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Posts Tagged ‘gardenproud tunbridge wells’

Eridge Horse Trials 2014

Monday, July 7th, 2014

A couple of weeks ago we trialled a little experiment.

Can we make a show garden in 2 days?

The Eridge Horse trials was beckoning. This has in the past been an international event attracting intermediate riders across a 3 part course including dressage, show jumping and cross country.

For further information about events see  South Eastern Equestrian Services at www.seesltd.com

The Event is set in the delightful grounds of the Eridge Estate, owned by the Marquess of Abergavenny.

The horse riding fraternity are of key interest to us, as are the residents of Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding countryside, so what better way than create a lovely garden for all the visitors to the show to enjoy!

A very generous Tim Nolan, who incidentally organises the Trials with his mum, helped give us a big enough space and prominent enough position, to put us in front of our audience.

Thanks Tim!

So the test was on. A design was needed. Equipment, materials and plants were required. A design in hand and a couple of conversations later, and Tate Fencing and The Flower Pot Nursery, both based in Tunbridge Wells were on-board.

A BIG thank you to both of you!

The concept looked like this….

Essentially the show garden/stand revolved around a centre-piece – a nice (quintessentially English) open marquee, bordered by matching trellis panels and cottage garden borders. As a real crowd puller two giant terracotta pots contained two beautiful Ilex Crenata’s.

The Planting Plan included:

- A palette of Purples, Blues, Whites, Pinks and Lilacs

- Plants including……

Agapanthus

Verbena Bonariensis

Euonymous

Hydrangea Macrophylla

Echinacea Southern Belle

Lava Terra Barnsley

Lavender Augustifolia Edelweiss

Delphinium Highlander

Veronica First Glory

Veronica Fascination

Veronica Spicata

Achilliea Millefolium

Ceanothus Burkwoodii

Persicaria Superbum

Buxus

Thalictrum Delavayi Splendide

Geranium Orion

Cosmos

Stachys Lanata Byzantia

Campanula Lectiflora

Cistus Dansereaui

Salvia Amistad

Salvia Caradonna

Salvia Patens

Nepeta x Faassenii

Stokesia Laevis

With the plans under our arms we started to gather all the materials then set upon setting up the stand on the Thursday before the Show. We had 2 days to turn this into a reality……

We hope you like the finished result.

The whole experience was inexpensive, thoroughly enjoyable and created a surprisingly healthy list of enquiries, including cementing some good relationships with trusted suppliers.

So we’ll do it again!

For further information about our design, build and garden maintenance services contact Tim Sykes on 07725 173820, or at Gardenproud.

Magnificent! I don’t need to go to Chelsea now!

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

What a lovely thought!

But that was our dear client’s reaction was when she returned from holiday recently.

She found her Tunbridge Wells town garden transformed from the grass bank it was, to the contemporary space that she can now enjoy with her friends and family.

The new garden was designed by Tim Sykes from Gardenproud. A modern and tranquil space with interesting features and terraced planting, plus entertaining and relaxing areas designed to mask the natural topography, and create the illusion of a much larger garden than the town location affords.

“The basic design concept uses a series of offset rectangles, that both interact and interrupt each other, plus are layered. This helps create different points of focus and different compartments within the garden, ” comments Tim.

Even the rather swish terraced pond reflects the concept.

So does the bespoke pergola that now frames the pastel blue painted Lutyens bench.

First things first, the terrace was enlarged, so that it now accommodates a large table and chairs for at least 8 people in two possible locations.

Cedar strip panelling was used to help accentuate features and create vertical blocks.

The grassed area features two offset oblongs that leads the eye round to an interesting mirror.

This feature reflects the terraced planted up platforms on the opposite side of the garden.

Here is planted what will become a grouping of buxus balls that will eventually merge to form a cloud formation.

“The terraced pond was a labour of love!” states Sykes. “We wanted to create a slate clad vision that contrasted with the adjoining cedar and oak materials. But slate was potentially a problem from a frost perspective, so we eventually went down a route that used  slate coloured and textured porcelain tiles. A lot of research later and we found the perfect finish. Thank goodness!”

A textured slate strip forms the basis of the outer walls, and a riven traditional slate tile is used as the copings.

The whole garden, including the workings of the pond, all run off a clever wireless remote control system that has become the hallmark of Gardenproud gardens. “These days it’s important to be able to use the outdoor space in the evenings as well. So we try wherever possible to incorporate lighting with schemes and create zones that can be illuminated in isolation, as well as fountains and other water features that can be remotely controlled. It can all contribute to some quite dramatic results, and reasonably green too as they employ LED low wattage fittings, or bulbs. “

The planting plan also played a major role in this garden. A colour palette featuring blue, lilac, purple, white and of course various hues of green was featured throughout. Gigantic lilac alliums helped create a linking theme between different areas, bamboo columns form the basis of what will become the rear wall of the garden, a salix half standard tree links with planting of euonymous, salvias are repeated in different places in contrasting colours. Miscanthus sinesis flamingo sits among giant verbena bonariensis. Beautiful white agapanthus frame the black steel obelisk that tops the upper terraces. And behind this a wall of white jasmine will adorn the trellis background.

