoming exhibitions as well as reading about the fascinating work of The Company.

November’s issue of House and Garden is full of inspirational features on beautiful gardens and horticulture. Heale House and Garden in Wiltshire is shown in all its glory including a picture of the most lovely apple and pear tunnel that bisects the kitchen garden. Also featured is ‘Part 2’ of Clare Foster’s The Tree series ‘Branch lines’ which is an exploration of different methods of training fruit trees and a also include a gorgeous series of black and white images of espalier, fan and cordon trees. ‘Part 1’ of the Tree Series is available online and about ‘How to choose trees for you garden’.

We are already looking forward to the December issue of House and Garden which is out now!

For further information about the work of Hamish, Yvonne, Keir and Liam Black, please follow the links below.

See Kier’s work at Field Architecture here.

See Hamish’s work here.

See Yvonne’s work here.

See Kier’s work at Field Architecture here.

See Liam’s work here.

And to see the beautiful photographs of Will Pryce visit here.







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Simon Scott Landscaping at The Landscape Show

Simon Scott Landscaping are really delighted to be speaking at The Landscape Show this year on 18th September. The event takes place over two days on 18th and 19th September at Battersea Park, London. It is a trade event dedicated to a number of Landscape Industry professionals including Garden Designers, Landscape Architects and contractors like us. It provides a professional development opportunity, a platform to network and a chance to source market led products and find out what’s new on the scene.










We were also very happy to be featured in their preview magazine with a recent completed garden build in East Sussex which was designed by Julia Fogg associates Landscape and Garden Design. See link for the full feature and highlights of some other really interesting projects by a number of landscape industry experts also taking part in the seminar programme.

I will be compere to a panel of very talented garden designers Karen McClure, Bo Cook and Rachel Reynolds. Our seminar is for anyone who is new to the world of garden design and landscaping and who is thinking of setting up a business. we will be sharing some key tips and our experiences.

Last year’s brilliant presentation by Stone federation inspired me to write a blog about the ethical and practical issues to consider when specifying and installing stone.

What Industry events such as The Landscape Show provide are vital opportunities to keep us ahead of the game and up to date with the current standards that should be adhered to. This event is full of great seminars from professionals at the top of their game.

You can register for FREE here.

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The Garden Show at Firle Place, Herb Garden, plant and design inspiration

Garden Show at Firle Place

We highly recommend a visit in April to The Garden Show at Firle Place. We especially recommend seeing the Firle Place Herb Garden. This year  the show happening from Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd April. We’ve been visiting this show ever since we based our landscaping company in lovely Lewes. The show is a great opportunity to meet up with horticultural experts, support local plant growers and get inspiration about your garden, garden design and garden landscaping too.

With a good dosing of fine tea, local arts and crafts and lashings of cake – what’s not to like. If you have little ones, there is also lots of fun to be had with relaxed and often times past themed play and entertainment areas. There will be garden doctors available to solve any plant problems you have. From identifying pests and diseases to advising you about right plant, right place for your garden.  On Saturday and Sunday there will also be the ‘Fantastical Pirate Treasure & Easter Egg Hunt’ for litte ones based in the Firle church yard at 2pm -Easter eggs after Easter – what could be better! Visit The Firle Place website more information and links to get tickets.

Top Tip: The Firle Place Herb Garden






Looking for garden design inspiration? My top tip is to make sure you visit The Firle Place Herb Garden while you are at the show. The herb garden is located within the stunning 18th century walled garden. I was told that it is compartmentalised by the different areas of the body that certain herbs are used to treat. An interesting way to approach garden design.





Firle Place Herb Garden





This area of plant medicine is one I am really interested in so this ticks many boxes for me. See my power of plants blog which focuses on this further to find out more. The garden in its current form is now in its third year of growth and we are really looking forward to seeing how the herb garden has matured and what changes and additions have been made. My biggest delight last year was discovering what Pulsatilla vulgaris (pasque flower) looked like and falling head over heals in love with it.  The foliage is silky and divided and is topped with purple flowers with yellow centres. These turn into strikingly delicate seed heads. What I love about this plant is its combination of seed heads and blooming flowers on the upright stems of the same plant. These plants are also tolerant of drought once established so a winner in my eyes. So great to discover these lovely plants, in bloom and thriving in Firle.  Pulsatilla has always had an association with Easter and I have read somewhere that it is supposed to flower on Good Friday. Be interesting to see how our dis-arming weather of late will effect its blooming date!









