P1010353 Festival International des Jardins, Chaumont

I have had the pleasure of visiting the impressive French International Garden Festival of garden design for the last couple of years and can thoroughly recommend it to garden tourists from around the world. Those seeking ideas on garden design, new plant cultivars or simply a day in the French countryside with a garden flavour will all find plenty of value there. Continue reading

058-2 How to layout, cut & install a paved labyrinth

After designing the paved labyrinth, the next step is to prepare a level area and then there is the all important very accurate cutting of the stones and correctly laying out the pattern. After locating all utilities and getting necessary covenant permission, we were ready to go. First up was removing all plant material and grading of the site with heavy equipment. It was necessary to level a space large enough for the labyrinth to be placed and a retaining wall to be built into the hillside. Continue reading

Candeo Design1 copy How to find that design inspiration

I often get asked by people where I find my inspiration for the gardens I design. It’s a very interesting question and one that has about as many layers as an onion. I will attempt to peel a few layers back and give you an insight into where and how I start when designing my client’s gardens. Continue reading

Rachel Parker Soden 'Lust' HCPFS 2014 Hampton Court Palace Flower Show Preview

The Hampton Court Palace Flower Show (HCPFS) starts tomorrow, 8 July. So what can show goers expect this year? Will it be Chelsea’s purple flowers and intermingled planting all over again? The Hampton Court show has developed a reputation for greater innovation and experimentation over the past decade, and its environmental emphasis is clear. Continue reading

great-dixter-garden_002 Great Dixter: a manic masterpiece

I have long been fascinated by the work of the late British garden designer Christopher Lloyd. So it was with great anticipation that I recently visited his Great Dixter garden in Sussex to the south of London. And I must say I was not disappointed by the extravagant use of interesting plant material throughout the landscape there. As a plant lover rather than a lover of landscape design I am a sucker for the perennial beds that Lloyd filled to overflowing with exuberant mixtures of foliage colours and textures. Continue reading

Singita Boulders, Sabi Sands, South Africa27 Elephant-proof garden at Singita Boulders

This was one of my favourite projects to date, although the hectic deadline was not so favorable. I had only two and a half weeks to design and install the gardens for Singita Boulders, one of the world’s most exclusive African safari lodges, a holiday retreat for personalities like, Oprah, Charlize Theron, Reeba Mcyntire and Kelly Clarkson. Continue reading

Dead-plant-in-pots-Photo-vetcw3-e1404043925891 7 ways to NOT kill your plants

I’ve killed hundreds of plants. If I had bought and killed as many small animals as I have plants I would have long ago been arrested and rightly condemned as a butcher and murderer. I’ve done them all – death by neglect, death by maltreatment, death by misunderstanding and even death by capricious change of mind. Continue reading