Two beautiful wisteria will eventually trail over the contemporary pergola. A border of lavender softens the link of the pond with the lower terrace.

Anyway, whilst our client may not feel she needs fresh inspiration from our Chelsea peers, I always do!

So I’m looking forward to my trip tomorrow to London to the Chelsea Flower Show 2014.

I’ll see what I can pick up and incorporate in our thinking for 2015!

For further information about Garden Design contact Tim Sykes at Gardenproud on 07725 173820, or via email info@reallygardenproud.com


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

Visit Sissinghurst Castle Gardens this April

Monday, March 17th, 2014

By Tim Sykes

It was interesting to watch on BBC’s Countryfile recently the feature about Vita Sackville-West and her upbringing at Knole. As the daughter she unfortunately didn’t inherit Knole but with her husband Harold in the 1930′s she went onto buy Sissinghurst Castle and began a transformation of the gardens. Harold mainly planned the garden structure, whilst Vita turned her attention to the planting schemes.

Today the house and grounds are looked after by The National Trust. It’s only a short drive (half an hour) from Tunbridge Wells, along the Biddenden Road, near Cranbrook.

The gardens are open from 11am – 5.30pm. The Castle and Grounds are surrounded by a working farm, ancient woodlands and parkland of c 450 acres. The house dates back to the Middle Ages. It was bought by Sir John Baker ( one of Henry V111′s Privy Councillors) in 1530, when it was greatly enlarged by him and his son.

The Castle and Gardens are well worth a visit and during April are bursting with colour.

A brilliant vantage point is to climb the Tower and see the structure and beauty of the garden, then plan your tour accordingly. You will see from the Tower that the garden is split up into a whole series of rooms, all with their own unique planting schemes.

The Lime Walk is among my favourites, but you must spend time in The White Garden. The White Garden was originally planted as a rose garden in 1931, but later altered in 1950. Vita referred to it as her grey, green and white garden. There is no escaping the brilliance of her focus, and the end result is a captivating space, that’s very romantic.

For a good lunch, nearby Biddenden is a picturesque Kentish Village with pleasant pubs. Alternatively stop off at Goudhurst on route. I’m reliably informed that The Vine, Goudhurst has just undergone a restoration and offers excellent fare. I must treat myself to a visit!

You can see more about Sissinghurst Castle and Grounds at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sissinghurst-castle

Further details about The Vine at Goudhurst can be found at www.thevinegoudhurst.com

For further information about Gardenproud please contact Tim Sykes, on 07725 173820,  or via email at info@reallygardenproud.com


My Heart’s in the Garden

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Hey it’s February and it’s time for love!

What better place to enjoy this but in the Garden! But it’s obviously very wet and windy at the moment so make sure you wrap up warm.

A few searches on the internet revealed some great shots of hearts in the garden.

If you haven’t already ventured onto the Pinterest website then do so www.pinterest.com and it will help you discover a whole world of ideas.

Here’s an easy one you can buy yourself, a Heart shaped topiary frame. Buy it with a box hedging plant (or two) then watch it grow. You then painstakingly demonstrate your love, as you snip away at the box, so that it turns into a beautiful living feature of your garden or conservatory.

Hey Presto!

These wonderful frames are available from www.Primrose.co.uk for the reasonable price of £33.99  and a couple of box plants will set you back about £6.00.

A small price to pay for love in the garden!

So no excuses, get out there now and create your very own Valentines Day surprise for your loved one!

For further information please contact Tim Sykes on 07725 173820, or contact Gardenproud at info@reallygardenproud.com

See us also on Facebook – Just search for Gardenproud, or key in www.facebook.com/gardenproud

Windy New Year brings havoc to Tunbridge Wells

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Winter Garden Repair Service

If the storms in October and leading up to Christmas weren’t enough, the bad weather has continued to reek havoc in Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding countryside.

Even last night another tree in our road – a Scots Pine fell foul of the winds. I was stopped by one of my tree surgeon colleagues who was trying to reduce the tree so that it didn’t collapse onto a nearby house. Part of the problem is that we have had a period of sustained rain, so the ground is very wet and soft, added to this trees have taken a pounding over a number of weeks, so are likely to be less secure. Strong gusts can therefore uproot them.

Many customers are reporting broken fences, garden walls, gates and garden buildings damaged by falling debris and trees.

