Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

In which I wish government was more like taking on a new garden

I don’t ‘do’ politics normally – that’s SomeBeans’ bag. However, after a Minister visiting work yesterday, changes in HE funding, getting rid of EMAs and proposed changes in the running of the NHS (amongst many others), I was struck by the number and speed of changes taking place. SomeBeans suggests that less seemed to happen at the beginning of the Blair government in 1997 due to the in-fighting between Blair and Brown, rather than them taking a more considered approach to changes.

I understand why they do it –  I know that some changes must be made for economic reasons. But the big reason is that Ministers want to make a mark. No-one will take any notice of them if things just carry on. So they have their pet projects to implement as soon as possible. Some more bonkers than others – I won’t start a political rant. They want to be remembered.

I just wish that Ministers would take a little bit of notice of what a gardener should do when taking on a new garden. Live with it for a year – learn what it’s like from the inside. See what grows where, and what struggles. See where the sun shines brightest, and where there is gloom. See where a gentle hand can renovate, rather than where a pick axe and shovel can destroy. If changes need to be made, you’ll have lived with the garden and will see how to make those changes with the minimum of disruption. And the garden will respond all the better for your greater understanding of it.

As you can tell, I don’t really have the mind for politics.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

End of term

It seems just a blink of an eye ago that I wrote this post about starting a garden design course. In fact it has been 17 weeks. Well, since then, the motley group of people on the course have:

  • learnt about the importance of unity and other principles of garden design;
  • tied ourselves up with base lines and offsets in the garden of very patient couple;
  • grappled with design principles in a long, thin garden;
  • wielded a scale rule as though we knew how to use it;
  • shared a common terror of a humble ink pen and felt great when we produced our first inked lines;
  • uncomprehendingly stared at plan designs wondering how on earth we could make them into elevations;
  • gone back to infant school to learn how to colour in without going over the lines.

Our tutor has been a saint!

Monday is assignment hand in day. We have to hand in a base plan, site analysis, measurements, client brief, and coloured plan with elevations. I’ve spent so long staring at 1:100 scale drawings of the garden and trying to get a cohesive design that I never want to see the flippin’ garden again.


Current view from back door






The plan

I can’t wait to hand it in now, to get rid of it! I’m fed up of the sight of it, and I expect poor SomeBeans is, too. In a couple of weeks, the next course starts – a step up, and looking in detail at areas of design such as hard landscaping, construction details and plant portfolios. And another poor soul’s garden to design. Bring it on!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A bit of advertising: Design seminar

I don’t know if anyone is interested but thought I’d do a little bit of advertising, as it’s not on the College website, and I have been given a flyer:

Design and Landscape Industry Seminar

featuring garden and landscape designer Sarah Eberle and other key speakers who will focus on sustainability and new design trends and practices.

Saturday 19th February 2011

Reaseheath College, Nantwich, Cheshire, CW5 6DF

09:30 – 16:00 in the Lecture Theatre

General admission £50 (includes buffet lunch)

Students and Reaseheath graduates £30

Book before January 21st and save £10 off your ticket price

Supported by the Institute of Horticulture

A day for Landscapers, Designers and Industry Representatives focusing on sustainability and new design trends. Ideal for CPD.


Sarah Eberle – multi-award winning garden and landscape designer. Recognised for her contribution to the industry for nearly 30 years, Sarah will explain how her designs address issues posed by climate change and heightened client requirements for sustainable garden design.

A representative from Marshalls will discuss the company’s approach to the economic, environmental and social issues raised by sustainability and how these are influenced by clients, landscapers and manufacturers.

Angus Cunningham from Scotscape will discuss trends for green walls and other growing surfaces.

Hazel Frith from All-Turf will outline turf sculpture, wild flower meadows and technological developments in turf.

Card bookings: 01270 613242

Postal bookings: please make your cheque out to Reaseheath College and post to Louise Moss at the above address.

(Apologies for any spelling mistakes, but I have transcribed the information from the flyer so they are my typing mistakes!)

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Monday, January 03, 2011

The best bit of the garden at the moment… not the hellebore border, as there are no buds showing yet. Actually, hellebore border sounds rather grand. We have a border that has quite a few hellebores in it, but lots of other bits and pieces too, to hide the untidy leaves after the hellebores have done their thing. not the snowdrops bravely flowering despite the cold, wet weather. We don't have any snowdrops (see previous post for reasons why). not the lawn. After a month under heavy frost and/or snow, and a couple of months without mowing prior to that (due to more or less permanent wet weather), it looks a little bit under the weather. not the front garden, which needs a very good tidy up, as I didn't get round to it before Christmas, due to the weather. a dead stick.


I should explain. It was a Ricinus, until the frosts put paid to it. But now it’s a launch pad for a plethora of garden birds flying in to take advantage of the food we put out for them. Before they land on the feeders or on the ground, robins, blue tits, great tits, coal tits, dunnocks, the odd chaffinch and occasionally the nuthatch will alight to survey the scene. I’m glad I didn’t get round to tidying it up.