Author Archives: JasG

March heralds the arrival of Spring so there is always a lot to do in the garden…

  • Prune shrub roses (see separate advice note on rose pruning) and give a good mulch of manure afterwards making sure not to cover the base of the plant as roses hate that.
  • Prune mophead hydrangea back to first two plump buds and cut out one or two of the oldest stems at the base to encourage new growth.
  • Prune Hydrangea Paniculata in much the same way but these can be pruned harder by cutting back to the lowest pair of healthy buds to create a low framework of branches which should produce large flowers.
  • Prune the coloured stems of cornus (dogwood) to encourage new growth. Stick cut stems in jugs of water and they will bud and flower for weeks.
  • Prune cotinus (smoke bush). Mine is a bit of a thug so I am quite ruthless pruning down to around 50cm at the expense of the flowers but the resulting leaf display is fabulous!
  • Cut back honeysuckle – again be quite ruthless if the plant has got out of hand.
  • Cut down perennials such as Penstemons and Perovskia (Russian Sage). Penstemons can be cut down almost to ground level and Perovskia to around 15cm.
  • Shear off old leaves of Epimedium to allow fresh new leaves to pop up from below.
  • Start mulching with manure or a combination of well rotted leaf mould and compost.

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Jobs to do in the garden in July

July is normally the month when I try to relax and enjoy the fruits of my labours!  But there are still some essential tasks that need doing in the garden:

  • Continue hoeing weeds when it is warm so they will simply shrivel on the surface and you can gather them up.
  • Cut back hardy geraniums after flowering – some varieties will then flower again.
  • Continue deadheading perennial such as Geums and Penstemons to encourage continual flowering.
  • Prune early-summer flowering shrubs such as Philadelphus and Weigela.  I normally cut back the flowered growth to a strong lower shoot and with larger specimens thin out up to a fifth of the old, woody stems.
  • Water your clematises and honeysuckle in long, dry spells to discourage powdery mildew.
  • Continue deadheading roses to encourage flowering.
  • Keep an eye on shrubs with variegated foliage and cut out any that has reverted making sure you go right back to the source.
  • Start summer pruning wisteria by cutting back any long, whippy shoots to five or six buds from a main stem.
  • Stake dahlias if required before they grow too tall and start bending over!
  • Prune cherry and plum trees after fruiting by removing weak, damaged and crossing branches and thin slightly if required.

Jobs to do in the garden in August

August can be a hot month so make sure that you water regularly – ideally using water collected in a water butt. Although a lot of plants will start going over during the month there are still some essential tasks to do:

  • Give mixed hedges a summer cut now all the birds have fledged.
  • Continue pruning wisteria, cutting off the ‘wispy bits’ back to two or three buds and making sure that gutters and drainpipes are clear.
  • Prune lavender once it has finished flowering by cutting back two thirds of the growth making sure that you don’t cut into old wood. This will prevent your lavender becoming woody.
  • Continue deadheading perennials such as heleniums, dahlias, penstemon and phlox.
  • Continue deadheading and tying in climbing roses.
  • Tie in new growth of rambling roses ready for pruning in January.
  • Cut back macedonia and achillea to encourage a second flush of growth and flowers.
  • Cut back and tidy up hardy geraniums and alchemilla mollis.
  • Cut back deciduous honeysuckle once it has finished flowering, removing a third of the flowering shoots.

Jobs to do in September

There is still quite a lot to do in the garden this month as the summer disappears and autumn looms on the horizon. Top jobs for September include:

  • Cutting down perennials once flowering has finished including phlox, knautia macedonia, astrantia, peonies and crocosmia. Don’t cut down penstemons or sedum varieties such as ‘Purple Emperor’ – let them overwinter with a good mulch and then cut down in the spring.
  • Cut back hardy geraniums
  • Continue deadheading roses, penstemons and dahlias.
  • Divide perennials such as crocosmia – particularly if the flowering has not been that good – as this will encourage better flowers for next year.
  • Evergreen hedges including box can be given a final trim before winter sets in.
  • Make sure that you raise the height of the cut when mowing the lawn which should now be done less frequently depending on the weather.
  • Lawns can be hardened up for winter by applying a potassium-rich autumn feed after scarifying and aerating the lawn first.
  • Continue removing dead leaves from pond surfaces and also dead leaves from water lilies as the foliage dies back.