Fortunately most of the big oaks had shed their leaves before the latest storms. So from what we can see, the trees that have been badly affected by the recent weather, are predominantly evergreen, with conifers, scots pines and cedars among the major casualties.

Just as we were leaving for a Christmas break the storms wipped up on December 23rd and by the morning a fresh crop of  trees had become victims of the high winds. We had a narrow escape ourselves, as a tall pine next door uprooted itself and came crashing down on their front garden, narrowly missing their house. A lovely Christmas present for our neighbour.

If you have any tree, or collateral damage from the storms then call us today, on 07725 173820.

At Gardenproud we offer a full Winter Garden Repair Service. It might be a broken fence panel, or post, a shed roof that needs re-surfacing, a garden wall that needs rebuilding, a patio or paths that need re-pointing, just call us on the above number and we will be happy to provide an estimate.

Happy New Year – Happy New Garden

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

I can feel a wave of enthusiasm for the garden as 2014 is finally upon us!

Lots of plans for our garden, including sprucing up the rear garden beds, tackling a wall of ivy, which has been beckoning for sometime and repairing the gravel board edges to our pathways.

It’s a good time to tackle the latter two items right now!  In fact, if you have any repairs you need to carry out in the garden, eg. broken fences, shed roof replacement, pathways, new composting systems, new trellising etc., it’s an excellent opportunity to get these out of the way.

We also have some plans for our front garden this year.

After some design and hard landscaping undertaken during 2013, we now want to turn our attention to planting up the front garden.

We made a lot of progress last year……

From this……

To this…….

There’s still a little bit of hard landscaping to finish, which we will endeavor to complete in January and February.

Then it’s onto the planting plan. I’ve already prepared some outline plans for this and we replanted a section of the beech hedge in November ( using bare root beech hedging plants from English Woodlands, with Miracle Grow planting compost).

We also planted four gorgeous trees, two Prunus Cerasifera Nigra ( a dark red leaved flowering Cherry ) – very pretty.

Photo: with thanks to RHS.

Plus, two Liquidambar Styraciflua (Sweet Gum). These trees resemble large acers, and have bright green maple like leaves that turn a striking orange/red and purple in the Autumn.

Photo: with thanks to RHS.

We’ve made a start on the planting, but we need to finish this off, otherwise my name will be mud!

So watch this space!

Apart from getting the garden into good shape, January is a great time to gain some inspiration and make plans.

If you are a keen gardener you may like to consider taking out a subscription with RHS for their monthly magazine – The Garden. It’s £4.25 an issue, but well worth it!

In the January issue, Tim Upson puts a spotlight on some of the less well –known plants that look great in the winter garden. These include Ribes Laurifolium, Edgeworthia Chrysantha, Cornus Officinalis, and my favourite –Rhododendron Dauricum. This latter plant is semi evergreen with small leaves, tinged purple in Winter. It has beautiful, white funnel shaped flowers that appear late Winter. Further information about The Garden magazine can be found at www.rhs.org.uk

Another publication I find inspiring is The Garden Design Journal, published by The Society of Garden Designers. You can Google more about it at www.sgd.org.uk

One of the article’s I spied in their January edition is the preparation for Capability Brown’s 300th birthday celebrations in 2016. You can see more about these at a new website that’s just been launched

www.capabilitybrown.org With over 100 surviving examples of his work you can visit, it’s well worth signing up to the website’s advance news and updates for the celebrations.

In the meantime, if you are looking for inspiration in the winter garden, here are a few places you could visit:

Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Audley End, Essex www.english-heritage.org.uk

Painshill Landscape Garden, Surrey www.painshill.co.uk

Bedgebury Pinetum, Kent www.forestry.gov.uk/bedgebury

Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Enjoy January in the garden and Happy New Year!

For further information contact Tim Sykes at Gardenproud, on 07725 173820

It’s nearly Christmas and what’s going on in the Garden?

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Is there a gardening angel in you?

If so don’t forget to feed the birds this month.

With all the preparation for the Christmas festivities it’s all too easy to forget who’s braving it out there and what’s going on out in the garden.

If you haven’t already done so then get the fleeces out and protect the more vulnerable shrubs. Some examples to look out for are bay trees, tree ferns, cordylines, olive trees, in fact any of the less hardy shrubs in your garden.

Remember to rake up the leaves from the grass. If you haven’t done this already there are probably a lot, especially following the storm of 28th October.

If you are lucky enough to have a greenhouse then give the plants and seedlings a water and remember to ventilate on warmer days. You can also clean and prepare all the seed trays and make ready for sowing the spring seedlings.

December is always a great time for indoor plants, including Hyacinths and Poinsettia. In our house the Hyacinths always adorn our upstairs landing window sill, they look and smell really super. The Poinsettia give a warm festive welcome in the Hallway.

