Gardenproud Blog

Archive for the ‘Garden Maintenance’ Category

2017 Gardenproud Show Garden opens at Corker’s

Friday, April 14th, 2017

“Contemplation” – A Quiet Space

a garden design by George Sykes of Gardenproud

Fighting our way through our busy lives it’s all too easy

to forget that it’s good to stop, enjoy some down time,

and clear our minds.

“Contemplation” has been designed by George Sykes (23) of

Gardenproud to provide that peaceful spot where we

can relax and reflect.

The Garden features a shallow pond leading to a

sanctuary,  sheltered by two English Oak arches where

you can seek refuge on a comfortable bespoke oak bench.

The stepping stones leading to and surface of the sanctuary

use Italian porcelain pavers.

Your eye is immediately drawn to the iron sculpture,

created by local artist Michael Hart, who designed this piece

specifically for the garden. The sculpture includes a series of vertical panels that have been forged by Michael to create a rippling pattern, echoing the

gentle calm of the shallow ponds surface.

Finally the planting both in the pond and around the garden has been provided by “How Green Nursery” and is designed to reflect the theme, enclose the sanctuary and reinforce the sense of calm. The theme is “white”

inspired Sissinghurst’s famous White Garden.

Plant List:

Pond –

Nymphaea Candida (Dwarf White Water Lily) – White cup shaped flowers with yellow stamens

Beds –

- Pittosporum tenuifolium – ‘Pompom’ – evergreen balls, c 450mm

- Stipa Lessingiana – Feather grass, a hardy perennial, c 750mm

- Allium Mount Everest – A beautiful cream, statuesque allium, May/June flowering

- Agapanthus Africanus Albus- White , July to September Flowering

- Zantedeschia Aethiopica – distinctive white flowers March – June

- Dryopteris Wallichiana – an outstandingly hardy fern, with upright stems covered in brown-black bristly hairs.

- Cornus Alba Elegantissima – Dogwood, flowering May/June, green variegated with white leaf

- Penstemon Pensham – Artic Fox, summer to autumn flowering

- Salvia Nemorosa – Lyrical- White flowering, early summer flowering perennial

- Spiraea Arguta – “Bridal Wreath” – Spring flowering shrub

- Aquilegia Vulgaris -”White Barlow” – c 900mm, spring/summer flowering

- Leucojum Gravetye  – “White snow drops” – spring flowering

- Astelia Chathamica – Silver Spear – Silver green long leaves reminiscent of phormiums, flowering late Spring

- Freesia- Wonderfully fragrant creamy white flowers in Spring

To view the garden in all its glory you can call into Corker’s new show gardens which open to the public from 14th April 2017.

For further information and help with your garden design

please contact Tim Sykes at Gardenproud on 07725 173820,

or email him at reallygardenproud@btinternet.com

Whether you are seeking a contemporary, or traditional solution

we are here to help you. Gardenproud have been established since 2007, and have designed and built many gardens in the Tunbridge Wells area.

We also have a garden maintenance division which has looked

after many properties locally.

We are based in nearby Matfield, Kent.

See Gardenproud on Instagram

Friday, January 29th, 2016

We’ve recently joined Instagram and have the grand total of 30 Followers!

So a long way to go yet.

We are trying to upload new photos everyday.

The above photo features Basil who is one of our regular ride-on drivers, it’s already got a like from would you believe John Deere!

If you are looking for great pictures to inspire your garden thinking, then look no further than Gardenproud. You can see us at www.instagram.com

If you haven’t already signed up you can download the app for i-phone (IOS) , Android, or Windows phone at the above, or visit your App Store on your phone.

Looking forward to having you as Followers soon!

Gardenproud Photo Highlights 2015

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

2015 was an excellent year for Gardenproud.

Lots of new projects for the landscaping division and some previous projects revisited and updated. Which is all good stuff as gardens evolve.

We went to Chelsea and gleaned inspiration from the latest designs, braved the weather and enjoyed the champagne. We’ve started designing and creating garden buildings as part of our landscaping offer. The Maintenance teams  worked extremely hard to cope with the new assignments, and new gardeners joined the team. We look forward to recruiting more team members in 2016.

It is with great sadness to report that Emmett Gilah, who was a regular member of the team, has unfortunately died. He was an industrious chap and good gardener and far too young to die. Our thoughts go out to his family. Thank you Emmett you will be sorely missed.