Jobs to do in October

The weather is starting to turn colder this month and the leaves are turning on the trees heralding the arrival of the colder weather. Main jobs in October are:

  • Continue cutting down perennials
  • Life and divide overcrowded perennials such as euphorbia, iris, salvia, sedum. Lift the plant gently with a fork and shake off excess soil so that you can clearly see the roots. Depending on the type of plant it can then be divided into smaller clumps either by hand or with a fork or spade and replanted in the garden making sure that it is well watered in.
  • After the first frost life dahlias and canna to overwinter. Alternatively they can be left in the ground in warmer areas and covered with a thick protective mulch such as straw or wood chippings.
  • Shrubs and trees can be moved.
  • Shrubs such as buddleja and mallow which are pruned hard in spring can be cut back by one third now to prevent wind rock.
  • Clear out ponds of dead leaves, debris and excess oxygenating plants leaving them on the side of the pond for 38 hours to enable any wildlife to escape back into the water.

Garden redesign in Dorset

The garden’s existing layout was very formal with square borders surrounded by gravel and a square patio. The client wanted a softer look which better complimented the surrounding countryside and views. In addition the planting was not cohesive and lacked impact.

All the existing gravel beds, borders and patios were removed and replaced with a new curved patio of Indian sandstone with curved paths over a new grass lawn to a wooden corner pergola. New borders were also shaped into soft curves to offset the square plot.

The planting also reflected the new look. Small trees such as Amelanchier ‘Robin Hill’, Betula ‘Trinity College’ and Cornus ”Red Giant’ were chosen to supply all year round interest and to anchor the planting. Flowering shrubs including Philadelphus ‘Manteau d’Hermine’ Deutzia ‘Mont Rose’, Hebe ‘Wiri Charm’ and Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’ compliment the existing Gallica and old fashioned shrub roses and the planting scheme was completed using perennials such as Perovskia ‘Blue Spire’, Penstemon ‘Garnet’, Phlox ‘Bright Eyes’, Geranium ‘Wargrave Pink’, Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ and Origanum ‘Herrenhausen’ to create a bee and butterfly friendly country garden.

Redesign of country garden in Bedchester

The clients wanted a complete redesign of their garden to create a space for relaxing and entertaining with their family and friends.  The garden was long and narrow so I decided to split up the space into three different sections. 

It was decided that the top section nearest the house should be used to create a more private space with a patio for the family to use.

The planting has focused on creating colour and scent using perennials including Lavandula augustifolia ‘Imperial Gem’, Geranium sanguineum and Rozanne, Penstemon ‘Apple Blossom’ and ‘Garnet’, Phlox paniculata ‘Amethyst’ and Aster ‘Little Carlow’ all anchored with evergreen shrubs such as Choisya Ternata, Hebe ‘Wiri Charm’ and Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Irene Paterson’ .

A trellis across the complete width of the garden helps to divide the space with the arch providing a view. Climbing rose – ‘Mortimer Sackler, vigorous evergreen honeysuckle – Lonicera japonica ‘repens’ – and a pretty spring flowering clematis – Clematis alpina ‘Pink Flamingo’ were all planted to climb over the trellis and archway.

The middle section of the garden already had two existing borders so these were reshaped and planted with large evergreen shrubs and perennials for a more natural and woodland feel. 

The two woodland borders in the middle have been ‘mirror planted’  with shrubs including Hydrangea villosa and Hydrangea ‘Lanarth White’, Euonymous fortuneii ‘Emerald Gaiety, Euphorbia robbiae,  Skimmia ‘Kew Green’ and Viburnum tinus ‘Lisarose’, all of which can handle both sun and some shade. Both borders are edged with a combination of Heuchera ‘Palace Purple and Alchemilla mollis.

At the bottom end of the garden the trampoline was removed and a second sunken patio built with a low evergreen hedge looking out across the countryside.

The new planting surrounding the patio continued the woodland theme with Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ and Cotinus ‘Grace’ used to anchor the planting with Spirea ‘Firelight’, Euonymous ‘Emerald Gaiety and Viburnum opulus ‘Compactum. Perennials included Penstemon ‘White Bedder’, Geum ‘Prinses Juliana’ Geranium ‘Anne Thompson’ and Liriope muscari

Gravel garden redesign in Tisbury

The brief from the client was to create an easily maintained garden with interest throughout the year and to include a water feature. The existing garden had a square lawn which sloped down to a patio and some planting along the edges.

