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!

Sophie

 

 

 

 

 

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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 bocook.co.uk/contact-bo-cook/
  • 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 office@heathermartin.co.uk 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.

sheffield-park

sheffield-park-gunnera

sheffield-park-tree-texture

 

 

 

 

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.

Sophie

 

 

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