May 252013
Brewin Dolphin2_edited-1

The Brewin Dolphin garden

What I like doing best at Chelsea is looking for ideas that I could replicate in my own garden one day. And as I may finally have one (fingers crossed – it’s all going through at the moment), this was a year when I could actually walk around noting ideas that I could actually put into practice. Hurrah!

There were quite a few roses around this year, and I liked the informal, lax habit of the Rosa rugosa in the Brewin Dolphin garden (above).

The Telegraph Garden

The Telegraph Garden

I liked Christopher Bradley-Hole’s garden but felt I’d seen many elements of it before – the multi-stemmed trees, blocks of box and yew, the meadowy planting, the cow parsley… Not only in previous Chelsea gardens but also at the Canal House in Amsterdam last year. That said, I love a multi-stemmed tree, neatly clipped box, and a bit of meadowy planting, and would definitely like to include them in my own garden.


The Homebase Garden

I also the loved the way that edible and ornamental plants were mingled together in Adam Frost’s ‘Sowing the Seeds of Change’ garden for Homebase. I will definitely be doing this – I want to cram in as many edibles as possible.


Un Garreg (One Stone) garden

I loved this simple oak bench in the Un Garreg (One Stone) garden. It may look simple but I bet it cost a small fortune.

Get Well Soon garden

Get Well Soon garden

The pebble path in the Healing Garden was designed to be walked on barefoot, stimulating reflexology pressure points.


Get Well Soon garden

Ponds scare me. They look complicated to get right, and I’ve seen a lot of bad ones. But this looks really doable – it’s shallow (so not too much digging) and the pebbles cover a multitude of sins.

NSPCC Garden of Magical Childhood

NSPCC Garden of Magical Childhood

And for sheer flight of fancy, who could resist this kids’ treehouse in the NSPCC garden? I think it made everyone want to be a kid again.

So there you have it. This time next year I may be the proud owner of a garden that contains some multi-stemmed trees, blocks of box and yew, some meadowy planting, lots of edibles, a pond and a reflexology path. And a treehouse, obviously.
Apr 222011

Old Arsenal stadium

When I was looking to buy a flat recently, the new development on the site of the old Arsenal stadium kept coming up on Rightmove. I wasn’t interested a) as I liked the old stadium just as it was b) I wanted a garden and c) I couldn’t afford a flat there anyway.

I went past the new(ish) development the other day and the gate was open, so I went in. And I was amazed at how green it was. A hell of a lot of the area – well, the size of a football pitch, really – has been given over to planting, which is by the renowned landscape architect Christopher Bradley-Hole. It’s a grid of hedges, grasses, block planting, glass screens and trees. And some of the flats do actually have gardens (albeit very small ones).

I was impressed. The garden seems like a fitting incarnation for a former football club – it’s the main feature of the development, and every balcony overlooks it. It seemed incredibly peaceful, too, and it struck me as a very nice place to live.