Still in development, some areas of the garden are quite sparse, in need of weeding, or waiting for perennials to wake fully, the tips of their growth only just evident. The scattering of tulips throughout the space with the bold foliage of Cynara cardunculus (Cardoon) really gives a cohesion to the garden. April is the perfect time to see these tulips at their best, I can’t wait to see any new additions. There is something refreshing about  going to a Garden Show where the garden you see is a real working garden, taking it’s time to develop and establish. The Firle Gardeners were on hand last year to answer any questions. I always get the best tips from the gardeners in a place like this. I find gardeners of this type of gradual project always really willing to share their immense horticultural and practical knowledge. The main hard landscaping feature of this garden is the exquisite boundary wall. It is clear that in places it is feeling the effect of its age and quite literally showing its cracks. However, it has such a beautiful tone of brick and is the perfect frame for the plants. There are also some lovely simple and old fashioned garden landscaping elements, which are a perfect light touch, bricks and stepping stones work perfectly with the mown pathways.  They give structure to the herb planting beds which are the essence of this beautiful place. There are a number of stalls selling unusual and rare plants, so a good opportunity to be inspired and create your own herb garden.

The Pleasure Grounds at Firle

Turfed stairs, Firle place, Gardens in East Sussex

Five years ago we were also lucky enough to get the unique opportunity to go on a tour of the restoration project of the pleasure grounds at Firle, led by Philip Fenech, head gardener. See my musings on the Firle garden pleasure grounds tour  here and do look out for any further tours planned, they are really worth it.  The beautiful turf steps are a real favourite.

My next garden visit and one to tick off my ever increasing list of must sees will be the Chelsea Physic Garden, London’s oldest botanic garden. This incredible place holds around 5,000 different edible, useful and medicinal plants that have changed the world. Someone whispered that the Easter Bunny might even be visiting this garden during Easter weekend. A great time to go as the garden will be bursting into bloom.  Check out details Chelsea Physic Garden

Have Fun!







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Garden Design Clinic – Lewes on Sat 9th December 2017

Why not treat yourself this Christmas and invest in your garden.

Announcing FREE Garden Design Clinics at Lewes Women in Business Pop Up Christmas Emporium on: Sat 9th December 10.30am-5pm at Lewes House, 32 High Street, Lewes

Simon Scott Landscaping and Bo Cook Landscape & Garden Design are delighted to be offering joint Garden Design Clinics at the LWB Pop Up Christmas Emporium happening on Sat 9th Dec at Lewes House.

Your garden is an extension to your home and your windows are your largest picture frame in your house. Transforming your garden will transform your home. It will enhance the way you use your space, encouraging you to spend more time within it. It will also create a beautiful canvas to be admired from the inside.

Find out how you can invest in your garden to enrich and extend yours and your family’s living space. To discuss your gardens potential and find out how even small changes can make a big difference, come and have an informal chat with the experts.

What do you need to do?

  • Book a 15 minute garden design clinic with Bo Cook at
  • Bring any photos, plans and ideas you already have
  • Bring a rough sketch of your existing garden layout if you can!

Book in your slot to get some focused advise about your garden’s potential, learn more about the garden design and build process, and how it can add real value to your life and to your home.





If you forget to book a slot, please do feel free to come by anyway to have a chat.

LWB Christmas Emporium – Perfect for presents:

Lewes Women in Business (LWB) is a not for profit Community Interest Company bringing together Independent business women from all over Lewes District. The Christmas Emporium is on Sat 9th Dec, 10.30am-5pm at Lewes House, 32 High Street, Lewes. FREE ENTRY featuring a wide selection of handmade gifts and bespoke services, perfect for presents.

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The Quarry –Landscape education and design inspiration

In this weeks blog we celebrate industry events, professional development, the quarry as a site for education and inspiration and James Basson’s ‘The M & G’ garden. We also highlight Shoots great planting list resource for show gardens.

We were lucky enough to go to a brilliant presentation by the Stone Federation at The Landscape Show this month. The stone federation’s mission is to promote the use of natural stone as a sustainable and versatile building material of choice. As most of the garden designers we work with specify natural stone in their projects this was one not to miss.

No two pieces of natural stone look exactly the same in both texture and colour and this makes it a unique and interesting material to work with. Indeed it is an exciting time when stone from a supplier is unpacked on site and the setting out begins in earnest.

With over 8,000 natural stones to choose from in the current market, it is important for the garden designers we work with and ourselves to know how to make sure that the stone choice made is the right choice.

