So here we are…

April 2016 and Spring is steadily trotting along, soon to be in full gallop. I’m not a betting person to be honest but with it being the Grand National this weekend I’d thought I’d give it a nod and slip in a gardening pun to start!

Hard to believe that this time last year I was counting down the hours until the RHS Malvern Spring Festival Show Garden Build was to begin. Instead this year, with my press day ticket at the ready, I shall be a mere spectator. Continue reading

BIG NEWS! Get ready RHS Malvern Spring Festival’15!

MasterPlan PlantingPlan ReDesign Plants ReDesignPlants


So….does anyone know how to build a show garden, because I need to build one for the RHS in May?!

I am so excited as yesterday I found out my redesign for a Festival Garden for the RHS was approved!

My initial design, pictured in my previous post, didn’t make it but the judges loved my concept and gave me the option to resubmit a new design. Well I had nothing to lose and at least more feedback from the RHS yet again to gain.

However I was informed yesterday I had successfully addressed the judges issues with my original design, which I had completely agreed with. My original design was too literal to my concept, too bleak.

Within 2 weeks I managed to come up with a new design and rough planting plan I felt far more confident in and apparently the judges did too.

Artistic organisation.


‘Silent scatter brain’ would be an understatement of a description of me. I have always come across quite a relaxed, laid back sort of person but there is a ridiculous amount of silent thinking, considerations and ideas constantly spinning frantically inside my head. Whenever it comes to actually communicating any of these thoughts  they just come out as jumbled and scatter as they are flying around my head. They make perfect sense to me but seem utter random, impossibly connected half sentences to anyone nearby.

I can be organised. I have the ability to be organised. Artistically, not at all. Organisation has no place within my artistic world. ‘Artistic organisation’ is tosh, not possible. I do not believe Art comes out of order. Yes, there is an Art in order, ‘Organisation Artistically’, yes. However artistic thinking is not ordered, it does not come from order. Artistic thinking is sporadic.

“Tidy house, Tidy mind”. How boring.

I don’t think I could bear life if my mind ever became tidy.

Project 1.

Here we are, 7 weeks…8 weeks…9…a number of weeks into the course with just over 2 weeks now until Project 1 comes to an end!
I have learnt so much in such a short period. It has not been smooth sailing to say the least. Then again it oh so rarely is with my cloudy mind of doubts and panics.
Today has been a good day. (It was also a pyjama day.)

Project 1 is a typical rectangular(ish) terrace house back garden. The client, who loves her roses and wildlife, felt the garden was too straight.



After the site visit and reading through the clients brief I put together a mood board.


The next stage, after creating a scale drawing of the garden, was to create a design. After throwing many shapes around the space and not making life easy for myself, I managed to come up with something I am really please with.



The next step is now the most crucial to get right of all. The planting scheme! Teaching hasn’t quite taken us that far yet but I’ve ideas bouncing around and I hope to whizz up a couple of watercolour designs in the next day or so.

Today at work…

Thinking this is going to become a “regular feature”.

The garden centre I work for is apart of The Garden Centre Group (soon to be rebranded as Wyevale) and as an employee I have access to a fantastic E-learning resource to build up my horticultural knowledge. Quite honestly it is the main reason I gave up my previous salaried position for such a low part time wage. I had decided I wanted to become a garden designer however after the experiences I went through during my Fine Art BA(Hons) degree (it was a pretty awful 3 years to put it simply), returning to University was out of the question.

None of this is really the point. The point was I feel I have one of the most perfect jobs to go hand in hand with my studies. My plant knowledge has increased dramatically in the few months I have worked for the company, although I am oh so very far from even daring to call myself an expert. I had to apologise and admit to a customer the other day that I hadn’t a clue what she was asking for and she very kindly explained (I now know what a standard is!). Tangent.

Anyway today at work I created a smallish display to liven up an empty but frequently passed spot, by customers, at work. Which leads me to the point I have been trying to word that it is wonderfully useful being surrounded by a great selection of plants that I can move, arrange and rearrange in displays. For example the first two plants I picked up were a Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’ and a gorgeous 3ft Cryptomeria japonica ‘Elegans’ but as I played with my display I just couldn’t get the Cornus alba to work with the various other plants I later selected.

Ofcourse growing heights and conditions bare little consequence in my displays currently, as I lack that knowledge, which I need to address so I can successfully translate all these various colour and texture plant combinations I create at work into my garden design.


The Malvern Autumn Show & Cheltenham Literature Festival Show Garden.

The past 2 weeks I have given up my single day off a week to help out with the Feature Show Garden designed by my mentor Caroline Tatham, Principle of The Cotswold Gardening School, for The Malvern Autumn Show and Cheltenham Literature Festival. I have only very minorly been able to get involved but it is always an invaluable insight into the life of a show garden, particularly as I plan on submitting my first design to the RHS Malvern Spring Festival: Festival Gardens 2015 category.



After completing a Fine Art degree a few years ago I, firstly wound up stacking shelves for Sainsburys (as Graduates do) for 6 months, then ended up, naturally, working as a Research Assistant for a soft fruit company for 2 years…go figure. It was great and here I discovered my love for working with plants. As my research work became creatively suffocating and I realised the stress of working with my boss was not worth the 18k salary, I decided to leave for a minimum wage 12hr/week contract with a local garden centre and blow all my savings on a Garden Design Diploma with The Cotswold Gardening School. I am now juggling two jobs, earn just enough to pay my bills and have begun my diploma and it is possibly one of the greatest decisions I have ever made in my life.