After dripping steadily for two days, the hot tap in my bathroom basin abruptly came on full blast of its own volition and seemed intent on staying that way! A rather terse interchange with the plumber established that the tap’s condition was terminal.

 There is little to be said for having to buy new basin taps. This is especially the case when only one doesn’t function, the design is no longer available, and they only have one of the new pair you want! 

But a frustrating trip to  the nearest trading estate was eased by the sight of a display of clipped shrubs.

The following photos effectively link in with a couple of earlier pieces on how public spaces are designed and gardened – see ‘garden reviews and shows category’ for these, dated 11 Aug and 10 Sep 2009 respectively. 

Amidst the collection of bland and soulless prefabs, clipped evergreens sing out a definite statement of shape and mass. They catch and reflect light, cast dramatic shadows and carry you along this side road. At this end, a sharp variation in height and volume adds interest. Further on there is insufficent variation in height and what impresses is simply the mass of drum forms.


As it widens the whole becomes quite a strong feature. However,  it is not as such a design. Rather it is a maintenance – orientated resolution of pre-existing material. Evidently it works for them or they would not be doing it. But its potential for interest and drama is very clear below:

While there are signs of a responsiveness to shape and mass here, they are essentially primitive, pre-birth pangs. And like many a pregnancy it would have been wise had it all been thought through from the begining!

There is insufficent variation in height throughout, insufficient apple green laurel in relation to the grey green cotoneaster and a clear  unresponsiveness of Buddleia to this sort of treatment! It would be interesting to bring the apple green right down to the front in places and to weave swirling lines of colour, height and shape through the mass to achieve more sense of movement. A limit of say five species, with different attributes, would be desirable.

 This would then take what has arisen through maintenance into a completely new league. Imagine if the planting were actually on a slope, how stunning it would look.

One can of course expect some eco –  chunterings about ‘insufficent food for wildlife’ and ‘the fuel emissions required for the clipping’. Hey guys, go get a life. This is just a few metres of trading estate in Ashton Gate, Bristol. 

But it enlivened my morning!