The solution was to get rid of the grass and use gravel and stone to create a Mediterranean-style garden. Hard landscaper Mike Kynock and his team turned the design into reality which included a new patio and steps with a retaining wall to create easy access from the sloping garden to the house plus steps and a trellis to access the composing area behind the garage.

Wooden sleepers lead from the back gate to the patio and two trellises to the side of the house screen the garden from the road. A wisteria was planted to climb up the back of the house and a combination of climbing roses, honeysuckle and a passion flower were planted along the walls and fence.

Three circular borders were created each with different planting to create a Mediterranean-type feel to the garden. The largest was planted with Hebe ‘Marjorie’ in the middle surrounded by Verbena bonariensis, Achillea ‘Red Velvet’, Salvia ‘Rose Queen’ and Geraniun nodosum.

The second border was planted with Heuchera ‘Plum pudding’ in the middle surrounded by Gaura ‘The Bride’, Sedum ‘Purple Emperor’. Erigeron karvanskianos and Geranium sanguineum.

For the water feature I chose a simple stone bowl with water pumped up from a hidden reservoir – solar powered – to trickle soothingly over the surrounding pebbles. Planting included grasses – Stipa tenuissima and Hakonechloa – combined with Knautia macedonia and Astrantia.

Garden redesign in Semley, Wiltshire

The first stage of this project was to redesign the planting of the borders facing the road. The two narrow borders had become completely swamped with astrantias and geraniums; there was no structure and no year round interest.

The borders were completely cleared apart from two pretty white roses at either side of the main gate.  The new planting included Hebe rakaiensis to add structure mixed with white astrantias and purple salvias for interest throughout the summer followed by dark pink phlox for late summer colour. The borders were edged with alchemilla mollis and the lovely purple evergreen geranium – Ann Folkard.

The next stage was to organise the planting for the front sunken walled garden surrounding a pond. The huge variety of different plants that had been planted here had resulted in four borders with no cohesion. The client still wanted a cottage garden look but with more structure. We decided to keep geraniums, knautia, penstemons, scabiosa, verbena bonariensis, veronicastrum, phlox, rodanthemum and the roses and existing potentilla. Everything else was taken out!

The new scheme simply added more of the same. Three more rose, a potentilla and two cistus were added to create structure and then more of the same perennials were planted in drifts throughout the borders. Alliums were added for early Summer interest and an overgrown rock rose replaced with a variegated weigela to link to the border going through to the back garden.

In the back garden a shady border was also redesigned to create all year round interest. A golden leaved spirea echoes the hues of the existing philadelphus, a new white climbing rose will lift the area at the back and hebe rakaiensis, alchemilla mollis, tiarellas and geranium sanguineum completed the scheme with bright orange tulips planted for Spring interest.

The final stage of the redesign was to create a permanent edge to the border next to the stream and to replant for year round interest. The existing roses and philadelphus were kept and three hebe ‘Wiri Charm’ added for evergreen interest. A combination of lamium, Sedum ‘Purple Emperor’, geraniums, pulmonaria and white campanula were used to edge and run through the border. Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and Agastache ‘Black Adder’ were then added for late Summer/Autumn interest.

Country garden Wiltshire

The client’s initial brief was to design a traditional herbaceous border for a long, sunny, sheltered walled border but was then revised to include two other borders which together created a charming back garden to the property.

The new herbaceous border was planted with Pittosporum ‘Tom Thumb’ and Lavender ‘Hidcote’ to provide evergreen structure. Bronze fennel, red crocosmia, bright blue delphiniums, feathery pale mauve thalictrums and the soft spires of Veronicastrum ‘Lavendulturm’ gave height at the back of the border. Orange helenium, bright pink echinacea, deep red achillea and white gaura filled the middle and edging was provided by frothy Erigeron karvanskianos, bee-loving ornamental origano and deep purple salvias.

The second border was completely cleared apart from an existing Forsythia and Viburnum plicatum and was then redesigned with a selection of shrubs, plants and bulbs with a green, white, yellow and purple colour palette to create interest in the Spring.