2015 was a big year for us, as we moved house. We haven’t moved for 16 years. So had forgotten just how stressy and time consuming the whole process is. Especially when you are also trying to run two businesses. So having beautified our last house and completely re-fashioned the garden, we now have a new garden. So watch this space!

Fortunately shortly after moving we had a holiday. Which was a real tonic. Sarah and I visited a number of gardens during our summer holiday. We went to Madeira, which was an eye opener. We went in August, but if you really want to see the flora, I suggest you go in April or May. But do go. It is a wonderful island and it benefits from a sub-tropical climate. Over the years it has had a strong British influence, so the planting is a bit a mixture between those we see in the UK and more tropical specimens. There is a very good book (which I bought) written by an Englishman, Gerald Luckhurst. He is a landscape architect and has designed and built many gardens on Madeira. Sounds like a rather good job!

Back home and back to work on our plans for the new house and various gardens.

So here we are already in 2016. A new house, a new garden, a greenhouse for the first time, some new possible avenues, new projects and new gardens. Oh yes, we’ve got a little more savvy on the media front – we are already on Facebook, we are now on Instagram! I think we have the grand total of 30 followers, so do look us up (my son claims to have 1400)!  I don’t believe him.

See us at www.instagram.com

Enough said, 2016 looks busy, I’d better stop writing and get on with it!

How to create your very own Cuttings Garden

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

Tim Sykes of Tunbridge Wells based Gardenproud,
shares with us some inspiration for our summer gardens……..

Imagine a year round supply of your favourite blooms to display in your hallway, without the cost of buying a bouquet every week?

That priceless fresh aroma and splendid display that welcomes you every time you enter your house.

Well you could be creating your own supply of fresh blooms.


Why not dedicate an area of your garden to an experiment this year?

I was inspired to research into Cuttings Gardens last Summer, having visited Les Jardins du Manoir d’Erignac in the Dordogne.

In the kitchen area of the garden a large bed had been dedicated to a rotational plan of flowering. It was chockablock full of blooms of varying varieties, creating a kaleidoscope of colours and choice for the avid flower arranger. The area Erignac had set aside was quite large, probably c 12 x 6m.


But you don’t need such a large space. Just 3 x 4m would be more than sufficient.

A conversation with one of my gardening colleagues revealed an approach. Jenny who has worked with us for over 2 years has recently created her own Cuttings Garden.



She has been in the horticultural business for over 10 years. She specialises at the moment in traditional, seasonal outdoor crops such as Sweet Peas, Cornflowers, and Ammi. For the past 2 years she has grown almost everything from seed, producing crops from June through to October.

Jenny comments: ” It’s great that there is such a ‘buzz” around British grown blooms at the moment, so come on, leap on the bandwagon and start your very own flower patch!”

So what could you be planting in your Cuttings Garden?


Well here are some ideas…..


Jenny’s plan is based on an area of c 4.5m x 3.5m. It features 4 raised beds (2m x 1.5m each), with shingle pathways between them. If you like vegetables and herbs then by adding two further beds of similar sizes you could have a complete Kitchen Garden.


Her planting list includes:

In Bed 1 – Mostly Shrubs and Perennials, including Sarcocca confuse, Convallaria majalis,Papaver orientalis and Gladiolus nanus


Bed 2 - Mostly Hardy Annuals, including Ammi majus, Calendula officinalis, Consolida ajacis and Briza maxima


Bed 3 - Mostly Biennials, including Digitalis, Eryngium giganteum and Dianthus barbatus


Bed 4 - Mostly Half hardy annuals, including Didiscus, Nicotiana, Sunflower/Rudbeckia and Sweat Peas


It is best to cordon off an area of the garden that is in full sunlight. You may need to incorporate a leaky pipe system, or be prepared to embark on a regular watering regime.

Most flowers are best picked when they are just starting to show colour. This except some plants, such as roses and dahlias, which may not fully develop if picked too early.

For best results, collect cut flowers in the morning when their stems are full of water.

Avoid picking flowers during warm and sunny conditions as they will be water stressed.

Place the stems into a bucket of water as soon as possible after cutting.

Good luck and enjoy the summer sunshine in your garden.

For further help, or information about designing, or creating your own cuttings, herb or vegetable garden contact Tim Sykes on 07725 173820, or see Gardenproud at www.reallygardenproud.com

Your Gardening Questions -1

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

- Do you have any advice about pruning wisterias?

Wisteria should be pruned twice a year Jan/Feb and July/August. With winter pruning you can cut back to within 2-3 buds of the main plant structure.