There are a huge range of factors to consider when specifying and installing stone as part of a garden build. Not all stones are suited to every situation and any stone specified needs to be fit for purpose. Research is key, we work with stone suppliers who are at the top of their game in relation to quality and experience and they give great advice for individual projects.

For larger projects, the stone federation highlighted the benefits of visiting a quarry where you are thinking of sourcing the stone from. This allows you to get an in depth understanding of the stone by looking at the geological characteristics, seeing how it is extracted, examining the faces of the stone and seeing at close hand how the stone has been formed over time. There is no point specifying large slabs at a certain depth for a particular stone if the quarry that produces it is only able to produce limited slabs at a restricted depth.

You can also identify stock levels and make future reserves so that you can be sure that the material will be available at the time of build. For ourselves, our clients and many of the garden designers we work with it’s important that you know where the stone you are using comes from. Having an understanding of the environmental impact, sustainability and an assurance that the sourcing is ethical and responsible is key. We use stone suppliers who work closely with organisations such as the ethical trading initiative and the forest trust which enable them to provide us with the assurances we need. We would highly recommend checking out the stone federation’s website for a rich source of further information, a one stop shop for all queries stone related. We were particularly interested in their blog about Indigenous stones of Great Britain and where they are located. Lots of great information on there.

We recently visited Lithica, a quarry located in Menorca. No longer a working quarry, Lithica has been lovingly restored since the 1990’s and has become a series of gardens, walkways and huge stone monuments. These are stark, imposing and beautiful all at the same time, epic in their size and a space where nature has been able to thrive and take over.

You can see why James Basson, the garden designer who won  best in show at Chelsea 2017 for ‘The M & G Garden’ was so inspired by these extraordinary landscapes. His inspiration came from an abandoned Maltese quarry and featured monumental blocks of Limestone planted with grasses, evergreens and perennials. Plants that are unique to the arid Mediterranean environment of Malta.








The quarry at Lithica was used for sandstone abstraction and has two contrasting areas created by two very distinct methods of quarrying. One area was created by manual quarrying, which has formed labyrinths of stone where vegetation has grown up in-between and tumbles from cliff tops up high. A botanical circuit has been developed here with different zones such as those of the medieval kitchen and herb gardens where native plants flourish. It was great to see a myriad of garden designs hiding around each corner.








As a polar opposite you have the area that remains from the modern quarry extraction technique, where the scarred remains are vast, dominant and impressive. Walls are huge and the machines have created a beautiful minimalist pattern through this modern method of extraction. Patterns echoed in James Basson’s main monolith in ‘The M & G garden’. A huge sculptural maze forms the centre piece of this space, created from the blocks of quarried rock. The maze leads you to a stunning water feature. A space that is awe inspiring from below when looking up and disturbingly reminiscent of the set of a dystopian film. It is just as impressive from above –where the scale of the space makes the humans below look like ants in the landscape. You can see why these landscapes are full of design inspiration.

The more structured planting on the botanical circuit is beautiful, maintained and well-watered with a complicated irrigation system in place to keep the plants thriving during the hot season. Just as beautiful are the plants that appear through the cracks that have been spread by seed and thrive on their own in the dry Mediterranean heat.





To research plants that do well in these conditions a great online resource is Shoot. Shoot has created a fantastic central archive of many of the RHS show gardens, in fact they have the RHS Hampton Court and RHS Chelsea Flower show gardens listed along accompanying plant lists from as far back as 2005. They also have members and garden designers gardens highlighted with plant lists available. Click here to get a full planting list of James Basson’s ‘The M & G Garden’, which has very similar plants to that in Lithica.  Hard not to spend half a day getting lost in great plant inspiration on this great website.

There is a lovely film about the making  of ‘The M & G Garden’ which shows the epic nature of the quarry where the inspiration to create the garden came from as well as all the steps involved to get the stone quarried, bespoke made, shipped and constructed for the Chelsea show. What a project!

Industry events such as The Landscape Show provide vital opportunities to keep us ahead of the game and up to date with the current standards that should be adhered to. This event was full of great seminars from professionals at the top of their game. An inspiring and enjoyable day.

The next industry event we will be attending is Futurescape on 14th November 2017, we have been attending this landscaping trade event since its inception and highly recommend it. A brilliant opportunity to meet suppliers, learn new things, get inspired, test new products and hang out with the lovely people of the landscaping, plant and design world. What’s not to like.




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