The existing viburnum plicatum was first moved to the middle of the border and then a small lilac was planted at the other end. Skimmia ‘Kew Green’ and Euphorbia polychroma were planted throughout the middle and purple and white geraniums, pale yellow Coreopsis ‘Moonbeam’ and pale lime green Alchemilla mollis were used to edge. As a final splash of colour deep purple irises were planted in drifts throughout the border. In Autumn purple Iris reticulata and a combination of white and pale yellow narcissi will be planted to complete the scheme.

This border was the largest and again had been completely cleared except for one blue plumbago shrub and a wish from the client to replace their old and woody Cotinus.

The border was redesigned to create interest throughout the year with a mixture of shrubs and perennials and using a colour palette of blues, purples and pinks. Structure was created with the new Cotinus additional plumbago shrubs, potentillas and a Viburnum tinus ‘LisaRose’. Deep pink Sedum ‘Autumn Joy, pale blue Perovskia, bright pink Lychnis coronaria, deep purple Penstemon ‘Raven’ and silvery blue Eryngium planem were then planted throughout the border which was edged with a combination of Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ and Alchemilla mollis. White and deep red alliums are to be added at a later date.

Country garden redesign outside Tisbury

The front and back borders of this spacious country garden outside Tisbury were overgrown and muddled. My brief was to redesign them to create a more cohesive look with a muted colour palette of white, green, pale pink and mauve.

The front border was massively overgrown and the stone wall completely covered with ivy. Everything was taken out except for one white fuchsia, the overgrown pittosporum by the entrance was cut back and all the ivy removed from the wall. As this border is shady for most of the day shrubs and perennials were chosen for a woodland effect with skimmias, hellebores, a second white fuchsia and astrantias in the middle of the border. Pulmonaria , tiarella and geraniums sanguineum were used to edge and two types of foxglove planted at the back by the wall.

The two borders leading up to the front door had been planted with choisya ternata and variegated aucuba which had grown too large and were now dominating the space.

The new design uses hebe rakaiensis pruned into green balls to provide structure, softened by a mixture of pulmonaria, geranium sanguineum and heuchera to provide interest throughout the year.

The back raised borders had also been planted with various different types of shrubs and perennials resulting in a lack of identity and cohesion.

The new design kept existing shrubs such as euonymous and potentilla and added hydrangea, cistus plus two new iron obelisks planted with clematises to create height. Irises, thalictrum, lavender, dianthus and geraniums completed the design with alchemilla mollis and erigeron karvanskianos to edge.

Borders redesign in Ludwell

The brief from the client was to completely redesign a series of borders to provide a better sense of cohesion. The borders had been planted with many different types of shrubs and perennials which were all taken out to create a blank canvass for the new planting.

For the main border a range of evergreen and sun loving shrubs were planted to create a framework. These included choisya ternata, abelia grandiflora, hebes and cistus. Sedum, nepeta and erigeron karvanskianos were used for a frothy front edging and salvias, penstemons and tall foxgloves completed the design.

The raised border in front of the patio just had two roses planted with annuals used for seasonal interest. My plan was to create a border with colour and scent with all year round interest.

The existing roses were moved to either side of the border to create room for a hydrangea paniculata. The front was edged with a combination of alchemilla mollis and geranium, heucheras were used in the middle and white campanulas and red lupins provided structure at the back.

Mobility friendly garden created in Gillingham

The brief from my clients was very clear – to create a mobility friendly garden which flowed from one section to another.  The clients were keen to get rid of their existing lawn which suffered from bad drainage and surface water pooling and to use stone and gravel to create an oasis of tranquility where they could easily get around, relax and entertain.

Before redesign

Second seating area in new design








Access from the conservatory was a key consideration and had to be completely redesigned for scooter access and mobility.  The solution was a curved path flowing out from the door on both the left and right hand sides to provide seamless access to a new patio and a second seating area.

Awkward access from the conservatory before design

New curved slope after design

A french drain was also included to solve the bad water drainage problem.  The hard landscaping was all  done by Mike Kynock of Landscaping & Property Care and his team using Raj Blend Sandstone and Cotswold round gravel. 

Front border redesign in Tisbury, Wiltshire

Borders before redesign

The border faced the sun for most of the day and the soil was poor and stony. The answer was Mediterranean planting!  I kept the existing rock roses and some of the existing lavender which was doing so well that it was overwhelming the area and replaced it with a mixture of sun loving hardy perennials.

