Design Bites


Yesterday, as I walked out into the garden on a glowingly golden afternoon, I thought of the Parable of the Sower.

No, I’m not going to get all religious on you. My family always laughs when I quote the bible, because I am, as Lady Bracknell would say, ‘ quite irreligious’!

But when, as a child, I sat rather unwillingly in church listening to the vicar, I used to look at a large painting pointedly placed just beside the pulpit.

It was a copy of a painting by someone like Holman Hunt or his ilk. You know the kind of thing? An extremely realistic, but idealised and  sentimental painting. A Victorian ideal of an anglicised middle eastern farm worker, flinging seed around. Some fell on stoney ground, some amongst brambles and so on. You get the message.

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With work on our design for the hospice garden in Weston super Mare now in full spate, sensory plants are very much on our minds.

Since, at the request of many of the staff there, they are a key element in the new garden.

Of course the planting plans were completed months ago.

But the thing lives in your consciousness.

So it was that when I was gardening beneath the trachycarpus the other day I was especially aware of its sensory nature.

And it does the lot!

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In a sunken recess

beside a formal stretch of grass

which was once a tennis court

languish these three treasures from the past.

I do wonder when they last moved:  (more…)

As the days crisp up,

the old guy next door begins his endless bonfires of damp leaves

and the sun sinks lower,

the appearance, big time, of the border daisies is a poignant reminder of all we are losing.

The real, reason for showing you this collection was:

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Of course every garden is, in some way, a sensory garden.

But the spiritual healing payback from sensory plants makes them particularly relevant in hospice care.

So a sensory garden features strongly in our designs for Weston Hospice in Weston super Mare.

Yes we know it doesn’t look very healing yet!

But, big projects take time to implement.

Particularly in the planning, finance and tender stages.

However….the good news is….

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Restoration and renovation in Bath, UK aka ‘Jane Austen land.’

We are mostly asked to design or redesign gardens, in a way which usually changes the hard landscape features quite dramatically.

In this case, we were quite clear from the start that this would not be the case, although the resulting changes were in another sense structural.

The clients quite definitely knew their minds.

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I overheard two pasty-eating builders lounging outside Tesco Express the other day:

‘She’s tidy,’ said one laconically to the other, glancing across the road.

I followed his line of vision and saw a short skirt, vertiginous heels and blonde hair.

Now, maybe I have led a sheltered life, but I had never heard that expression used for that purpose before!

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