Monday, 19 December 2016

Town Place..lessons for us all !

A stunning 3 acre garden with a growing international reputation for the quality of its design, planting and gardening. This is a garden that has gradually evolved since it was begun in 1990, starting with a hornbeam walk and hedges of yew or copper beech which enclose rooms to each side — a shrub rose garden with over 600 roses and a formal potager. 

Then came a herb garden, a wayward collection of plants that contrasts well against the formal areas. topiary inspired by the sculptures of Henry Moore, ornamental grasses, an ancient hollow oak, and a unique 'ruined' Priory Church and Cloisters, in hornbeam.
This garden has it all and packs so much into its 3 acres that the overwhelming feeling is of a garden far greater than it is.Bursting with colour, whilst the use of ‘green’ through topiary and tapestry hedges, is a lesson for all us gardener’s to learn.
A must-see NGS garden.

Sheffield Park
RH17 7NR

Friday, 16 December 2016

An outstanding contemporary house and garden..IN SUSSEX !

I thought I would go directly to one of the most exciting gardens, as well as houses, visited this summer !
Cattlegate, located on the outskirts of Lewes at the foot of the South Downs. 
The garden surrounds the stunning white modernist house that clearly references the work of the Bauhaus and indeed the master himself, Walter Gropius.

To the rear Cattlegate opens up to its surroundings, embracing the countryside and South Downs to the south east, and affording stunning panoramic views that were once painted by artist Eric Ravilious. The integration of the swimming pool with the house further defines the link. Further architectural parallels can be drawn between the way in which the house appears to float over the pool and the way that the terrace appears to float over the landscape.

The new owner, Caroline Courtauld, is no stranger to opening and creating stunning gardens. Indeed she is the former owner of another true favourite garden  of mine, Spencers, The ravishing flower gardens in Essex, were an early commission for the garden designer Tom Stuart-Smith. 
This is an exciting garden discovery, full of thoughtful modern planting of great architectural interest and one that will certainly not disappoint any contemporary architectural garden admirer.
However, if this is not your ‘bag’ there are many more traditional gardens immediately close by that also regularly open at the same time.
An exciting garden day for all !



East Sussex


Thursday, 15 December 2016

THE Essential guide for all serious garden visitors !

As a lecturer in garden history, I am always being asked for that elusive 'Garden Reference Book' or that essential Guide Book ! THERE isn't one !

There is NOTHING more informative than actually visiting gardens or landscapes ! There are no substitutes for actually walking a landscape, experiencing a gardens surprises and delights! NO BOOK can replicate that..though I try endlessly in my talks and lectures !

However, I never travel without my trusty 'YELLOW BOOK' !! I had always understood the NGS to be the last bastion of 'Old England' ! Of traditional gardens endlessly visited by members of the Women's Institute ! Retired folk only in it for the CAKE !

How wrong was I proven to be ! I was given a guide a few years ago..I began using it..and found such an exciting array of utterly contemporary and exciting gardens... through all garden styles to vast country estates rarely open to us mere common folk ! It has been the ONE essential guide I carry with me and consult on all garden trips...of which I do MANY !

In support of the guide, I will be writing about a garden discovered using the every day for the next week ! In the hope that you garden lovers will enjoy both the variety of gardens visited and actually treat yourself to this invaluable garden visiting tool ! Please order yourselves a copy, do yourself a favour, and enjoy a whole year of exciting garden visiting....and some truly wonderful CAKE !! 

Friday, 8 April 2016

I love GNOMES !!

Like many fashions, gnomes were introduced to Britain as a touch of aristocratic whimsy, only to be ruthlessly discarded by the upper echelons as soon as the rest of us caught on. In the middle of the 19th Century, Sir Charles Isham bought 21 impish German terracotta figures to adorn his rockery at Lamport Hall in Northamptonshire.However, these German mythical statuary..still beloved throughout Germany..are now so looked down upon here in Great Britain that they are BANNED from the Chelsea Flower Show ! Gnomes, it seems are the horticultural equivalent of a polyester jumpsuit in lime green !

But,all is not lost and I may not be alone ! The gnome became 'cool' again when infant-terrible of the design world Philippe Starck introduced a range of outsize gnome tables for uber-chic Kartell..however this has been eclipsed by ASDA ! Yes ASDA ! Now, this year, and for the third year running, they are selling bright, cheeky, outsized gnomes.....

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Paper Islands
Papier-mâché, acrylic paint, painted paper, 
painted MDF pedestals

Solo exhibition
Humanities Gallery
Long Island University
Brooklyn, NY
Curated by Paul Laster
Photography by Mike Vorrasi

Paper Islands is series of painted papier-mâché sculptures that explore the imagery of imaginary plants and geological formations through accretion of form and material. The lumpy, crude paper forms emerge from armatures amassed from crumpled paper, cardboard tubes, variously shaped balloons, and other materials, that are then “skinned” with layers of papier-mâché and gesso. The surface of the sculpture becomes a three-dimensional canvas for discovering color and seeking magic, richness, and playfulness in a new picture plane. Painted paper elements sprouting from bulbous extremities augment the feeling of growth and accretion, referencing innate potentiality within these fabled objects. At once scaleless and exuberant, the paper sculptures seek an underlying primal form that exists across plant, animal, rock, and landmass. 

Thursday, 10 March 2016

A Stunning contemporary sculpture garden

Through my garden reviews I am attempting to highlight how exciting modern garden making is in Great Britain RIGHT NOW ! I am astonished at how many people have commented both at talks and through social media such as Twitter and Facebook, at how dreary an uninspiring British gardens are. My reply is very simple..'Get yourself an NGS Yellow Book...and get out there and visit'...exciting times.
Mitton Manor, in glorious Staffordshire is one such a garden. Hardly fifteen years old and developed from an overgrown wilderness, this 7-acre garden is a true revelation ! Surrounding a Victorian manor, hence the name (!) this contemporary garden excites and inspires. Not only for the fantastic plants-manship shown, the masterful transitions from restraint and formality to natural woodland and magnificent prairie planting, but also for the superbly placed modern sculpture that surprises and delights at every turn. One of the most exciting gardens I discovered last summer, of which there were many (Over 120at last count)and certainly one that should be better known.

Mitton,  Penkridge,  Stafford,  Staffordshire

Friday, 4 March 2016