Category Archives: Garden Design

Jobs in the garden in February

If you are lacking scent in the garden plant a flowering shrub now – try Lonicera x purpusii or Chimonanthus praecox ‘Luteus’. I love the scent of sarcococca by a front door as the scent assails you as you approach. It can be quite heady but at this time of year you just get a passing whiff!

garden design Lincolnshire

Cut back summer flowering clematis to about 18 inches of the ground to encourage them to come back into leaf and create a great display later in the year.

garden design rutland

If you didn’t put them in last Autumn, plant garlic, shallots and onions. They need a cold spell to get them moving so if the soil is unfrozen now is a good time to plant

If you’re lacking some structure or garden features now is the time to tackle it. February is a good month to dig a pond, add a bird bath or sun dial or create new paths. Avoid treading on wet soil as this compacts it and damages the structure. If you have to work on open soil, lay down planks to spread your weight – old scaffold boards work well for this.

garden design Oakham

Remember keep tidy – rake and clear leaves to keep pests down, especially slugs

 

I work on interior design and garden design projects in Stamford, Lincolnshire, Oakham, Uppingham, Rutland, Oundle and Northamptonshire as well as further afield. I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

If you have a project in mind and would like to have a chat please give me a call: Alison 01572 747318 or 07973843020

 

Interior and Exterior designers work together

It’s that time of year again, when all the big guns come to London to see the latest interior launches at London Design Week. This year’s show looks set to be as exciting as ever with some sumptuous new launches from the many fabric houses now located at Chelsea harbour.

This year the organisers are showing just how closely linked Interior design and Garden and Landscape design are linked and garden designers Thomas Hoblin is profiled. His views on how interior and garden designers can compliment each other is reassuring. It’s coming that we have been doing here at Alison Hutchinson Design for some years.

We work on interior design and garden design projects across Lincolnshire, Rutland, Leicestershire and Northampton. If you have an interior or garden project in mind and need some expert help and advice then please get in touch. Tel: 01572 747318 or 07973843020.

I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

Industry profile: Thomas Hoblyn. From Decorex

Thomas Hoblyn

Garden designer Thomas Hoblyn developed his passion for plants in the West Country were his family lived and farmed for generations. He went on to hone his horticultural skills at Hadlow College and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. During his time at Kew, he won a scholarship to study wildflower communities in the south-eastern United States where he spent 10 weeks knee deep in bogs being attacked by various forms of wildlife. On his return to England in 2002, Tom set up his landscape and garden design company Thomas Hoblyn Garden Design Ltd and has been working on commissions that are as geographically diverse as they are varied. Last year, he won the People’s Choice Award at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

How did you start out in the industry?

I was trained and ready to take over a family farm in Cornwall when I discovered that playing with plants was far more interesting. I worked my way up to being a head gardener of a small estate in south Devon and applied to train at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew as a means of escaping my tyrannical boss.

Thomas Hoblyn

What’s been your proudest career moment to date?

Winning the People’s Choice Award at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012. As a designer, I try to create beautiful spaces that people will enjoy. And while it’s great to receive acknowledgement from your peers, those accolades often come from ticking various boxes. The People’s Choice Award on the other hand, means that I successfully achieved my aim.

Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?

Initial brainstorming of a new project and overseeing the planting phase, in other words, creating a vision and seeing it come to life.

What do you love the most about Decorex?

It’s a unique opportunity for me to get a sense of developments in the interiors industry and to mingle with like-minded individuals. Garden design is starting to gain wider recognition as a crucial element of both residential and commercial developments, and as this happens it’s important that our two industries work closely together.

Thomas Hoblyn

What do you think are the benefits of exhibitions? 

To see what’s new, particularly where materials and finishes are concerned.

Do you find interior trends influence garden design? If so, how?

It depends on the scheme. I think it does so more for contemporary design – especially stone finishes, lighting and pots. Our style is more traditional and the property tends to dictate what trend one should follow.

How do you collaborate with interior designers when coming up with garden schemes? What are the biggest challenges?