In the summer prune back the whippy shoots, tie back plant into trellis, cutting back to c 5 buds from main structure. With older plants you can cut back further, removing areas where the plant over hangs windows and twist around drain pipes. For further advice see RHS website.


- What is the best way to deal with bulbs once they are over?

Dead head the flower heads after they have bloomed, then leave the plants. The main strategy here is to allow the plants to put it’s energy back into the bulb for next years growth. After a while the stem and leaves will turn brown, then you can cut back and trim off the dead foliage.

- We have recently had a large tree removed from a bank in our garden. Do you have any suggestions for a shrub to replace this?

Berberis is  a large shrub with deep red foliage and all round year colour. The variety – Berberis “Superba” has beautiful purple colouring. It is a vigorous, deciduous shrub. With new bronze red growth, yellow-orange flowers in the Spring then red berries in the Autumn. It can be used as an individual shrub, or hedge. It contrasts well with green hedge plants and adjoining shrubs. It will grow to 2-3m in height.

For further information, or to ask any further questions please contact Tim Sykes at Gardenproud, you can contact him by email at info@reallygardenproud.com

New Look at Gardenproud!

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

The new Gardenproud brochure is printed and available for you to see.

It features some of the highlights from our recent Landscaping projects.

To get your copy, or for more information about our

Design, Construction or Maintenance services,

just contact us at info@reallygardenproud.com

or, call Tim Sykes on 07725 173820

Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015 – a photo walk through the gardens of 2014 with Gardenproud

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Just a glimpse at some of the gardens we have created, maintained, visited and enjoyed during the year.

Looking forward to 2015.

We hope you all have a very enjoyable Christmas and New Year celebration.

For more information about Gardenproud, our Garden Maintenance, Garden Design and Landscaping services please contact Tim Sykes on 07725 173820, or at info@reallygardenproud.com

Great Comp is GREAT!

Saturday, November 1st, 2014

By Tim Sykes

Great Comp Garden is situated close to Crouch and St Mary’s Platt in Kent. Not far from Sevenoaks.

It’s well worth a visit. You can see more at their website www.greatcompgarden.co.uk

The gardens are open from the beginning of April through to 31st October each year. They are run by a charitable trust, adult entrance is £6.

Great Comp Gardens surround a beautiful 17th Century Manor House. There are various events during the year, so it’s worth checking on the website before your visit. This year hosted a specialist plant fair in the Spring, Open Air Theatre plus, The Great Comp Summer Show, and most recently the Autumn Extravaganza.

I’ve been driving past Great Comp enroute to one of our clients in Crouch for some time now and have been meaning to visit. So last week I used a spare couple of hours to whisk myself around the gardens, then enjoy a nice cup of tea and cake on their splendid Tea Terrace, adjoining The Old Dairy Tearooms.

The gardens are beautifully laid out and cover some 7 acres. With some very dramatic and colourful herbaceous borders, punctuated by stunning ornamental grasses, plus Azaleas, Magnolias, Acers and Rhododenrons. The garden also features many statues and folly’s, plus a more recently added Italian Garden.

While I was there there were an amazing array of Dahlias all out in full bloom, plus the grasses were wonderful, especially as they swayed in the rather pleasant breeze.

A visit during the summer will reveal their large salvia collection. You can find out more about this at www.dysonsalvias.com

Dysons Nurseries run by the Head Gardener and Curator, William Dyson, are situated at Great Comp and sell a select range of unusual hardy and half-hardy plants.

Whilst there I was rather attracted by some smart Peonie frames and climber posts. I’m afraid I succumbed and bought two of each!

Talking to the staff in the Tea Room, Great Comp is always keen to encourage voluntary help in the gardens. To offer assistance you can contact them on 01732 885094.

We will definitely be returning to Great Comp in the spring next year to enjoy their colourful borders.

For further information about Great Comp, Garden Design and Landscaping, or any Garden Maintenance questions please contact Tim Sykes on 07725 173820, or via email at info@reallygardenproud.com


It’s November and what’s happening in the garden?

Saturday, November 1st, 2014

By Tim Sykes

Looking good in our garden at the moment are the Sedum Autumn Joy, and if you have them so will Sedum Iceberg.

Verbena Bonarensis can also still be looking the business.

I love the look of Hydrangeas as the flower heads turn from their full bloom colour to the slightly shabby chick hues. We tend to cut the flower heads off now and use them in doors as flower arrangements.