Origanum ‘Rosenkuppel’ – great for bees and lovely pink/purple flowers through the summer,  Sedum ‘Purple Emperor’ – beautiful purple fleshy leaves with dark red flowers which are again a bee magnet,  Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion) – elegant tall grey leaves topped with brilliant pink flowers,  Gaura lindheimeri – wafting stems topped with white/pink flowers and finally Erigeron karvanskianos – pretty tiny daisies cascading over the edge of the border from June through to Autumn.

Borders one year after planting

Redesign of country garden in Swallowcliffe, Wiltshire

The brief from my client was to bring some structure and cohesion to this medium-sized country garden and to turn it into a pretty cottage garden.  The two narrow borders on either side of the back door were filled with large shrubs which had outgrown their space and blocking the light from the windows and massive geraniums which were encroaching on the lawn so the first stage was to remove everything from these borders and then dig in manure as the soil is quite heavy with a clay  base.

Shrubs and perennials were chosen to suit the site which is also north facing so Choisya Ternata ‘White Dazzler’ was planted either side of the door to provide summer interest with scented white flowers.  A combination of Weigela florida ‘Folis Purpurea’, Hebe ‘Mrs Winder’, Euonymous fortuneii ‘Emerald Gaiety’ and Viburnum davidii provide the structure,  gorgeous long flowering purple/blue Geranium ‘Rozanne’  weaves through the middle and  Alchemilla Mollis, Heuchera ‘Marvelous Marble’ and pale pink Geranium sanguineum ‘Max frei’ all create a frothy edging.  Finally height at the back is provided by white flowered Anemone hybrida ‘Whirlwind’ and purple Aster ‘Little Carlow’ both of which will flower from mid-summer through to the first frosts of Autumn.  

The second stage of the garden redesign was to enlarge and redesign a border at the top of the lawn and link the planting to the borders by the house.  After the border had been dug out, edged and manured it was replanted with Hydrangea quercifolia as the centre piece surrounded by evergreen Euonymous fortuneii ‘Emerald Gaiety’ and Persicaria affinis superba which is superb ground cover with very pretty pink/red flowers.  Alchemilla mollis, Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ and the pretty white Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Spessart’ provide the soft edging.

The third stage of the garden redesign was to clear and create a border to the far side of the stream which ran through the bottom of the garden.  A new wooden bridge was installed and the area was completely cleared to create space for a gravel path leading to a wooden bench underneath the existing tree and a border along the edge.  The area is for the most part in shade so planting  included silvery fern – Athyrium nipponicum Metallicum, white Fuchsia ‘Hawkshead’, Hydrangea ‘Lanarth White’, purple Irises, pale pink Geranium nodosum and the wonderful Hosta ‘Francee’.

Redesign of urban garden, Sturminster Newton, Dorset

The brief from the client was to create a garden full of brightly coloured flowering plants which could be enjoyed all the year round.  This small garden had a steep slope running along the back which was quite unsightly so the design disguised this by using wooden sleepers to create a series of stepped raised beds and a seat in the corner.



For the planting I used a mixture of evergreen and flowering shrubs such as Lavandula x intermedia ‘Grappenhall’,  Rosmarinus prostratusHelianthemum ‘Henfield Brilliant’ and Potentilla ‘Red Ace’  with perennials including Achillea Terracotta,  Perovskia ‘Little Spire’  and Sedum ‘Purple Emperor’.  The edges were softened with Alchemilla Mollis and Erigeron karvanskianos and bold splashes of colour achieved with Dahlia ‘Bishop of Landaff’ and Crocosmia ‘mistral’.   Finally the fence along the back will be hidden with climbing roses, evergreen honeysuckle and clematis.

Redesign of large country garden, Gillingham, Dorset

The original house had been extended and the car park area changed so the whole entrance into the garden and access to the house had to be rethought.  The solution was to move the double entrance gates to meet the path which had been moved and lengthened to create flow from the entrance to the house.  The car park area was turfed over with space kept for a new pergola.  Finally a lilac tree – Syringa ‘Katherine Havemeyer’  was planted garden side in the middle of the new curved wall to provide an element of privacy. 

Main entrance before

Main entrance after

Main entrance after


A huge photinia hedge was taken out and two existing oval borders removed from the middle of the lawn and then new borders  were created above and below the existing stone wall with planting kept to a palette of purple, white and orange.  

