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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FREE Garden Design Clinics at the South of England Show 8th-10th June.

FREE Garden Design Clinics





We are very excited to have been invited to take part in the South of England Show this week, happening on 8th, 9th and 10th June in Ardingly. We will be collaborating with some of the garden designers we work with, Heather Martin Garden Design and Alitura Landscape and Garden Design to provide FREE Garden Design Clinics, which will be taking place in the Horticultural marquee. A great opportunity to get some initial design ideas and think about possibilities for your garden.The show is bursting with activities and full of horticultural inspiration.

Bring along your garden photographs, plans and ideas and ask the team of professional garden designers for their advice. Fifteen minute consultations may be booked in advance and by email to with your preferred date and time and you will be contacted with confirmation of your time slot. On the day consultations will also be available on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

Pre-book your tickets to the South of England Show here. 

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Beauty in Decay – Rebecca Louise Law

Installation Artist specialising in flora

Rebecca Louise Law is an Installation Artist based in East London, specialising in artworks made with natural materials, in particular flora. Beauty in Decay is something that I have always been fascinated with and Law’s ‘The City Garden’ installation at The City Centre in London was one of my highlights of last year. It was a beautiful piece of work, both delicate and powerful at the same time. Multi layered for me in relation to meaning with hints of past glory, perfection, sensory overload, fragility, beauty in decay and ‘death’. The smell of the decaying flowers and plants invaded the space and built as the time you spent there increased.  The exhibition was perfectly coupled with a map which gave you access to many of the extraordinary public gardens and green spaces within the city.





The species Law used within the installation reflected the plants and flowers that can be seen within these spaces. When your eyes are tuned in, you realise how crucial these green pockets are to their concrete partners. They punctuate the landscape, providing crucial places to pause and breathe, the antidote to the pressure of city living.

New exhibition at Now Gallery – feed your imagination!

The city garden has just finished, but Law has a new exhibition at Now Gallery  in Greenwich, London from 3 March – 7 May 2017. Do check it out if you can. Some stunning pictures and more information about her work can be found on her website. Inspirational and beautiful – go on feed your imagination!

Sophs 2017



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Sheffield Park and Garden- Seasonal Beauty Delights

sheffield-park-tree-reflectionsCatch Sheffield Park and Garden and all it’s Seasonal beauty delights before the leaves fall for good this year. Underfoot is deeper, crunchier and more fun this late in the season. A great place for walking, talking and snatching those precious moments with friends in this most beautiful of spaces. Also perfect for hide and seek and leaf throwing if you happen to have little ones along for the ride! Although fading fast, the annual spectacle of colour is still worth a visit before the creeping frost in all it’s stark stillness takes hold.  Look down and you are walking on an ever changing tapestry of carpet foliage. Look ahead and texture is everywhere along with stunning reflections in the water to take your breath away. A place to add to my Textured Landscapes  favourites.








The fading Gunnera are so dramatic and feel somehow prehistoric in their magnitude and form. It is great to see a garden which has the space and vision to use this plant so well.

Based in East Sussex, this is a National Trust garden and provides free entry to members. I was also delighted to find that it is also a RHS Partner garden, so provides free access for RHS members.




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Textured Landscapes – Construction, Design and Inspiration

Textured Landscapes





Nature – Textured Landscapes of Autumn

I’ve been verging a little on the obsessive with textured landscapes of late. In their natural form, in their construction and in their design. Maybe it’s the change of season, maybe it’s the nature of the job? The result is inspiration, for construction, for design and my response to visiting beautiful gardens. Below are a few of my recent textured landscapes highlights.

The most natural of textured landscapes expose themselves so beautifully at this time of year. Trees shake off their summer coats to reveal the skeletal structure of their branches beneath. A walk is full of stunning shapes and colours that constantly shift and surprise. It looks different, smells different, and the air has a different flavour. Combine the visual shift of Autumn, a warm coat with the crunch of leaves and twigs underfoot and you have a happy me!

