Peony ‘Claire de Lune’

Peony Clare du luneI first discovered this plant at Chelsea 2012 in Andy Sturgeon’s Show Garden and I remembered being blown away by its beauty with its pale colouring and prominent stamens in deep yellow. A must-have for the cottage garden in part shade or sun. I had the recent pleasure of visiting a local NGS garden where this plant featured, a real treat. Continue reading

Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Wrinkled Blue’

pittosporum tenuifolium wrinkled blueI love this beautiful plant – a substantial evergreen with beautiful leaves that are wavy around the edges. Great choice for a sheltered garden in need of a backdrop plant that gives elegance across the seasons, the foliage contrasts beautifully with the dark coloured stems.

I had a large specimen in my London garden, sadly I had to leave it behind when I relocated to Hertfordshire, but I know it will go on for many years giving pleasure and shelter to the newer occupants.

Botanical name: Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Wrinkled Blue’
Other names: Tawhiwhi ‘Wrinkled Blue’, Kohuhu ‘Wrinkled Blue’, Pittosporum ‘Wrinkled Blue’
Genus: Pittosporum
Variety or Cultivar: ‘Wrinkled Blue’ _ ‘Wrinkled Blue’ is a neat, oblong evergreen shrub with silver-blue, wavy edge foliage on dark stems.
Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Wrinkled Blue’ is: Evergreen
Flower: Insignificant or absent in Summer
Foliage: Blue, Silvery-grey in All seasons
Habit: Bushy, Rounded

I specialise in soft landscaping and planting plans – if you would like to have a chat about your garden please do get in touch.

Happy gardening!

Fatsia japonica (Japanese Aralia)

fatsia_japonicaI love this plant! This is a fantastic plant for shade and for creating shade – enabling underplanting of shade loving plants beneath its beautifully palmate leaves. Native to southern Japan and South Korea. Not only is it evergreen but it produces fascinating white flower heads which then turn to black berries – much appreciated by garden birds in the colder months. Continue reading

Echinacea purpurea (Cone flower)

Echinacea purpurea

Echinacea purpurea

I love this flower almost as much as the bees do and I have seen plenty of them this year plundering the pollen. I love the variety of colours that these steadfast perennials come in and most of all I love the cone that slowly reveals itself during later summer and stays right through till winter.

I love nothing more that sitting at my table collecting the seeds from the driest seed heads and opening them up to reveal the seeds all tightly packed together. I remember last year my darling niece coming to visit me and making up paper envelopes out of grease proof paper to share the seeds with friends and clients.

Everything is now well into fruiting and seeding and so I am thinking again about the bounty that awaits me in the garden soon to be picked. It’s nearly time to get out your paper bags, kitchen roll or old biscuit tin and go collect some seeds. Remember that the best time to collect seed is on a dry day and store them away from direct sunlight and damp. The last thing you want is to go to your seeds store next spring and find them full of mould and unable to use them. Another method of seed collection is to tie a paper bag down over the heads of your beloved plants in readiness for those seeds to drop. Which ever method of seed collection you use remember to label them especially if your memory is fading like mine!

I won’t be harvesting my Echinacea for at least a couple of months yet but I am already thinking about them and knowing they are on their way is thrilling enough as I plan out my new garden. This is a bee loving perennial must have for any sunny border. To find out more about all the different Echinacea visit

Happy gardening!

Corydalis lutea (Yellow Corydalis)

Corydalis luteaWhen I first started gardening professionally I had an in-built discrimination towards this little yellow plant. Spotting it enjoying the lime and damp in corners of buildings and pathway cracks, my response to it was to remove it.

But now my response has done a 360 degree turnaround due to a client who showed me how delicate and beautiful it really is. I have always had a difficult response to yellow flowers and in particular those with an acidic hue, but seeing Marj’s smiling face and hearing her describe its beauty to me with her faded Liverpudlian tones I very happily allowed myself to change my mind.

Marj's garden 18.7.13 016

Over the past two years I have come to love and cherish Marj who I quickly connected with as a friend. We had a beautiful and lasting connection and love for each other. Marj always accompanied me in her garden and together we chatted, shared stories, giggled, and talked about family concerns over coffee and lunches on trays sitting in the garden.

Often Marj would snip at the stems of faded perennials to help with the making of the home-made compost. We loved each other’s company and just being together. The garden Robin would often stay with us and peck at the shavings of grated cheese Marj gave it.

Very sadly Marj died this week, aged 82 and I am shocked by the suddenness of her passing. I just want to say how much I will miss her and that I will always hold her in my heart and my thoughts.

And I will always smile as I pass Corydalis lutea where ever it may be..

Parthenocissus henryana (Chinese Virginia Creeper)

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This is such a great backdrop plant to have in the garden. I use it in my own garden to cover a shed. This young plant has put on good growth this year in time to display its beautiful rich autumn colours. *The plant was named for the Irish plant collector Augustine Henry (1857-1930) who discovered the species on his tour of Central China in the 1880s. (*Wikepedia content)

The white veining on its leaves sets it apart from the more common Virginia Creeper, although still beautifully resplendent in its own autumn colours. P. henryana first came to my attention when I was a student at Capel Manor and I am still as delighted by this plant now as I was then. Inexpensive to buy and a plant that brings pleasure and richness to a garden for many years. Continue reading

Rhus typhina ‘Laciniata’









This is a wonderful plant to give height and structure to the garden. The deeply divided leaflets are simply gorgeous and the autumn colour is magnificant, a tonal array ranging from yellows to reds. I have several in my front garden flanking the gate, which provide a wonderful overhead canopy when in leaf. The stems are like stags horns, soft and velvety to touch, covered in fine hair, hence its common name ‘Cut-leaved stag’s horn Sumac.’

Botanical name: Rhus typhina ‘Dissecta’
Other names: Cut-leaved stag’s horn sumach, Rhus typhina ‘Laciniata’, Fire fern sumach
Genus: Rhus
Species: R. typhina ‘Dissecta’ – R. typhina ‘Dissecta’ is a deciduous, suckering shrub with deeply dissected foliage that turns red and orange in autumn. Yellow, erect panicles of green-yellow female flowers are followed by dense clusters of red fruit.
Rhus typhina ‘Dissecta’ is: Deciduous
Flower: Yellow-green in Summer
Foliage: Green in Summer; Orange, Red in Autumn
Habit: Spreading, Suckering
Toxicity: All parts are highly toxic if ingested and foliage may cause skin irritation
Awards: RHS AGM (Award of Garden Merit)

If you would like to talk with me about a new planting plan 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!


Epimedium x rubrum

Epimedium 011This is such a stunningly beautiful little plant which deserves being viewed from down on your knees.. as I lift up its incredibly delicate flower heads to take in their beauty, they tremble on their wiry stems. The heart shaped leaves flush from green to red as spring develops and by autumn turn auburn red. These plants are perfect for shady borders and give every reason to be discovered in the cooler shadows of your garden. Continue reading

Uncinia rubra (Red Hook Sedge)

Uncinia rubra

I love this little plant and only recently discovered it whilst working on a planting plan for clients with brick raised beds. Of course, as in other aspects of life, I now see it everywhere and I can’t understand why I hadn’t spotted it sooner. Is it just me or have plantsmen and women in London decided this is the plant of the season.. I guess it helps that it is hardy and evergreen, a real keeper. Continue reading