On large projects, we are often part of a design team that is headed by the interior designer. It is important to share ideas and get their take on the client’s wishes at the conceptual stage of a project. Interior designers often look at situations differently, which can be very valuable.

There is a big grey area between inside and out and it is important to recognise that both parties will have input for a successful outcome. The biggest challenge is when clients want to design the interior themselves. Otherwise: interior stone versus exterior stone choices and exterior lighting seem to cause the most debate.

Thomas Hoblyn

What are your top tips for ensuring cohesion between the garden and the interior style of a property?

1.     A good relationship between the two designers

2.     A working knowledge of each other’s profession

3.     Early brainstorming together, if you have the fortune of beginning a project at the same time

4.     Establish a hierarchical system if necessary

Who or what inspires you?

At the moment: mossy, ferny, lichen-y weathered rocks found on the West Country moors – each one a work of art. I’m just trying to work out how to use them in my design without upsetting the flora. Also, the Pre-Raphaelite exhibition at the Tate was life-changing stuff.

If we could give you an extra day per week, what would you spend it doing?

An extra day in my beloved walled garden would be bliss – we were nearly self-sufficient in a few fruits and vegetables last year, and an extra day would improve my chances.

Thomas Hoblyn

Where do you live and why?

A small rural village in Suffolk. We fell in love with the house and garden without a thought for the practicalities of the important things like work and children going to school. Fortunately, there are good links to London and the schools are very good.

Can you tell us a bit about your own home and garden?

Our home is a 16th century farmhouse with an imposing 19th century addition on the front of it, in a rural village near Bury St Edmunds. The garden is 2.5 acres and surrounded by wetland – so very wild with lots of wildlife. We have a (crinkle-crankle) walled garden and greenhouse, orchard, wildflower meadow, streams, ponds, natural swimming pool and woodland barely kept under control by myself, my wife, a small flock of Shetland sheep, chickens, ponies and, on the rare occasion, my four children.

Thomas Hoblyn

What are you working on at the moment?

On the restoration of Hillersdon House, Cullompton, Devon. The 1849 house was designed by Samuel Beazley in 200 acres of parkland. The interior designer is Guy Goodfellow and we both have the brief of making a period country house work in a modern day environment. I’m designing rhododendron walks, restored pleasure grounds, a deer park, lakes, a sculpture park, an arboretum and a working walled garden – it’s heaven.

Anything else you’d like to share?

All of our London projects involve creating a bigger house by excavating beneath the gardens – essentially turning the garden into a roof garden. The long-term effect of this trend worries me.

Garden jobs for November

Now that the clocks have gone back it gets harder and harder to think about doing jobs in the garden. Take advantage of bright sunny mornings and do just a few key tasks to keep on top of jobs.

General tidy up

While the soil is still warm and damp, move and plant shrubs and herbaceous plants

Pull out sweet peas and beans remembering to leave roots in the soil to add nitrogen

Make sure you sweep up leaves from the lawn and borders or they’ll provide perfect places for slugs and snails to overwinter. This has been a bumper year  for slugs keeping on top of garden hygiene is all important.

Prepare the greenhouse for winter, clean the glass, bubble wrap if necessary, ensure your heater is in good working order.

Prepare for next Spring

 

Plant bulbs now to give you an impressive display next spring.  If you want a natural look, throw handfuls of bulbs directly onto the lawn or soil and plant them where they fall. In borders opt for large clumps of bulbs – you’ll get a much better display. I always plant tulip bulbs in groups of 5 or more – you’ll find that if you plant them in clumps of 12 – 15 tulip bulbs then it will allow enough for you to pick a few for a vase in the house next Spring without it being obvious.

Think about planting a new ornamental tree – now is the time to pick what you want to come bare root  once the season has started, usually towards the end of November. I still have my eye on a Liquid amber to add interest next Autumn but as I’ve been concentrating on the house this year I still need to find a space for it.