Constructing a Landscape -Textured Landscapes of the Garden Build

natural-pool-path textured landscape






Our construction sites, by the very nature of our work are full of changing form and textured landscapes. Visits to site are a great opportunity for me to see the team expertly and methodically working through each construction project they undertake. I get to observe the shift from a 2D design  produced by the talented Garden Designers we work with, to the 3D reality of the gardens we build. It is a very satisfying and exciting process to be part of.  Landscaping materials are delivered, unpacked and constructed to create beautiful textured landscapes. Often juxtaposed with other hard materials, these frame or are framed by areas of stunning soft landscaping. My hard landscaping material of the moment is Vande Moortel brick clay pavers.






A popular choice with lots of the garden designers we currently work with. The texture of these pavers is very organic and natural, with a real range of colour and soft irregularities in its form. It’s worth checking out the range Vande Moortel have on offer.

Sussex Prairies – Seedheads and Grasses – Textured Landscapes for Autumn




Of course plants are sculptural, textural and incredibly diverse in their form. Gardens are always textured landscapes. Sussex Prairies is one that shouldn’t be missed.  I was lucky enough to sneak in on the very last open day of this RHS partner garden in East Sussex. This garden is open from June till the end of October. It provides real interest and vibrancy throughout its opening months and is worth more than one visit just to see the changes that take place.

The planting design of Paul and Pauline McBride is shown off beautifully in the Autumn season when Ornamental Seedheads are prominent against the mass planted grasses. This garden is also full of movement as the wind picks up each area responds with dramatic twists and turns. It is a place of sanctuary for me and a must for any garden lovers diary. See my earlier post about Sussex Prairies from a visit made a few years ago.


You are encouraged to walk right into the beds to follow the designed pathways in order to enjoy the plants really close up. You are rewarded with views full of textural interest, colour and the hypnotic sound of the moving plants.











Visiting an inventive and dynamic garden space like Sussex Prairies provides inspiration to anyone interested in garden design. The impact of the planting is in it’s grand scale. However, if you are thinking of creating texture and autumn interest on a much smaller scale in your own garden, this place is definitely worth a visit. The plants are labelled and there is also a nursery shop where you can buy your very own bit of Sussex Prairies magic. The staff are willing to give the right advice about the right plant and its right place. A delicious range of cosy cake and hot brews are on offer so make sure you put it in your diary for next year!





RHS Garden Wisley – Glasshouse Borders and Glasshouse Landscape -A Textured Landscapes must see

Good planting design creates dramatic and beautiful combinations.  In Autumn, foliage colour changes, plants start to die back and ornamental seedheads become more prominent. This month’s November issue of the RHS Magazine The Garden, highlights the benefits of well designed seasonal planting for Autumn.  For further inspiration for Autumn and Winter, visit RHS Garden Wisley. Favourite areas of ours are the Glasshouse Landscape designed by Tom Stuart-Smith and the Glasshouse Borders originally designed by Piet Oudolf  . These are both highlighted in The Garden’s November issue article on Wisley’s Autumn Glory with planting suggestions and stunning pictures. Catch them while you can, don’t miss them at their very best.

Knoll Gardens – Open for visitors and great expert advice

Knoll gardens in Wimborne specialise in Ornamental grasses and flowering perennials. Their visiting season is now open and runs till March. If you are interested in using grasses in your designs, I recommend that you have a look at their extensive website and get in touch.The staff give expert advice on how to choose the right plant for your designs and are very helpful. I’ve never had the chance to visit, but it’s on my bucket list for 2016.  If you are thinking smaller scale, their section on grasses that do well in pots and containers is also particularly helpful.

Enjoy the season…I’m off to organise visits to Wisley and Knoll!



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The power of plants – A.S Apothecary

The power of plants

Calendula and daisies

Every day this week, I have planted something new. I have walked away from the screen and the endless ‘to do lists’ and ventured  into the garden to give plants a ‘home’. At the end of each day I have walked around our garden, checked in on these plants and gained immense satisfaction from their flourishing. Getting outside, feeling the earth on my skin, hearing the buzz and smell of nature makes me happy, gives me focus and brings me a real sense of calmness. This ‘time out’, however brief has become a vital part of my every day and of my ‘well-being’.

