Radicepura Garden Festival 2017

Radicepura Garden Festival 2017

I was lucky enough to get a guided tour of this new garden festival in Sicily when visiting recently. What a delight. There were not a large number of show gardens but all had been constructed with care and attention to detail and had survived an extremely hot summer. The use of native plants that have been specifically researched and known cultivars which are suitable for the Mediterranean climate were a revelation. One exhibit shows the land map of Italy and its specific flower, fruit, nut and vegetable production particular to regions in the country. The planting had really matured this late in the season so looked far better than my photographs show.

This is a very new site and event and I look forward to the next show in 2019. The UK was well represented this year by Sarah Eberle and James Basson, both well known Chelsea Gold medal winners. The designs were all to a very high standard and the explanations to long for me to give here so check out the website.

It was so quiet, we had the whole place to ourselves. Make a note in your diary for the next event. 17radicepura_aprile17_creditialfiogarozzo


Mount Etna in the background, an exceptional tropical house and art installations. A good excuse to visit Sicily.

Stay in one of the Agritourismo Sicily hotels, or move around and try a few as we did. https://www.agriturismo.it/en/farmhouse/sicily


Clematis armandii

Clematis armandii

This amazing evergreen clematis is covered in fabulous fragrant flowers. What a wonderful way to start spring. The bumble bees are loving it too. The flowers are really abundant this year and the perfume is really heady in the sunshine. A must have if you have a south facing wall. My poor photographs do not do it justice. Check it out at http://www.crocus.co.uk #spring flowers #garden design #clematis

Is It Nearly Spring?

Is It Nearly Spring?


As the catkins open up and start to release their pollen it looks as though spring is just around the corner. The Hellebores have been in flower for a while and once the old foliage is removed  they look stunning with a real splash of colour. Crocus, snowdrops and daffodils are all in full bloom here too. Thank you to Rich Walker for this lovely image.


These Hellebores were photographed by Susan Rushton at Gresgarth Hall . Stunning examples. See https://susanrushton.net/

Hellebore Day




I visited the gardens and chateaux during a trip to the Le Mans Classic. I was sure that the rigid geometry and pristine appearance would not be to my taste but was still curious. I have to hold up my hand and say that I was amazed. The gardens, first viewed from the chateaux appear to compliment it perfectly. The patterns are truly extraordinary in their perfection and precision. Once out and wandering the various gardens they become quite intimate and contain a delightful array of planting. A strong contrast is now provided by the Sun Garden which uses shrubs and mass perennials in expert combinations that truly please the eye. This is definitely a garden to experience even if your taste is not for formal gardens.




An Allium just getting ready for Sunday 12 June. Open Gardens Event at Ryton TF11 9JJ

12 gardens, Queen’s Birthday teas, plants stall, gnome trail for children and classic cars.

Tickets on sale at the car park. Adults £4.00 children under 12 free. Noon til 5 pm.

A Garden in France

A Garden in France

Just back from a trip to France to work on a Clients’ garden in the Dordogne. I was concerned that the terrible events in Paris may well affect travelling but all proceeded without any delays. Having taken the ferry to Caen so that I could take my own surveying equipment I drove down to Tours for a half way stopover. The sun shone and it was delightfully warm. The willows beside the river Loire still had a lot of leaves on.


The cathedral is in the process of being cleaned and looked stunning in the sunlight. The stained glass windows are worth a look since they are both historic and contemporary.


Stayed the night at Les Hautes Roches which has rooms cut into the cliff wall. It was very pleasant and I would certainly go back for a longer stay.



Stayed at a small hotel in Aubeterre sur Dronne which was close to the site making it easy to head over and measure the site then take levels and soil samples.


After three days of kind weather and the site survey completed I visited local paving suppliers and also a very helpful nursery, ETS Horticole in Aubeterre sur Dronne. Excellent olive trees at a very good price.


Left in torrential rain to head back to Le Mans and stopped at a very good auberge L’Auberge des Roches in Luche-Pringe which we use for the Le Mans Classic. Then a very wet drive back up to Caen and onto the ferry and home.

Times like this I realise that I really love my work……



Garden Visit

Garden Visit

On a rainy day just before I went on holiday I visited the garden of John and Lesley Jenkins, Wollerton Old Hall in Shropshire. John was kind enough to give a guided tour, dodging the BBC filming with Carol Klien.


Formal simplicity  outside the house.

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Topiary and deep herbaceous borders filled with an abundant mix of roses, perennials and shrubs form the garden spaces in the garden. Although a familiar theme the design is so well considered in this garden, the scale of each area seems beautifully balanced. The whole garden works in harmony with itself and the house. At no point do you feel overwhelmed by hedges or planting. The colour combinations show an artists eye behind the schemes. John and Lesley continually review the garden and are not afraid of change. The garden has had several reincarnations to date.

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The garden has a wonderful selection of Clematis and some remarkable hardy Salvia. I could not refrain from a purchase or two! Edward Humphris the head gardener was very helpful with information on both.

Carol Klien

My photographs do not do the garden justice, so if you have the chance do visit.