 

Now is the ideal time to plant Japanese yellow onion sets and garlic. My favourite garlic supplier is The Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight. www.thegarlicfarm.co.uk

 

I‘ve also added some glass cloches over herbs which I’d like to pick through the winter, grown in this way herbs like parsley will provide you with fresh stems throughout the winter.

If you have a garden project in mind and need some garden design advice or help with planting then please get in touch. I work on garden design projects across Lincolnshire, Rutland and Northampton. Tel: 01572 747318 or 07973843020.

I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

 

 

Garden jobs in October

For ‘tis the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, but
what is there for gardeners to do this month? Here’s my latest update on what
you should be getting up to in the garden in October

This is my favourite time of year. I know I should love summer
with its heady mix of annuals and perennials making borders look like a Monet
painting but for me, spring and autumn are my favorite times of the year. I
love the moment the soil awakens in Spring and up pop all my autumn planted
bulbs. I love the way new seeds uncoil from the ground pushing clods of earth
aside. In autumn I love the mists, the glistening cobwebs, watching spiders
spin their way from plant to plant and birds stealing the last seeds from spent
seed heads.

General gardening

While the soil is still warm and damp, lift and divide
herbaceous perennials. Replenish the soil with well-rotted compost (and with
plenty of coarse grit if the soil is heavy clay). Replant the strongest, outer
pieces and water well. It’s also a good time to buy and plant pot grown plants,
and shrubs, they will get their roots into the soil while it is still warm.

Pull out sweet peas and beans remembering to leave roots in
the soil to add nitrogen. Sow sweetpeas now for early flowering next year. They
benefit from the winter shelter of a cold greenhouse or frame. Sow 5in deep
into long root trainer pots (or loo rolls) and cover with glass or polythene
until seedlings break through the surface. Keep in cool, light conditions to
prevent weak growth and thin out as they grow pinching out the tips to create
strong bushy plants.

Move tender plants indoors or under glass.

Bring squashes and pumpkins into cure – they develop a thick
skin which makes them keep better. On dry, bright days put them out in the sun
but if there is a chance of rain leave them undercover or on a bright
windowsill.

Mulch, with a layer of compost, around the base of any
tender perennials to protect from frosts.

I’ve noticed some box plants in pits are looking a little
yellow right now so have fed them with a liquid feed high in iron. Sequested
iron is used for camellias etc but can provide the nutrients needed to green up
leaves on yellowing plants.

It is still warm enough to use nematodes against vine
weevil  if you get a move on. I’ve just
had an email from a client telling me hers arrived in the post this week. Water
around the plant well first and then water the nematodes into the soil,. They
will eat the vine weevil grub which does so much damage munching its way
through roots so plants eventually die.

Roses

Shorten any long lanky stems on shrub roses to reduce their
vulnerability to the wind. Floribunda roses that have finished flowering for
the year may also be given the same treatment. If not completed earlier, i.e. just
after flowering time, rambler roses can have flowering stems removed and new
stems tied into position.

Herbs

Place a cloche over a row of parsley, to keep up supplies
over the winter. Tired plants may be encouraged – give them a pick me up with a
gentle application of nitrogen fertiliser.

Prepare for next Spring

Plant bulbs now to give you an impressive display next spring.
If you want a natural look, throw handfuls of bulbs directly onto the lawn or
soil and plant them where they fall. In borders opt for large clumps of bulbs -
you’ll get a much better display. I always plant tulip bulbs in groups of 5 or
more – the more the better as it means you can pinch a stem for a vase next
spring without the group looking bereft!

Think about planting a new ornamental tree – I have my eye
on a Liquid amber to add interest next Autumn and to provide fabulous scent
when I crush it’s leaves.

If you have a garden project in mind and need some garden
design advice or help with planting then please get in touch. I work on garden
design projects across Lincolnshire, Rutland and Northampton. Tel: 01572 747318
or 07973843020.