Main garden before

Main garden after

Plants included Lavandula x intermedia ‘Grappenhall’, Achillea ‘Terracotta’, Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and Perovskia ‘Small Spires’ with Erigeron karvanskianos used to tumble over the stone edge of the wall.  Hebe rakaensis and Euonymous ‘Silver Queen’ were used for structure together with existing roses.  



A small border was also introduced around the existing patio and planted with mainly silver and purple plants including Cistus x purpureusConvolvulus cneorumLavandula augustifolia ‘Hidcote’ with dark pink and purple aubretia for edging.

Patio before

Patio after

Walled cottage garden in Tisbury, Wiltshire


The brief from my client was to create a modern cottage style garden to compliment the new house and hard landscaping which were built in a traditional style using local stone.


The garden is completely enclosed with a wooden fence and a large expanse of red brick wall so a combination of cream and orange roses, evergreen clematis armandii for spring interest and evergreen honeysuckle under-planted with cream and orange tulips were planted to begin creating walls of colour.

Walled border just after planting

Walled border two years after planting

Planters and top terrace just after planting






The rest of the planting was enclosed in two large raised beds so I used white Hebe rakaiensis and pale mauve Lavandula intermedia x ‘Grosso’  for structure complimented by orange Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’, dark purple Salvia Nemorosa ‘Caradonna’ , Verbena bonariensis ‘Lollipop’ and the lovely Crocosmia mistral with its double orange flower.  The planters were edged with a combination of Erigeron karvinskianos and purple Aubretia variegata.


Planters two years after planting

Planters one year after planting

Coppicing dogwoods for colourful winter interest

The main reason for growing dogwoods in your garden is that they provide great winter interest with their colourful red, purple and yellow stems.  To achieve this effect, they should be pruned in early spring.  First of all take out all dead and diseased wood and any small and spindly growth.  Then prune all the remaining healthy branches back to the first pair of healthy buds nearest to the base and then take out any crossing or twisting stems.  The aim is to achieve a simple open structure to encourage colourful new stems to emerge the following winter.

Cornus alba before coppicing

Cornus alba after annual coppice

The cut stems can then be put into water for an elegant display that will last for several weeks!

Guide to pruning rose bushes

Pruning your shrub roses is essential to maintaining a good shape so you get good air circulation and a healthy plant which will then produce loads of lovely scented blooms.  Unlike modern bush roses, the old fashioned shrub roses generally flower on older wood and so should be allowed to develop naturally particularly those of an arching habit where hard pruning would ruin their graceful shape.  Modern shrub roses can be pruned hard as explained below.  The key is to know what sort of rose you have!

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Creation of a country cottage border, Sherborne

The original space to the front of the house was an overgrown jungle with trees growing right up to the house and any view completely blocked.  The clients wanted a complete re-design so that they could sit outside in the evening and look through the garden to their fruit orchard beyond.






The whole space was completely cleared of all plants and the edge defined by a new picket fence and gate.  A new sunken stone path was then laid through the centre to provide access from the patio to the orchard.


The garden was designed so that the colour palette ranged from hot colours such as red, purple and dark pink through to more soft shades of white, mauve, lilac and pale pink.  The hard edges of the path were softened by a combination of Geranium x sanguineum and Nepeta and Lavandula ‘Munstead’ lined the edge to the patio to provide scent in the evening.





Structure was provided by shrubs such as Philadelphus ‘Virginal’ and Ceanothus x pallidus ‘Marie Simon’ on the soft side and Weigela florida, Cistus purpureus and Buddleja Buzz ‘Blue Sky’ and ‘Magenta’ on the hot side.  Red and dark pink ground cover roses, Geranium x magnificum, Astrantia ‘Major’ and Monarda ‘Pink Lace’  provide ground cover whilst blue delphiniums and white and pink foxgloves provide structure along the fence.

Prairie style border re-design in Wiltshire

Before new planting

The brief from the client was to re-design the border in the ‘Prairie’ style with grasses and other similar plants whilst keeping the existing dogwoods and the yew cone at the end of the border.

Border newly planted






I chose three different grasses to plant in drifts throughout the border accompanied by Sanguisorba officianalis which has small dark red button like flowers above elegant leaves.  Sesleria autumnalis (moor grass)  is a bright green evergreen grass with silver grey flower spikes in the summer and was perfect for helping to define the edge of the border.