Other thoughts to help lift the spirits include planting out a couple of smart pots close to your front door. Looking good could be miniature Christmas trees,  or small box pyramids surrounded by a sea of cyclamen. Make sure you fill the base of the pot with small rocks, or broken old pots, then create a mix of potting compost and topsoil. Water the plants before you pot them and remember to water them once they are in situ. It’s always satisfying to come home to a bright welcome, and your Christmas visitors will also appreciate this.

A couple of years ago we test marketed the idea of creating real live Christmas Wreaths. I really dislike the cheap plastic imitations, so don’t fall into this trap. You can easily make your own. They look so much more inviting. To start with you can buy inexpensive conifer based rings from most garden centres, or flower shops. These come in different diameters and the conifer cuttings are usually held together in a moss and wire frame. Go for this variety as they will last longer and keep the ring damp.

Then select your embellishments. If you’ve got a well stocked garden a few items such as pine cones, holly sprigs, berries, ivy, dried fruit, fresh flowers, cinnamon sticks held in place with some thin green wire (or a heated glue gun) will look a treat! If you haven’t got access to these, you can usually buy similar items at Hobbycraft, or your local garden centre. It’s good to keep it simple, so maybe have a theme. Think about where it’s likely to go. If it’s a red front door then something that contrasts and has red in it, will always look good etc, etc.

Anyway have a go.

Christmas wreaths look smashing on front doors, above hallway and lounge mirrors, on outside trellis, even on the potting shed door!

For further information about Christmas Wreaths, Logs for your fire, or woodburner, or any gardening advice for 2014, contact Tim Sykes on 07725 173820.

Have a super Christmas and New Year!

So Spring is nearly with us. What’s going on in the garden?

Monday, March 18th, 2013

By Tim Sykes – March 2013

As we approach Spring the bulbs start bursting through and for many of us this is the signal to focus on getting the garden sorted for the Summer.

In reality looking after the garden is a year round thing. But after the dreariness of the winter those daffs coming into bloom are a great moral booster and really help to re-engage us!

Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party” – Robin Williams

I can’t believe it, it’s March already and 2 months have passed since the festivities of Christmas and the New Year.

If we are all agreed it’s time to party, what should we be focusing on in the garden?

-       If you haven’t got the mower serviced yet you need to get it seen to, just getting the blades sharpened will help ensure that you achieve a nice cut.

-       You need to prune the roses before the buds burst into growth.

-       If you’ve got any patches of lawn that are looking sad then now’s the time to sow some fresh seed and apply a dressing, or re-turf sections.

-       If you haven’t already done so then prepare your borders, removing any old weed growth and dead foliage and apply a mulch or well-rotted manure. This will help add nourishment and suppress fresh weed growth.

-       Prune back any climbers such as clematis before they get going.

-       Choose and plant out your Summer bulbs and sow the seeds of your herb garden (in particular Basil, Coriander and Parsley).

-       Plant out any new perennials.

-       If you have a fruit section in your garden then now’s the time to plant the raspberries and strawberries.

These are just some of tasks that spring to mind, but please let me have your thoughts and contributions.  Also feel free to fire any gardening questions at me and I’ll do my best to answer these for you in the next edition. This is my email address    reallygardenproud@btinternet.com

Flowers to look out for in March include; Daffodils, Primrose, Hellebores,  Cyclamen,  Crocus,  Hyacinths, Dwarf Tulips, Violets and of course Bergenia Cordifolia (Elephant’s Ears).

Enjoy the awakening of your garden this March.

For further information about Gardenproud’s design, landscaping or garden maintenance services please contact Tim Sykes on 07725 173820, or at info@reallygardenproud.com

February – What’s going on in the garden?

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

So what’s going on in the garden right now? Here are a few tips……

- Wrap up warm!
- Watch the weather forecast for frosts and keep your less hardy shrubs wrapped in fleeces
- Cut back ornamental grasses
- Prune back shoots on Hydrangeas
- Prepare the borders for planting
- Consider aerating the lawn late February
- Get your power tools and mower serviced
- Order the Summer bulbs


Probably one of the simplest but most effective demonstrations of the value of lawn aeration.

It’s at times like this that we can also see the impact of the Autumn and Winter months on the garden. The lack of foliage often draws our attention to problems that need addressing. It might be a broken fence panel or post, a shed roof that needs resurfacing, a patio or terrace that needs repointing, broken walls, lawn edging, decking surfaces that require cleaning and recoating, pathway and driveway repairs, or broken garden or water features.

Now, while the garden is still relatively dormant, is the best time to address these issues.

Flowers to look out for in February include; Snowdrops, Hellebores, Violets, Winter Jasmine and of course those early Daffs.

I hope you enjoy February in your garden.