I will design a garden to complement the architecture of
your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you
are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and
paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a
handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing
rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

 

Gardening on an Olympic Scale

Friday sees the opening of the 2012 Olympics Games and giant Olympic rings are springing up all over the UK. By far the most effective representation of the iconic Olympic symbol is the enormous rings mown into the grass at Richmond Park’s Nature Reserve in London.


 
The Royal Parks, who devised the five-ring spectacle to be visible on the Heathrow flight path ready to welcome athletes and visitors to the London 2012 Games, employed their six Shire horses to create the display. Two of the horses, who regularly cut the verges in Richmond Park, will be maintaining the rings during the Games and with regular trimming the 300 x 135 metre symbol is set to become even more defined over the summer.

Now is the perfect time to visit local woodland and parks to see the local flora, butterflies and moths which are enjoying the long awaited spell of summer weather.

If you have a garden, interior or landscaping project which you need help with or ideas for then please give me a ring: Alison 01572 747318 or 07973843020.

I work on interior design and garden design projects in Stamford, Lincolnshire, Oakham, Uppingham and Rutland as well as further afield. I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

Walk on the wild side

Autumn is one of my favourite times of year. When ever I’m designing a garden for a client I love to add some seasonal interest for autumn and winter. If I can’t make a garden look good in the summer I wouldn’t be doing my job, but giving a client interest in the Autumn, especially in a small garden can be quite a challenge. For me it’s all about form, texture and colour.  Leaves can be beautiful and a vase filled with foliage from the garden can create an amazing centre piece even without the flowers.

 

Enjoy my walk on the wild side of gardening

 

Autumn colours

 

And textures

 

Add interest to a garden

 

Add some fairy magic

and a sprinkling of fairy dust

And who could resist

 

Walk this way

If you have an interior or garden and landscaping project or a design, build and renovation project which you need help with or ideas for then please give me a ring: Alison 01572 747318 or 07973843020.

I work on interior design and garden design projects in Stamford and Rutland as well as further afield. I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

 

Inspiring you to garden

Sometimes we need some garden inspiration to make us think differently about our own gardens. Over the summer I visited the show gardens at the International Garden festival which is held in the beautiful grounds of the chateau of Chaumont in the Loire valley, France.

Views through one of the gardens to the Chateau

 
 The theme for 2011 is Gardens for the future and many gardens dealt with the need for biodiversity in our living landscape. There was a number of gardens raising the alarm about the number of species we are losing each year and the much about educating the public, not just on the need to grow more of our own and to generally garden more but of the need to think about energy use in the garden too.
 

Emphasising the fertilityof bulbs

Handle with care: takes the theme of plant loss

Creating our own energy for the water feature was a popular passtime

Conserving water was a key theme

As was the need to encourage wildlife

The take away garden envisaged a world where every citizen had a tree in a bag to look after

And materials were recycled to create structure within the garden

If you have a garden or landscaping project which you need help with or ideas for then please give me a ring: Alison 01572 747318 or 07973843020.

I work on interior design and garden design projects in Stamford and Rutland as well as further afield. I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

How to find a garden designer?

What does a garden designer offer that you can’t work out yourself? Designer Alison Hutchinson assesses some of the benefits of using a professional garden designer.

You wouldn’t dream of trying to create an electrical diagram of your house without consulting a qualified electrician, so why do we think we can design our gardens better than a professional can. For many the mere thought of the costs of employing someone to redefine their outdoor space is a huge hurdle but it needn’t be as costly as you imagine.

East Ruston Old Vicarage, Norfolk

Create design impact with strong visual effects

If you compare metre for metre it can be the least expensive room in your home. It can even save money in the long term by ensuring your money is spent in the best way and avoiding costly mistakes. Having a designer to draw up detailed plans can ensure any problems are smoothed out before any work begins and allows you to budget more accurately.

One of the key things a garden designer will do is to make you think about the way you use the space. You may need a lawn for the ubiquitous football goal now, but in 5 years the boys might have grown out of it and you can use the space for something else. A garden designer will understand all this and plan your garden accordingly so that what works for you now, will, with a few tweaks, continue to work in the future.

