A new presence !


This week I was contacted by Spun Gold TV to see if I would put forward my Courtyard Garden  for a tv programme.

They were also interested in other gardens on my website.

This will depend on how the client feels.

After 12 years in the business of design it is super to have this type of recognition.

A garden may not fit the bill for the very particular image of TV..

It may not look good at the time of filming.

Perhaps the character has changed over the years.

Perhaps it does not fit the brief.

Then again the client may not want a film crew in their private space.

All this adds up to the beauty of a garden is in the eye of the beholder.

Yours may not make onto TV–but the chances are it is beautiful in your eyes!



A change in direction .

I have has my business 12 years this month.
Anne smith designs started in 2005.

There has been a recession since then.

I changed the structure 4 years ago to concentrate on design only.
This was good move.

Now I would like to change again.

I wrote recently of the fact that it is not possible now to control the product.

I would like to explore the field of art.

However, contact with two art teachers was not that good.
One was very critical
The other was very unreliable.
AT the Chatsworth Show I met Gillian Beale.
She ran an art class.

She has set up her own art school at Doddington/lincs.
This week I visited her.
She is a woman of vision.

She was understanding of my situation.
I am talkative and suffer from hearing loss.
She has assured me that she can help me discover the relaxation and concentration of art.

I am so glad.

So this week i am going to the RA Summer Exhibition.
Later in the month I will go over to Doddington.

Designers work alone.
However i am looking forward to seeing how I get on in a different situation.
Like all things doing the research is very important.

I hope that my efforts will be rewarded.

Wish me luck!!

Controlling the product. The dog who wags the tail.

This week at Chatsworth I met a retired food product designer.
There are many similarities in the work including :
the client brief, research, exploring the parameters, risk assessment, health and safety,exploring ideas, the concept design,delivering the design.

It was great for me to have this conversation, as I work alone.

I got a new perspective on how major,unseen forces are at hand.
I knew a little of the as i did food technology as part of my biology degree.

It seems that the food industry itself has major hidden agenda.
For example , salt and sugar content.
Some food labels want their own image to be paramount.

In the end the product may be a very watered down example of the original.
This can be very hard to take.

I have recently had a similar experience.
The care garden started as a super project.
Lots of ideas were discussed.
Health and safety regulations were explored.
Contacts were approached.

Suddenly all this changed!!
Health and safety went out of the window.
Major construction details were just ignored.
All decisions came down to costs.

The result would have been a very poor product.

Garden Designers should take control of the product.
If clients want ” cut -price ‘products they should go to cut- price suppliers.

The dignity of the profession needs to be protected.

As does the wonderful occupation that is Garden Design!

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 http://www.echiumworls.co.uk 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.