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Archived Blog Posts

Ancient Garden Art: Well Dressings

Mystery, secrecy, intrigue – it all happens behind closed (barn) doors in the Peak District, Derbyshire. Plans are made, sketches discussed, materials gathered and volunteers found as villagers huddle together to discuss the next well dressing. Well dressing is an ancient, pagan tradition dating back to the Romans or Celts (no-one is quite sure) when…

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A Time to Reset

I’m a consummate planner. I have lists of lists. And if I do something that isn’t on my list – I write it down just so I can check it off! (Sound familiar?) This week was all mapped out, from gardening projects to swims, gym sessions, and visits with friends. Then the snow started to…

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Bedazzle the Garden & Home for the Holidays

I love sparkles! I think that’s why I enjoy swimming in open water so much – there is nothing quite so magical as swimming into the setting sun as it turns the water into liquid gold. When it comes to decorating our home and garden for the Holidays I tend to keep things fairly simple…

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Ideas for American Gardens – from England

Garden styles go in and out of fashion and such has been the case of the English garden in America. Once hailed as the style, it then went out of favor, considered to be too labor intensive due to its reliance on an abundance of perennials or endless clipping of topiary structures. Yet I would…

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New(er) Shrubs That Still Perform

It generally takes a few years to assess new shrubs. For example, the habit can initially be nicely compact yet after a few seasons they may resemble a gangly teenager. Or what you thought was going to be a low maintenance, drought tolerant, and deer-resistant specimen proved to be a demanding primadonna. As the gardening…

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Gourdgeous Pumpkin: An Exciting, Colorful Backdrop

I’m always struck by the use of colored walls in garden design. I think the fascination began when I purchased Container Gardening (DK, 2004) by Paul Williams many years ago. The planting combinations are outstanding, showcasing a variety of styles and color schemes with excellent use of foliage, but it is the staging and photography…

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Budget Friendly Greenhouse Design

Lack of space, budget, and materials wasn’t going to stop Axton Burton from building a greenhouse in which to overwinter his prized, tropical houseplants. With his rented studio apartment clearly not an ideal location for such a structure and the majority of residential greenhouses too short to accommodate his ice cream banana tree (Musa acuminata…

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A visit to Himalayan Garden & Sculpture Park, Yorkshire

Home to over 80 Contemporary Sculptures set within 45 acres of breathtaking gardens, this Himalayan Garden & Sculpture Park is inspired by the Himalayas yet nestled into the picturesque Yorkshire countryside. However, when I read the gushing online reviews of rhododendrons, azaleas and the new Primula meadow, I was concerned that while this would be…

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A Visit to Breezy Knees Gardens

Described by Monty Don as “a beautiful modern garden created on the grandest possible scale”,  Breezy Knees is situated on the eastern outskirts of York, England. I was thrilled when my friend Jill suggested we visit last month while I was staying with her  – but have to say I think good old Monty undersold…

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Best Flowering Groundcovers for Full Sun

The term “groundcover” was new to me when we moved to the USA over 25 years ago. My English gardens never had any bare earth showing, every conceivable space both horizontally and vertically being planted in casual layers of annuals, perennials, edibles, shrubs, and more. There was no additional earth that needed to be covered!…

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