Topiary at East Ruston Old Vicarage, Norfolk

Using topiary can define a space

They’re used to manipulating space and will understand the growth rates of individual trees and plants so that you plant the garden once and get it right

It’s important that you chose a designer who you can work with. Check out their credentials, look at examples of their work or ask them to take you to a recent garden. You’ll also need to think about how much time you’ll spend working in the garden so the garden you have designed matches your expectations.

It’s also important to be honest about what you can afford. A professional designer will aim to design within your budget but you are likely to get a very different garden in terms of materials used, features

Water feature at East Ruston Old Vicarage, Norfolk

Water features can add an element of surpirse

incorporated and bespoke craftsman designed pieces if you’re spending £10,000 as opposed to £5,000. And it’s not true that given a budget every designer will exceed it – most will want to give you the best garden you can afford so be honest and help them design to your budget.

I believe that every space can be comfortable, relaxed and beautiful without you feeling pressured to be perfect.  I would love to help you achieve your beautiful home. If I can help with a home or garden project please give me a call. Alison: 01572 747318 or 07973843020.

Local Designer now on our doorstep

Many of you will be familiar with Alison Hutchinson’s gardening columns which we have featured in Rutland Living and our sister magazine Stamford Living for almost 10 years. Alison trained in garden design at Reading University and after running a successful interiors store alongside Belton garden centre, opposite the National Trust’s Belton House in Grantham, she bolted interior design onto her successful garden business. She now offers a complete service for the home and garden.

Alison has recently moved back into Rutland, buying a property in Morcott, so we asked her about her recent house move and what she has in store for the home and garden.

We are still in the early stages of our move but I have a picture in my head of what our new home will be like when I’ve worked some magic upon it. My interior style tends to be a mix of traditional styling with contemporary touches thrown in. I love to mix antiques with contemporary furniture and lighting. If they are mixed in the right way then some of the absolute bargains to be picked up at the antique centres and auctions can make a real statement. I’m trying to resist the desire to create a real ‘country living’ style interior but opt for clean lines and some colour. I’ve spent 10 years living with neutrals and now feel I want to add some colour – I may even paint all my cream furniture dusky grey – a colour I think will be a trend over the coming year.

We have inherited a lovely garden with a mature walnut tree but I want to add some real structure to it. There is no sense of the space being divided and instead you can see the whole garden if you stand at one end. For me secret spaces and hidden seats make a garden feel more spacious. I’m a great plant collector: I can’t do minimalist but instead opt for large blocks of plants which I then repeat throughout the garden. This helps to create a feeling of continuity and keeps maintenance down. By planting deep borders filled with plants you reduce weeding as the weeds don’t have a chance to get established – a technique I use in many client gardens. If gardens are planted like this they can be low maintenance but also be filled with life and colour year round.  I love autumn and spring – my two favourite seasons – so I like to have some colour at both times of the year so I can tempt people to come out and enjoy the garden.

I’ve also left a very productive vegetable garden at my old house so getting that re-established is something of a priority too. And then I need to leave time to brush up on my sailing skills – being so close to Rutland water it would be criminal not too, don’t you think!

To book an appointment with Alison telephone her on: 07973 843020 or to see examples of her work visit www.alisonhutchinsondesign.co.uk

The above article was appeared in Rutland Living.

Planting by the moon

No I don’t mean that you have to don your wellies in the dark but there is a big movement that believes that planting in tune with the lunar cycle has a real benefit on what you grow. I’ve been testing it out and although not entirely scientific (in fact my evidence is not at all scientific but don’t tell) there does seem to be something in it.

Mature fruit trees add real impact to this Rutland garden

With this in mind today was the day to plant fruit trees. Does anyone need an excuse really? Think of all that luscious fruit in the years to come. My favorites are espalier trees as they make it so easy to pick fruit once the tree is mature and take up so little space. I have a desire for a goblet pear tree, maybe when the new garden is on the drawing board I will find space to fit one in. Until then perhaps a step over apple will have to do.