This commission began in September 2012 with clearance and the much needed help of my twin brother who is also a Gardener (must be the genes). Together we cleared and cut back a long forgotten garden in preparation for a new planting scheme that included restoring the best of the existing plants with judicious pruning (to quote Carol Klein) and mulching and by adding new species plants to rejuvenate interest.


The garden faces south-west and so with the afternoon sun coming into the garden from the right-hand side and hitting what was a blank canvas of a fence, I knew I wanted to plant Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’. Their magnificent ruby stems will absolutely sizzle once the sun is on them. My client was really excited about having more colours brought into her garden through leaves and stems as well as with flowers for spring and summer. First things first, was to get the backdrop right. So we painted the fence green to neutralise the boundary and soften the edges, which works beautifully to create an inclusive feeling.

The background planting includes a Trachelospermum jasminoides (Star Jasmine) because of its beautiful perfume on white waxy flowers and fantastic autumn colour as the leaves change to crimson. With the backdrop underway we can move onto planting in other areas of the garden over time.


Having met with Joanna a few times and getting to understand her style, I wanted to integrate a little formality as with an Edwardian garden, a mixture of soft full floral interest and formality. I set about producing a planting plan and plants list for Joanna which includes her favourite colour purple. I have placed an archway in the garden design underneath an existing cherry tree and intend to plant purple Clematis ‘Edomurasaki’ to pull focus into the garden which will lead to a Dingly Dell. Further garden developments will take place next spring which include leveling the soil and reseeding a lawn and placing new stepping stones.

I wanted a low formal Box (Buxus sempervirens) hedge in the design to create an elegant entrance to the garden and yesterday I planted it up. Next spring and summer I shall feed and lightly prune into shape, but for now, they are in their new planting spaces and will obligingly slip into dormancy as autumn passes.


The way I work with clients is to deliver garden development in affordable portions and my initial garden viewing is free of charge. Before adding any new plants into a garden I combine preservation of existing stock with the addition of new planting. Even jaded plants if not too old and woody can be moved into better planting positions and be rejuvenated for it. It is amazing just how transforming simply moving a plant can be. This project as with life is a work in progress..

If you would like to talk with me about a new planting scheme for your garden or a bespoke Dingly Dell, please do feel free to get in touch, my email is For gardening development and maintenance enquiries (North-East London, Essex, Hertfordshire and Enfield) please telephone 07818 005773.

Happy gardening!