Pure pleasure at Chatsworth.

Recent events have left me feeling sad.

Visiting the Chatsworth Flower Show this week helped cheer me up.

I wrote my review while looking out over the amazing view.

Chatsworth never fails to fill me with pride.

The English have a great history in creating landscape gardens.

Sheffield University Department of Horticulture , headed by Nigel Dunnett, was well represented in the Beautiful Borders section.

Some took inspiration from the surrounding Peak District.

The Floral Marquee

was crammed with plants.

The Garden societies were well represented.

This is a chance to think about mixing with fellow gardeners.

Elsewhere, clothing gear was everywhere.

This is a super venue to meet people and talk about gardening.

The show continues until sunday.


Making an entrance

It is quite a while since I took a critical look at my garden.

However, a neighbour has just had bifold gates put in.

This prompted me to think about my back gate.

Research showed me a variety of gates.

Art and craft gates. Gates made from garden tools.

They come in all shapes and sizes.

PVC has become quite popular.

Iron gates are stately.

Oak is the traditional material.

I am going for Rosewood.

I am quite excited about all this.

Think how attractive my entrance will become.

Of course then plants are my main interest.

However, in a few weeks time , I will be able to say I have a proper gate at last!


A difficult problem :

How do women progress in the sphere of influence in making policies?

How does horticulture become more recognised for the very important influence it can have on the designed landscape?

How can changes in respect to how people view the role of educated people in helping make decisions.

NTU has produced many worthy graduates in horticulture and conservation.

Quite rightly they encourage experienced graduates to try to spread the good news.

My website shows that I think I can do this.

Recently I approached a national organisation for this purpose.

If I detailed the horrific reception I got on the Isle of Wight from a group of gardeners ,it would deter anybody from visiting it again.

This when I was born bred and educated on the Island!

A committee of “dyed in the wool”people vetted me and found me “Unworthy” .

To quote them — “they did not want my skills to day or ever in the future”!

Luckily I have been in the business for a long time.

How would young people be encouraged by this story.

My advice to you is :

Vet the organisation thoroughly.

Just as you would clients.

If they do not understand your worth–walk away from them .

You will never convert them.

Above all keep your sense of dignity.

The next client may well be super.

I hope this helps. \Happy Easter and Happy gardening.

Prolonged effort.

Over the last few weeks I have looked at quite a few gardens.

Some have been very disappointing.

Bulbs around a front door cannot mask the terrible neglect in the rest of a garden.

Yes gardening is more difficult as we get older.

However, there is now a great range of lightweight tools for the job.

In larger gardens areas could be put to wildflower meadows or woodland areas.

Both are low on maintenance.

Gravel gardens are another idea.

Sculpture cuts down workable areas.

So do benches, milk churns and bird baths.

So ,do not give up gardening as life presents new challenges.

Rather”Go with the flow”


A very good tip.

It is difficult to know whether you should acknowledge that you are a consultant in horticulture.

My experience this week tells me that you should.

I was going to get help in the garden.

I did not go into my level of experience in detail.

However, the trouble with this is that less qualified people try to dominate you.

You know that your knowledge is better than the other person.

In making decisions, it is better to know who has the upper hand.

Some people will ask straight away what your level of expertise is.

Just tell them.

It saves time.

Also, you are not left feeling down because the other person has used you incorrectly.

If you are good at making contacts and helping others carry on doing this.

Let those that are very competitive and just think of themselves lead a selfish life.

I hope this will help others to expand their horizons.


Springing into action.

It has been a long winter ,which makes it hard to get started again.

However, action creates motivation.

What projects have you planned for this year?

I am going to talks at the Lincs Hardy Plant Society.

Palmstead suggested that we all need to push horticulture.

I am starting at family level with my grandchildren.

We can make a difference.

In my own garden the front garden needs looking at.

The hard landscaping will be extended.

Bolders can give interest.

Updating planting is a continual process if we are to keep gardens at the peak of condition.

Creatively , I hope to go to Jeff Koons at the Ashmolean in Oxford.

Each small facet will, I hope , create a worthwhile composition to my year.

I hope that I have given you ideas to help construct your year.


Adapting to change.

The Palmstead workshop this week informed us of the changes that are occurring.

Major players are retiring.

There are enough of the main players left to provide stability.

New key figures recognise the problems that the industry is facing.

They are right to demand help with this.

They also have the enthusiasm to overcome the economic climate that restricts progress.

As well as providing excellent talks, the workshop gives people a chance to see old friends and make new ones.

The Midlands does not have the wealth of the South East, however I do not let this get me down.

I welcome the chance to mix in the atmosphere that hopefully will help me to continue a little while longer.

Preparing for Palmstead !

Next week will be the annual Palmstead workshop.

Something that we garden designers look forward to very much.

The topic this year is Green Connections.

Ken Thompson is a Plant Scientist of note.

I have met him before and bought one of this books.

Andrew Wilson is a well known figure in this industry.

I have heard him speak before.

His views on how the industry should be run are very good.

Trees are always a popular topic at this workshop.

The Consulting Process.

This year there will also be time to discuss issues involved in working with people.

The chance to meet friends is a great idea.

What perfect way to start the year.