The global pandemic has had huge impact on life as we knew it. One positive to come out of this upsetting period has been the renewed appreciation of our outdoor spaces and therefore our increased interest in Garden Design.
The benefits of the garden on our mental health and physical wellbeing have become apparent. As a result the horticultural industry has experienced a very busy period and has at times struggled to cope with demand.
Waiting times for design work have been longer than usual, whilst landscaping materials and plants have been in short supply. Contractors have been booked up well in advance.
Many of these issues have been ongoing but the pressure is starting to ease.
Professional development has continued largely over Zoom sessions with some in person events. These include:
- Association of Professional Landscapers (APL) monthly cluster meetings, on current topics
- Henley Society of Garden Designers (SGD) cluster group meetings
- SDG Annual Conference at Royal Geographical Society in London
- SDG 2022 SGD Symposium (Past – Present – Future) at RHS Wisley
News - Pre Pandemic
I was the Cluster Group Leader for Oxon, Bucks, Berks SGD (Society of Garden Designers) 2012 – 2016, which has 50+ members.
Professional development talks I’ve organised for our members;
Law and Liability Design Development 2 day course, W. J. Hatt water specialists, London Stone, Harod Horticulture, Barcham Trees, Sketch Up IT training, South Oxon Council Tree officer, Boningale green roof specialists, Wild Flower Turf specialist site visit, Zip Levels, Irrigation specialist, Ceramic tiles.
Garden Visits for this group; The Heritage Garden at Le Manoir Aux Quatre Season escorted by its’ designer. Folly Farm designed by Dan Pearson. Burford Gardens, Orchard House near Beaconsfield, Hillier’s Winter Garden.
Contemporary Paddington Basin floating Garden, Tate & Lyle Roof Garden in London Docklands, St Mawes Lamorran Romantic Italianate Garden, Beth Chatto’s Garden
SGD Adjudication, leading to full registered membership – I succeeded with my first Project April 2015.
- Lectures at ‘Landscape’ show and ‘Futurescape’ show annually,
- SGD Conferences annually
- RHS Shows including Chelsea annually,
- 2015 Arne Maynard Garden Design Course at Allt – y – bela,
- 2015 Jason Ingram Garden Photography Course at Bury Court,
- 2015 Andrew Wilson Course on perspective drawing, Wisley.
- 2016 Construction Design Management Regulations course
- 2018 Beth Chatto Symposium, Colchester
- 2019 Adjudication project 2 & 3
- 2019 Registered Member of Society of Garden Designers
I arrive at my garden at 7.30 am to discover to my relief that I have been awarded an RHS Chelsea Silver Medal. The rest of the ‘Fresh Gardens’ have been awarded 4 Bronzes, 2 Silvers, 2 Silver Gilts and 1 Gold which also got ‘Best In Category’. Looking around at the gardens I think
My garden is assessed at 9.15 am by three assessors who ask me to detail any changes to the written brief. I point out the change to trees, addition of the blue planting in the foreground, that I chose the Betula nigra for it’s regenerating bark and colour, and that the plants are less advanced
Today I am joined by Caroyln and Ali who work extremely hard preparing the awful clay and rubble soil to receive the plants. As the main trees are now in I decide to concentrate on the area of planting along the front boundary which is mainly greens and whites. Chris visits twice today and kindly offers
I’m having to write these three days together because it has all been rather busy and the days are all blurring together. The team attach the rest of the Panache tiles to the wall using rapid set adhesive which does exactly what it says on the tin and sets so rapidly that I feel I
I allowed myself a later start as it’s my birthday then finished marking out the location of all the tiles on the plywood and watered all trees with copious amounts of water as it really is very hot today. The ground is caking over and needs forking over to allow the water to the roots.
The sun is shining and everyone seems happy to see some blue sky and a few less unplanned water features! We mark out the location of the rest of the wall to where it reaches ground level and crosses the path and after a few more dumps of soil roughly mark the sweep of the path, ready to receive MOT type 1. However,
A glorious sunny day which brings a really positive atmosphere to the site. We try to get as much done as possible whilst the weather is good. The contractors continue to fix the wooden wall sub structure in place which becomes narrower and lower as it sweeps down to the path, suggesting reducing energy. It is
7.30 start – the key to the tool box is missing and we can’t move the digger because it’s key is in the box….however, this delay was really helpful as our garden area is officially marked out and the extra 50mm grass strip included that we had originally omitted, so that would have put a lot of
I have been lying awake thinking everything through; trying to picture the planting combinations; colours, textures and heights, working through the order of construction, thinking about the balance of hard landscaping to soft, the atmosphere I am trying to create. I fine tuned the brief before sending in for the April 30th deadline. I decided to
The Easter holidays have arrived, the children require attention and my mind is distracted! Two days in I have a meeting with all the team, including Chris, about progress on the garden. I bring everything as well as a list of questions. It seems we are now down to the finer details of the build logistics and whether
I spent a busy few days planting up 1100 octagonal sections of ‘Bod pave’ having stapled capillary matting to the reverse side to help retain the soil and moisture. To do this I used 9cm plants and divided each one into 3 so that these shallow fast rooting plants can rapidly spread a mat of green to create