January 2018

"The summer garden is made in winter" and now, when we are not distracted by all the ravishing colour of summer, is a good time to look at our gardens with a critical eye. Does it all look rather a drab and dispiriting brown mess or is there, even in the dark, cold days of January, an interesting structure? If your garden doesn't, even now, delight the eye, perhaps it's time to consider making changes.

The cold, wet and windy weather means that we may spend more time looking out at the garden than actually being in it but, in the brief sunny moments, do try to get out there. Spring is on its way and change is already happening. The birds are already changing their song and, in a well-planted garden there are treats awaiting; the deliciously heady scent of Daphnes wash across the garden and, already the brave snowdrops brighten even the darkest corner with their pure white shy flowers.


I was very sorry to hear of the recent death of John Brookes M.B.E. He was an exacting but patient teacher and my time under his tutorship was hugely exciting. He remained encouraging and supportive in the years that followed. He had a delightfully naughty, but never unkind, sense of humour and great charm. In his 80th year, I was asked by Homes & Gardens magazine to collate comments on his influence on garden design over his many years in the profession and was struck by the warmth and respect in which he was held by fellow designers, colleagues and his many students all over the world. He will be greatly missed.

Artworks in the garden


It's always a pleasure to place sculpture in a garden. It was a great treat today to work with Devon-based sculptor Anthony Turner to place not one but four of his stone pieces. They were commissioned for a significant birthday and have been moved from my clients' old house to their new one in Exeter. Now that the large pieces, carved in Ancaster Weatherbed, are in place we can begin to plant up the garden. I can't wait to see how it develops over the next year!


Spring sunshine tempts us outside and its warmth brings out all the wild flowers in the woods on a short holiday in Laugharne, Wales, last week.My heart lifts with the promise of the new year and the beauty of our landscape.