How many times on holiday do you think ‘this feeling is wonderful-I will remember this and things will be different in the future’?  But, so often, once home, the feeling  is lost just as soon as you pick the post up off the mat! 

Oddly your garden is one place where it could just hang on. After all, we think of ourselves as being revived by a different landscape, so why not also our gardens? There are things that you could take home for your garden. Not plants and seeds, though that is certainly possible as long as they are expressly not taken from the wild. More I am thinking about what you see in the landscape that inspires you.

I have just returned from a week’s R & R in Pembrokeshire. Under design partner’s orders to take time off, I was also escaping ‘The Family Christmas’. But once there….well….the problem is that your job as a garden designer is visual and here I was in visual heaven.

What entranced me so?


North Pembrokeshire has a deeply fissured coastline.


Offshore islands have a mysterious allure


Secretive aquamarine inlets lead into countryside studded with outcrops of rock


 Breakers roar into bays heaped with silvery shingle


 At high tide sinister caves boom and glug beneath you


The wind torturously bonsais thorn bushes.


Ferny valleys contain the simplest of planting components


Harmonious colour combinations of dead bracken, heather, sunlit sea and grass.


In ivy clad ruins there are poignant traces of past lives


Mysterious standing stones make striking focal points


Richly textured walls lead your eye around


The fitful winter weather brings light and shadow to the landscape

Of course, I have actually just listed some of the key components of good garden design. What is more it is all there in its simplest form.

I recently got into trouble in blogland for waxing lyrical about simple evergreens on Bristol streets, but I am unrepentant. The best of design is always this paired down and simple.

Of course, these ideas do not necessarily feed into the design process immediately-in fact it is good that they do not! That would most likely result in  mere pastiche. So clients need not fear us recommending a cave or a bonsai thorn bush!  The mental processes involved in design are actually rather more subtle.

It was inspirational, but where it will lead me creatively, who knows?

Oh dear! I will be in trouble with design partner for failure to switch off.

Will therapy be needed?