Chaos at chatsworth.

What a shame the RHS did not do their homework properly on this show.

The roads leading to the estate are very narrow.
Yesterday they were in utter gridlock.
It was as if the Chatsworth estate had decided to throw a party without thinking about the planning.
While we are on that subject — why did it seem like a Chatsworth event and not a RHS event?

The show gardens were interesting.
Lots of rusted metal, Natural planting and rocks.
Well dressing is a feature of this area.
The “well dressing” features were lovely. \
The show provided a great place to chat to people.
The plant store was good.
I had a go at an art class.
PLEASE RHS think about the people who visit the shows.
Make sure they are given all-round safety and a pleasant experience.

The healing power of the environment.

Recently I have been looking at how gardens can help healing.
Hospital gardens are a good example.
When you are very stressed with an illness
you need something to focus on.
Clouds overhead could work.
So could waking up to a sunny day.

Hospital gardens come in a variety of settings.
A group of bergenias is very soothing.
You do not want to overburdened with plants.
Hard landscaping can help.
A lawn with a row of trees is calming.
Lighting brings a new dimension at night.

Staff need breaks .
What better than to eat your lunch sitting on a bench.
Conversation could take place out of doors.
These simple ideas can have a very good effect on our health.

Simple designs work very well in this setting.
Colour can lift the spirit.

Thinking of how the patients feel is very useful.
The many advances that have been made in providing gardens in care homes and hospitals is an achievement that is well worth noting.

The garden designer is the boss!!

I have had to have an enforced rest .

This has given me time to reflect on what I find distressing in garden design today.

There is a movement for people to “Find themselves” and define themselves in different ways.

One could be a garden project.

However, it is unreasonable to expect the garden designer  to have to “Cowtow” to the client.

Recently I was involved in a difficult project  involving a garden for people in care.

Lots of health and safety rules come into play here.

Standards must be strict.

Materials must conform to certain standard.

It is plain stupid for a client to overrule the designer just so that they can feel

totally in charge of a project.

Common sense dictates the designer  has to be firm on recommendations.

Ask yourself is this project all about ME.

If it is you are just selfish and should think again about working with a professional .

This is taking competition too far.

Gardening is about enjoying the environment.

Let this be your main objective.


Exciting echiums!

Today I DSCN5717went to an open day at The Echium Garden in Edwinstowe ,notts. 

We normally think of these plants growing in the south of England.

However, I have bought one.

Some are grown in large containers.

Mine is not like this.

I am going to keep it in  a pot and protect it in Winter.

Linda and Ray Heywood will be at the RHS Chatsworth show in june. 

They have already done well at Hampton Court flower Show. 

Their talk”The land of the Giants” is very popular.

Go to to find out more.

What is the right help for you?

I have been giving some thought to the various types of help that is available to gardeners.

It is important that you think what you need and how to get the help.

This includes  garden designers, gardeners, arborists,

landscapers , joiners , electricians or general odd job men.

1) if your garden is full of rubbish get a clearance man.

2)If your trees are overgrown or need pruning get an arborist.

3))Do not expect a designer to be happy if they have come into your garden to survey it and you “waylay” them asking for tree advice.

4)If you know what plants you want get a gardener in to plant them.

5)Joiners will be happy to put up a pergola.

6) Electricians can advice and install lighting.

So often now I meet clients who have no idea who to contact for what.

These leeds to confusion,frustration and sometimes quite bad aggression.

Think before you act!

You will save yourself a lot of trouble!





Lacking respect:


My recent contact with aggressive clients has made me quite disheartened by how the General Public treat people  in horticulture.

They know little of the training and expertise that we have.

Just because they have watched some gardening on TV  they think they know it all!!

Why don’t they look at the length and depth of training we go through.

They also know little of how to deal with people.

How often will they take advice?

How often will they listen instead of talking non -stop about themselves?

If you are paying for help why not listen to the advice given.

Before contacting a professional why not look into how they work.

Try to research what the job entails.

If the designer follows the regulations set out by the industry, do not try to compromise their professional standing by taking over and flaunting  the rules.

Lastly do not fall back on verbal abuse if the designer tries to maintain some control of the situation.

It all comes  down to treating others with respect.



My week: A fair deal for garden designers!


anne smith designs

Over the last couple of weeks I have experienced something that has disturbed me a great deal.

Often I have written articles to express my desire that clients try to gain some knowledge on what degree of expertise is needed to be a Garden Designer.

After the brief has been taken hours of research are needed to plan the design.

Care must be taken that construction details comply with agreed standards.

We try to explain this to the client.

Sometimes it is very difficult indeed.

If the brief requires states that the users may be people with dementia the research must be more rigourous.

Local authorities and building regulators come into play.

Paths must be a certain width.

People cannot be expected to use the same road as cars.

Raised beds need to be accessible to wheel chair users.

Probably lights could be useful .

I am trying to stress that cost and superficial aspects should be balanced against health and safety.

A sensible and considerate approach is needed.

I think that properly informed adults are aware of the care that must be taken.

From my experience in the last couple of weeks I worry that people who are setting up care homes and gardens do not take enough care.

Thankfully controls are in place to ensure the safety and monitoring of these homes.

This gives me reason to hope .

It will also offer peace of mind.







Places of the Mind:British museum:

The exhibition of watercolour paintings at the British Museum  is worth a visit.

I have only just started art lessons.

I have tried landscapes ,seascapes and industrial landscapes.

Subtle colour appeals to me.

So does producing delicate work.

This is why this exhibition interested me.

It was my first visit to the Museum.

Adults from many countries were there.

It is a good venue for children. There is space for everybody.

Art is a treasure for all.

Go and see works by Paul Nash, John Singer Sergent,Whistler Helen Allingham and much more.

You may find that you come away with a desire to try watercolour painting yourself.