Gardening is as much about anticipation as enjoying the moment, and by the end of February my head is already full of images of daffodils and tulips and spring blossom….though the reality may take a couple of months to catch up!
So to find a garden that is actually at its best in February is quite unusual.Last weekend I visited Little Court in Crawley near Winchster and was delighted to discover a fabulous orchard garden planted with carpets of crocus, snowdrops and aconites.
I was visiting my daughter who is at Winchester School of Art and had seen some very evocative photographs of Little Court in an article in February Country Living magazine. Wide swathes of naturalised Crocus lit up the Victorian orchard, while nearer the house bantams picked around amongst a carpet of Snowdrops.
Glowing, golden Aconites shone below tawney grasses and jewel Hellebores in the pale sunlight.
April will bring Anemone blanda beneath the venerable Copper Beech followed by the china blue of Muscari ‘Valerie Finnis’ and in the orchard the crocus are gradually overtaken by ‘White Lady’ narcissus. Snake’s head Fritillaries follow together with species Tulip. In the sumer the Orchard takes aback seat and broad herbaceous borders take a starring roll.
Definitely worth a visit if you are in the area. Crawley is a picture perfect English village with duck pond and thatched cottages. I really did expect Miss Marple to step out of her front door at any moment! Oh and as always when visiting a ‘Yellow Book’ garden open for the National Garden Scheme, the teas were delicious, served from the rather pretty village hall decorated with gingham tablecloths and tiny, fresh bouquets of miniature Daffodils. A real treat!
I was lucky enough to be asked to re-design a four acre Victorian Rectory garden. The project included a Canal Garden, an Oak Pergola, a Woodland Garden, a small orchard, Wildflower Bank and a large walled kitchen garden.
Here are the most recent photos of the completed walled garden, ready to supply a fabulous range of tasty home grown fruit and veg this summer!
I am often asked what I do in the winter as a Garden Designer. People imagine that because the weather is cold and grey there is nothing to do but wait for the spring to arrive.
Infact the winter is the best possible time to be planning a new garden or the overhaul of a mature garden. The process of planning and constructing a garden can take six months or sometimes longer with a large project. So the message is, if you are dreaming of relaxing in your beautiful garden on a summer’s evening with a glass of something chilled in your hand, then start planning now!
Landscape contractors often become booked up very quickly once the weather improves, the clocks go back and people start to look critically out of their windows at the garden. So it pays to be ahead of the crowd and commission a Master Plan as early in the year as possible. A Master Plan allows you to get quotes from Ladscape Contractors, confident that each will be quoting for the same job and knowing exactly what the finished garden will look like.
Here’s some things to think about before you call in a Garden Designer to help with your garden:
- How do you want to use your garden? Relaxation, entertaining, growing tasty fruit and veg, children’s play or maybe a mixture of all of these?
- What do you like most about the garden now and what do you hate?
- Is low maintenance important or would you enjoy caring for your garden?
- Any special features that you would like to incorporate…… a summerhouse, a pond for wildlife, a wall fountain for the sound of trickling water for example?
- What styles of garden do you like?….it might be fun here to look at some magazines and books and stick post-it notes on the images that appeal to you.
- Favourite plants?
- How large will your table and chairs be? Do you like to sit in the sun or the shade?
- And finally, and this is the tricky bit, how much budget do you have for the project? As a very crude guide, investing in a new garden will be a similar cost to a new kitchen.
You are all geared up now to get the most out of your first meeting with a Garden Designer and that dream of relaxing with a glass of wine next summer in your own little Eden is one step closer!