Designing to heal

Rose pair

As Landscapers we work with garden designers to build beautiful spaces for our clients. We know what a huge difference good design and build can make to people’s lives. Gardens can be many things; an extended living and entertaining space, a peaceful retreat, a place to grow food and plants, a creative outlet, a children’s play area. Of course, what gardens vitally provide is a real connection to nature. A good designer will listen to the needs of a client and create beautiful, functional, bespoke spaces that really fit the brief. When a build is complete, it’s a great feeling when a client is delighted with a space that will really make a difference to their lives. I am increasingly realising just how transformative people’s relationships to their gardens can be. I have been thinking in particular about designing to heal and about spaces that elevate pain and stress. I’ve been thinking about how the environment you spend time in fundamentally influences your mental and physical state. I have also been considering the power of plants both in relation to their ‘actual’ ability to heal and in the healing power of their very presence. The next few posts will focus on some of my thoughts around these issues. Here I wanted to concentrate on the wonderful world of A.S Apothecary.

The wonderful World of A.S Apothecary

Harvesting flowersThe healing power of plants is a well-known and age old wisdom. The leaves and petals of numerous plants can be used for medical infusions, teas, oils and compresses and these can be an effective and transformative treatment for all types of conditions. Amanda Saurin is the founder of A.S Apothecary, a small batch distillery, based in Plumpton, East Sussex. Amanda is a traditional Apothecary and has worked with herbs and homeopathy for many years developing effective, gentle, bespoke preparations.

baskets and handsLast year, I was lucky enough to take part in a workshop run by Amanda for Lewes Women in Business at the home of A.S Apothecary. First we harvested bundles of exquisite smelling and rich coloured petals from the growing garden and when our baskets were full we went indoors to lay our gathered flower heads on large tables. Groups of us talked, laughed, plucked and gathered together the petals in preparation for the drying and distilling process. Amanda and her team create truly top quality and bespoke products and it was inspiring to witness the care, precision and wisdom through which this alchemy happens. It was a real privilege to be part of the gathering process, to physically touch and smell such an abundance of petals and to share and hear stories and memories evoked by the smell of these beautiful flowers.

A special santuary

Apocathery equipment

There has been much made recently that soil is good for you, that it has a bacterium that triggers the release of serotonin, which in turn elevates mood and decreases anxiety. These findings make real sense to me and add to understanding why people place such importance on creating their sanctuaries outside. For me, a day spent at A.S Apothecary triggered the same mood elevating, anxiety decreasing, generally feeling great about everything response!  It’s worth checking out the fantastic range of courses Amanda runs. My particular favourite is Seed to Scent – A journey into gardening, scent and well-being. Next one scheduled for 2017. There are many shorter courses which I would highly recommend checking out – they are all good for the soul!

A S Apothecary soapAmanda’s journal is a treasure chest of ideas and thoughts and a recent addition on #slowbeauty is a lovely read. Amanda feeds her plants with organic comfrey tea, which exemplifies for me her tender approach, wisdom and respect for the plants she works with, the core ingredients for her extraordinary products.  I finish with a quote from Amanda’s writing on #slowbeauty. These words resonate with me and capture beautifully why so many people get such a true sense of calmness and perspective through engaging with growing and nurturing their plot of land, however big or small.

“I love the idea that everything works out in the garden if we trust that it will. If we can allow ourselves the time to gently work with the soil and the plants, the flowers will follow with or without us. It gives perspective on our place in the scheme of things and provides comfort in the knowledge that nature reproduces not because of us, but rather despite us – in the best scenario we are just the facilitators of the flowers we hope to encourage.”

Amanda Saurin from #Slowbeauty – An Asapoth Interpretation


table of roses

As a member of Lewes Women in Business I was lucky enough to be invited to Amanda’s workshop last year. The course Seed to Scent is a wonderful collaboration developed between Amanda Saurin from A.S Apothecary and Catherine Cridland of Inviting Spaces, both members of Lewes Women in Business.

Lewes Women in Business is a not for profit community group that helps professional women with independent businesses in the Lewes District make connections. An A.S Apothecary workshop is coming soon, available exclusively for members.

Check out membership details, I highly recommend it!

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