Tuesday, August 25, 2009

5.5 Designers Concrete Bench

Exposed at the furniture exhibition in Paris, the garden furniture by the group 5.5 designers has already surprised and enchanted a lot of people. Originality of the material, functionality and the addition of planting, such as rhododendrons, geranium, fougères, ficus, bamboo, creates living seating!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

BBC Gardening Website

New to all of this, and looking for a place to find lots of information, it shouldn't have some as too much of a surprise to me that the Beeb have come up with a super website detailing all the novice gardener needs to know.

Full of information about planting, designs, ethical gardening and growing your own, the site also has downloadable design templates from top garden designers, inspired by Chelsea planting plans, gardener profiles and 'recipes for success'.

The site also boasts a virtual garden, so you can put ideas into 3D without pesky CAD training. All of this is including the plant finder and how to grow your own, a history of gardening and information on how to design your own career. Great!

Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 7-12 July 2009

I'm really excited, I have booked tickets to Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in July! If it is going to be anywhere near as good as Chelsea, I'm sure to have a good time.

From the website:
"In 2009 the heart of the showground is being filled by the major new Gardening Energy feature, designed by RHS Gold Medal winning designer, Sarah Eberle.

Visitors are also able to enjoy two new categories of gardens: The Gardens of the Six Wives of Henry VIII celebrate the 500-year anniversary of the English monarch’s accession to the throne, with gardens representing each of his famous wives; Sustainability Gardens, which aim to inspire visitors who are looking for ways to be more green.

Garden your way to a healthier lifestyle

Grow your own, gardening in a changing climate, healthy living and making the most of your life outdoors are just some of the main attractions at this year’s show.

Bring the taste of the good life into your home with the extensive Growing Tastes feature. This takes you from plot to plate with 14 grow your own exhibits displaying giant garlic bulbs, herbs from around the world and a variety of English as well as exotic fruit and vegetables. Cookoo Box Nursery’s Munch Your Way Through Lunch no-waste display proves that you can even produce a meal from deadheading! The central feature is a family allotment, which is bound to fuel the nation’s appetite for grow your own."

Lots of photos to come - watch this space!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Vertical Gardens

I don't have the time to write about this amazing website, so I am just posting the address for the moment. Check out the Life Wall. "Picking up where the famous French green artist Patrick Blanc left off, the lifewall creates a green vertical tapestry. Plants in amazing drift forms, richly varigated, superbly textured."

Amber Freda

Amber Freda, a modern garden designer in New York, voted "Best in New York" in 2006 by Shecky's Guides, has an interesting take on the Urban landcape New York City offers. "The more time I spend in roof gardens, the more I realize that they are never truly an escape from the city at all. The garden begins to insinuate itself into the greater backdrop of the city it lives in. The tall, columnar shapes of coniferous trees start to resemble buildings, even their staggered heights can be arranged in such a way as to create a living skyline in the foreground that mimics the city’s skyline behind it.

The gardens I design are somewhat paradoxical in the sense that they must at once escape the city and be inspired by it. Reminders of the city are all around us, with skyscrapers peeking out above the trees and railings and reinforcements on the structure of the roof that remind us of the ever-present and intrinsically precarious nature of life in the sky.

In this way, the roof garden is an extension of the city itself. Much like a living shadow, it may be quieter, softer, more mysterious and wild than the thing it is reflecting, but it is inextricably tied to the city as well. A roof garden can never be truly absent from the pulse of the city around it. Its very existence is dependent on the city’s being there as well. The city is what lends shape, character, and context to the garden. Everything that exists in the garden lives in a relationship with the city in some way, and a well-designed garden is ever conscious of this emerging dynamic."

She, and her team have worked for many notable indivisuals and companies, including former Texas governor Ann Richards, Robert De Niro, Ralph Lauren, Barry Diller, Mathias Hermes, Mercedes Benz, and Pfizer. Recent projects include Manhattan roof gardens, a 40’ tall vertical garden near Gramercy Park, courtyard gardens for co-ops in midtown New York, estate gardens in the suburbs, and numerous other private landscapes.

From her website: "My firm specializes in the design, installation, and care of urban gardens, such as roof gardens, terraces, courtyards, brownstones, container gardens, and flower gardens."

Her motivation to create roof gardens is beautiful, and environmentally responsible, as converting roofs into gardens, particularly green roofs, can reduce heat building up in the building, and the notorus 'urban heat island effect', which makes cities notably warmer than the surrounding suburbs. Vertical gardens and Living walls are a perfect for small or dark spaces, as illustrated at Chelsea this year.

Charlotte Rowe

An amazing garden designer, Charlotte Rowe; "offers a full service garden design consultancy to clients seeking an outside space which is both beautiful and functional. From small urban courtyards, gardens and roof terraces to full-scale rural landscaping, we offer a range of services including the development of the initial garden design concept, construction management, planting and garden styling."

After graduating from the Oxford School of Garden Design, Charlotte Rowe and her small team have worked on landscaping and design projects in London, the rest of the UK and overseas.

"Our portfolio of work is not limited to one style but includes a wide range of garden designs from contemporary roof terraces with Mediterranean planting to large country gardens with more traditional planting. Importantly, our gardens are recognised for their strong, clean, architectural lines, lush and luxuriant planting, and elegant styling and use of colour. In particular, we specialise in discreet but effective garden lighting and bespoke water features."

Their work is spectacular, as you can see from the photos of designs below. I love the focus on architecture, water, fire and lighting, as well as planting. It feels as if the gardens are works of art to gaze at and enjoy from a distance, although they are practical, useable spaces to enjoy year after year. Breathtaking.

(Below) Mediterranian Space, Lush and Bright

Sexy Black Decking, Foldaway Wall and Subtle Lighting.

Water Feature and Wood Planters

Fireplace and Fuchia

Magazine Features

Living etc Magazine: Small, Bright Spaces.

Homes and Gardens Magazine: Rooftop Garden.

Homes and Gardens Magazine: Courtyard Garden.

Guess who I want to be when I *ahem* grow up!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Andy Goldsworthy

Andy Goldsworthy (born 26 July 1956) is a British sculptor, photographer and environmentalist living in Scotland who produces site-specific sculpture and land art situated in natural and urban settings. His art involves the use of natural and found objects, to create both temporary and permanent sculptures which draw out the character of their environment.

I haven't looked at the work of Andy Goldsworthy since I was at college, but thinking about garden design, and art and the outdoors, I have remembered why I liked him so much so many years ago. Staying true to nature, being imaginative with the worlds natural abundance, and doing so ethically and, in many cases, temporarily, are all good reasons to enjoy his work.

The dappled light shining through this timber construction is magical, like the most glorious forest you have ever seen. (I have to say, I am thinking of Exmoor at this moment.)