My favourite gardening book

As the rain pours down and the temperature struggle to get into the double digits, a lot of us avid gardeners gravitate towards our bookshelves. It struck me today just how much inspiration I gleaned from books when we were first starting our garden. Continue reading

Peony paradise!

I had promised Catherine a story about my incredible visit to the Peony Festival at Luoyang in central China in April this year. It’s a bit late, as I have been travelling since then but here it is at last! Each Spring, a Festival to showcase the unofficial national flower of China, the treepeony is eld in and around Luoyang, the capital of Henan Province and a ‘medium’ sized city of only 7 million people!! Continue reading

Geometry lesson

A garden space is the open void in which you sit or stand, so it describes the shape of things like lawn or paving on the ground plane, as well as the vertical space enclosed by pergolas, awnings and overhanging trees. Voids, especially ground plane shapes, are probably the most noticeable thing about a garden, as our eye registers their layout and limits more than that of the masses around them. Continue reading

Water gardens

I feel certain that my love of water stems from the fact that my star sign is Pisces, with my birthday being on the cusp with Aquarius. My moon sign is also Aquarius. Both have water in their makeup with the fish and the water bearer. So my love of water becomes transferred to the need for water in my gardens. Continue reading


Archways can function two ways – either as a frame for a beautiful vista that lies beyond or as a focal point in their own right. It’s tricky to combine the two but with the right choice of materials and colours, it’s certainly possible. Continue reading

Water features

Most people would like to have some water in their garden, as we are always drawn to its soothing presence and reflective qualities or, alternatively, its energy and movement. Choosing the right water feature for your garden is always much more than what it looks like though – its sound is even more important to get right. Continue reading

At the New York Botanical Garden – a stunning tribute to French Impressionist Claude Monet showcasing a seasonally changing interpretation of the garden that inspired his art. Until Oct 21.

Jamie Durie – hunk?

The Vancouver Sun has been waxing lyrical about Australia’s horticultural “hunk du jour” Jamie Durie, describing him (ahem) as the “Handsome, bestselling landscape designer known for ‘sexy’ gardening”. Full interview here.

Honey, I moved the lawn

I have just moved about 8 square metres of turf from the east coast of Scotland to the west. It’s the sort of daft thing I do these days. My years of “sensible” gardening on a smallish surburban plot in Cambridge seem a distant memory. Now I try to juggle living most of the time in a rented house and garden in Edinburgh with maintaining – and trying to renovate – an acre and a quarter of wet, weed-infested hillside in Argyll. Continue reading


Paths are an essential linking element in any garden and there’s a tendency to see them as functional rather than decorative. Keep them as wide as you can fit and let plants spill in from either side, make sure the surface is non-slip especially is shady areas and think about a wider range of surfaces than just standard pavers or stone flagging. Continue reading

The unfashionable quince

Whenever I recommend to someone below the age of 40 to plant a quince tree I am often met with a blank stare. It seems that like the washboard, hatbox and moustache wax, quinces have been relegated to the dustbin of history. This is a shame and I think it’s now high time for a quince revival. Continue reading