Our variegated Holly standard looks stunning with its fresh red berries. Even the Dahlias are often still in bloom. The odd rose lingers on through October and November. If you have rose climbers now is the time to prune them. A good guide on rose pruning can be found on the BBC Gardening website.

The trees had a particularly heavy leaf cover this year, so you can expect to have a lot of leaves to clear up this November. We tend to clear the leaves as we go rather than wait for one fall. A good strong blower, a soft plastic rake and bulk bags are probably the best tools to use. You can also purchase rather nifty hand grabbers – Yeoman make a pair around £10 from Greenfingers.com.  Regular clearance of the leaves helps minimise any damage to lawns. However in some instances where the gardens are so vast we have taken to mulching the leaves using our big rotary mowers and spreading the shredded leaves across the lawns. There is a school of thought that this helps put nutrients back into the lawn surface.

Talking of which it’s time to make that final cut of the lawn, then clean your mower for winter storage and servicing.

Typically the best time to be planting out larger shrubs, trees and hedging before the Winter sets in. For inspiration you might take a trip to nearby Sheffield Park, Uckfield, or English Woodlands nursery in Heathfield where you can also buy the plants.

The Autumn is also a good time to be trimming and shaping your hedges, so remember to get the hedge trimmer out, or ask your gardener to check them.

Plant containers and hanging baskets with winter flowering bedding plants including pansies and my favourite cyclamen. The cyclamen looks good in pots, but also can be planted out and will flower right through the Winter. Favourite places are under trees and in rockeries.

Don’t forget to get those Spring bulbs out there.

We’ve bought a whole variety of tulip bulbs to be planted in our front garden beds, and November is the best time to plant tulips.

Our choice for next Spring includes:

Blue Spectacle, which give a beautiful bluey lilac multi-petalled flower head

Little Beauty, a rather delicate small crimson flower

Tres Chic, with it’s distinctive white tuber shaped petals

Queen of Night, that famous black tulip which looks stunning planted in concentrated patterns, often seen mixed with fennel

There are good ranges in most of the local nurseries. We bought ours at Notcutts in Tunbridge Wells.

For any advice or further information about gardening and gardening design contact Tim Sykes on 07725 173820 or, at info@reallygardenproud.com

Remember to wrap up warm, and enjoy November in the garden.


A Spring time visit to Nymans, West Sussex

Monday, May 5th, 2014

By Tim Sykes

Nymans house and gardens is on the ‘must see’ list of many a horticulturalist.

It incorporates a beautiful house and ruins into a romantic woodland setting.

Only 45 minutes drive from Tunbridge Wells, travel via East Grinstead and Turners Hill.

Nymans was the family home of the Messels who bought this West Sussex Wealden retreat in the late 1800′s. Inspired by the woodland surroundings Ludwig Messel set upon creating a garden with plants and specimen trees collected from around the world.

On our list of favourites were:

- a handkerchief tree from China

- a magnolia tree from Japan


- the beautiful wisteria pergola

- a handsome water feature at the centre of the walled garden

- the pieris japonica bordering in the rear rock gardens


- the many beautiful Rhododendron and Azalea specimens that surround the gardens

- the castellated yew topairy surrounding the house

Wherever you looked there were some beautiful vistas:

There was an excellent nursery at Nymans. Among our purchases were:

- beautiful Nectaroscordium Siculum’s - a bulbous perennial with attractive bell shaped pink and green flower heads on long stems of c 1.2m
- Geranium ‘Johnson’s Blue’ – a hardy perennial that grows in clumps, with deep lavender blue flower heads that bloom throughout summer
- Hosta Francee - brilliant white edged leaves are the hallmark of this Hosta which pale lavender flowers appear mid to late summer
- Veronica Ulster Blue Dwarf - a compact hardy perennial with deep purple/blue tall conical flower heads

We visited early May, but we could see from the herbaceous borders that there was a lot of colour yet to spring forth, so late May early June could be a good time to see the garden in all it’s glory.

It was a very enjoyable day out and we can recommend a visit. We plan to go back soon and walk around the house.

If you are a National Trust member then you get in free. Otherwise entrance fees are £10.50 adults and £5.50 children. Don’t take your dog. We suggest you visit early (opens at 10am) as the car park is restricted, then leave by lunchtime ( the restaurant didn’t look brilliant)  and find a good local pub.

On your return trip, pop into Pots and Pithoi at Turners Hill for some real Cretan pots and further inspiration! See more at www.potsandpithoi.com

For further information about Nymans go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Or, contact Tim Sykes at Gardenproud on 07725 173820