Six months later

Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Goldtau’ is also evergreen with silvery, reddish-brown flower spikes appearing from early to late summer above dense mounds of slender, arching, mid-green leaves. The feathery flowers mature to a soft golden yellow and shimmer like a golden cloud as it catches the light and looked wonderful planted in front of the dogwoods.  Finally Molinia caerulea ‘Moorhexe’ was planted in drifts through the centre of the border.  With narrow, grey-green leaves that turn russet-red in autumn, this grass has a profusion of soft purple flowers which contrasted beautifully with the dark burgundy red of the Sanguisorba.


Planter design, Shaftesbury, Dorset



The brief from my client was to design the planting so it complimented the 1930’s style house.  This meant a minimalist design using just four different types of plants and a restricted colour palette of grey, silver, soft purples and dark green.


I chose Lavandula augustifolia ‘Munstead’ to be shaped into soft balls and to provide scent, Convovulus cneorum for its lovely evergreen silver foliage and late summer white flowers, Eryngium ‘Blue Hobbit’ for structure and bee loving silvery-blue flowers and finally Stachy byzantina ‘Silver Carpet’ for ground cover.


Front border redesign, Semley, Wiltshire

Existing planting
Existing planting

Existing planting
Existing planting

The two narrow borders in front of the property had become completely swamped with astrantias and geraniums; there was no structure and no year round interest.



The borders were completely cleared apart from two pretty white roses at either side of the main gate.  The new planting included box balls to add structure mixed with white astrantias and pale pink monarda at the back of the border for interest throughout the summer followed by dark pink phlox for late summer colour.

New planting
New planting

New planting
New planting


The borders were edged with alchemilla mollis and purple evergreen geranium.Corfields front border close up











Redesign of cottage garden, Tisbury, Wiltshire

The brief was to redesign the whole garden to make it more streamline and lower maintenance.  The central oval border in the front border was completely redesigned to create a summer flowering bee-friendly border planted with hardy geraniums, scabiosas, phlox, astrantias, asters and aquilegias, the existing narrow border by the path was removed, the whole area re-turfed and the gravel path edged with stone to define the border.

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Front garden before

Front garden after
Front garden after








A  small patio was designed for the back garden to catch the sun and the view and edged with a low lavender hedge.  The narrow rose border was removed and the roses re-planted in the side border which was under planted with white cistus, nepeta and edged with hardy geraniums. The rest of the garden was re-turfed.

2016-05-27 11.36.02
Back garden after

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Back garden before


Creation of a ‘hot’ border, Dorset

Hot Border

The client wanted to create a border using a hot colour palette of red, orange and yellow to provide interest from summer through to late autumn/early winter.  The border was a curved shape going into the lawn so the planting was designed in a circle with a purple-leaved Cotinus (smoke bush) in the middle surrounded by red-barked Cornus Alba (dogwood) and sedum.  This in turn was surrounded by repeat planting of perennials such as yellow rudbeckias, orange heleniums, orange and red geums, white leucanthemums (shasta daisy) and orange, yellow and red dahlias.  Alchemilla mollis was used to edge.

Hot Border

Hot planting scheme

Re-design of a Japanese garden, Wiltshire

A new design combined the basic elements of plants, water, and rocks with simple, clean lines to create a tranquil retreat for the client. The existing trees were pruned and shaped to provide a more formal look and new planting included Azalea, Pieris japonica, Nandina domestica and Hostas.

Japanese Garden Wiltshire

Japanese Garden Wiltshire

Creation of a walled cottage garden, Dorset.

2016-06-06 15.24.11The garden was completely overgrown with fences falling down under the weight of rampant honeysuckle and clematis montana and ad hoc planting with no consideration given to providing interest throughout the year.  A wooden trellis across the end of the garden was built to provide privacy from the communal path across the ends of the gardens and planted with evergreen honeysuckle, clematis and fragrant rambling roses to provide a vista from the back of the cottage.

A new pergola was also commissioned Walled Gardento better show off the existing climbing roses and new wisteria and clematis were also added.

The planting is structured with evergreen shrubs and roses and complimented with bee loving cottage perennials such as nepeta, astrantias, scabiosas, salvias and hardy geraniums.  Mass planting of pink and purple tulips and white and pale yellow narcissi add a splash of colour from March through to May.

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