Monday, August 1, 2011


Over the last few months I have been extremely fortunate in working with Adrian Fisher Design on a maze for the National Trust at Speke Hall. This opened on July 8th. What a great learning curve and a fantastic experience to create such a long-term legacy in todays world which seems to focus increasingly on short-term solutions.

I was lucky enough to work with brilliant contractors (Wright Landscapes) who made the journey to Liverpool more than worth while. The project was completed on time and looks fantastic - so a huge thank you guys! We have gates, bridges, puzzles and wind vanes. We overcame archaelogical constraints; the weather (incredibly hot and then cold); planning concerns and all those wonderful bits and pieces that go with working on a project! But I hope that you think, looking at the pictures, it was worth it. Do go and visit Speke Hall - it is a medieval miracle just behind John Lennon Airport in Liverpool. An interesting juxtoposition if ever there was one!


So much has happened since May.... The Chelsea Flower Show, the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show (my favourite); new work, new interests as well as old passions.

Chelsea was interesting; I am not sure how much I actually enjoy going there (sacrilege I know) although I do love being made to think about design and the use of plants. The one garden for me that was simply the best was Diarmuid Gavin. Not the pod (I won't say what I thought of that) but the wondrous way he used grass, box, conifers to give distance and perspective. For me it was the highlight of the show. (see top picture)

As always going to Hampton Court was a two edged sword. Mainly because I am not exhibiting. I love the adrenalin rush, the behind the scenes fun and drama, the camaradarie. Going on the first day is simply not the same. And besides which there are too many people. I know I am turning into a selfish old lady - perhaps I have been in the country too long! There were some gems of gardens - in particular in the Concept Garden category and the small gardens. I loved the heather wall (shown on the right of the bottom picture), and found the garden focusing on the war in Afghanistan a fantastic juxtoposition give the desert quality of the garden situated as it was under Hampton Court's luscious limes (see top left).

What has been wonderful to see though is how 'grass' in all its wonderful forms has now made it into mainstream planting. Now all we need is to see shrubs included as well!