All posts filed under: Home and Garden

The Fragrant Garden

From the delicate perfume of roses to the heady exoticism of jasmine, having a few sweet smelling flowers in your garden can really lift the spirits. It’s a good idea to put fragrant plants near seating areas or paths so you can appreciate them as you walk by or over a morning coffee or evening drink. Here are a few of my favourite scented plants from spring to summer: Shrubs For spring flowers, Osmanthus x burkwoodii is a fab rounded shrub with small dark evergreen leaves and a mass of tiny white sweet smelling flowers in April and May. Another gorgeous shrub I’d love in my garden is Viburnum x burkwoodii, which has clusters of white vanilla-scented flowers opening from pink buds, in April and May. A little later comes Lilac (Syringa) – beautiful right now, with its heavenly blousy blossom in a range of purples and white. Syringa vulgaris are the most perfumed varieties – I like S. ‘Mme Lemoine ‘ which has highly fragranced white flowers. For smaller gardens or containers, dwaf varieties such …

Garden Talk: Top 10 groundcover plants

Great for carpeting bare ground, preventing weeds and defining the front of a border, groundcover plants are a must-have in the garden. Here are my top 10, grown for… Foliage Asarum europaeum (Wild ginger) For a lush contemporary look this is unbeatable, with glossy green heart-shaped leaves that spread to form an evergreen carpet. It prefers a moist, shady spot.  Pachysandra terminalis, which copes better with sun, also forms a dense mat of evergreen leaves with white flowers in early summer. Ajuga reptans ‘Atropurpurea’ (bugle) If you’re after a bit more colour, try this spreading evergreen, grown predominantly for its unusual bronze-purple foliage – which look great with other rusty coloured ferns and grasses. The short spikes of deep blue flowers in early spring are a bonus. It’s happy in sun or part shade, provided there’s enough water. Stachys Byzantina ‘Silver Carpet’ (Lamb’s ears) With spreading velvety silver leaves this is great for softening the edge of a well-drained, sunny border – it’s also very drought tolerant once established.  Stachys have purple flower spires in …

Midcentury Modern® at Dulwich College

  60 top midcentury dealers and 25 hot contemporary designers come together at this celebrated show at Dulwich College on Sunday 10th March. “Design Addicts will have a heart attack” Grand Designs If you don’t just wear vintage, you live vintage, you will LOVE this celebrated interiors show. And there’s modern mixed in too. Check out a wealth of contemporary designers and midcentury dealers showing their wares at the next Midcentury Modern®. See the launch of Baines & Fricker’s new room divider with integrated storage alongside superb designs from newbies Workshop no.8, Thurgood Design and From Workshop with contemporary furniture treats in store for all. Also premiering at the show, P.Westwell and Susannah Weiland with gorgeous wallpapers and sumptuous textiles. Eckford Chong will be bringing along flat pack stools which click together with no need for glue or screws and use off cuts so are environmentally friendly to boot. Returning to the show are Design Bros with their exciting graphic and sculptural furniture including their new Kaku sideboard. Kevin Dutton has been a photographer for over …

Garden Talk: In praise of snowdrops

There’s something magical about snowdrops with their dainty white heads appearing in dreary mid winter, giving us a reason to be cheerful. The most common variety, Galanthus nivalis – roughly translated as ‘milk white flower ’ has a single flower and green v- shaped markings on the inner petals, and G. nivalis ‘Flore Pleno’ is a frillier double version.But there are hundreds of cultivars with subtle differences in size, markings and colouring. Snowdrops are woodland plants and thrive in moist, well-drained soil, in dappled shade. They look wonderful naturalised in grass or carpeting the ground under trees.  But they also work in drifts in borders or underplanting shrubs or multi-stems such as silver birch. Pick a spot, such as a front garden or somewhere visible from a window, were you can appreciate them easily. Companion plants Aim for naturalism by planting snowdrops in little clumps of three, five or seven, with about 20 or so in total for impact. Snowdrops look stunning interplanted with tiny pinky purple Cyclamen coum or other delicate early spring bulbs …

Garden Talk: Your January to do list

Giving the garden a tidy up, on a nice bright day, is a good way to start the year. Even in mid winter there’s plenty to do from pruning to planting – and any work put in now will pay off when the busier spring season arrives. Prune: Prune tatty looking perennials left for winter interest such as sedum – avoiding new growth. And remove old hellebore leaves to make flowers more visible. Cutback ornamental grasses to within a few cm of the ground before the new growth arrives Many deciduous trees, shrubs and hedges such as beech and hornbeam can also be pruned throughout the dormant period. (Exceptions are evergreens, tender plants and prunus species (cherries, plums, and apricots) as it makes them more susceptible to infection). Cut roses back just above an outward facing bud and remove crossing or dead braches and thin weak stems – I remove branches thinner than a pencil. Prune to the height you want creating an almost vase like shape with an open centre. Prune apple and pear …