Plants have a certain life span along with all living things, but many mature plants can be given a new lease of life with careful pruning. This is particularly important when a plant is in a focal position in the garden, or has a personal significance for you. Some plants may be rare enough to deserve renovation even if the result is not perfect. Many plants will try and renew themselves, but choking old or damaged growth may prevent this. It is important to know which shrubs will flourish after a hard prune, and how and when to carry out this renewal pruning. The results are often suprising; with new vigour, a plant which has not flowered in years can be transformed into a mass of blooms!
Incorrectly pruned plants may cease to produce flowers or fruit; there are also risks of introducing diseases into the plant. I can prune plants on an annual basis, organise and supervise a tree surgeon for large trees, or teach you how to maintain the plants yourself.
Every plant has a natural, 'correct' form; the shape which will give the best foliage and flowers, longevity and general health. It is important to know what a plant should look like, coupled with knowing when and how to prune the plant to shape. Sometimes we choose to prune a plant to a shape of our own design! There are however still certain rules to follow if the plant is to flourish.
There are many variables in costing a pruning job; will you dispose of the green waste, or will it need to be removed from the site? Is a tree surgeon required? Do you have a few currant bushes or an acre of shrubbery? The best thing to do is get in touch, and I'll come and give you a competetive quote!
Design and planning
I am frequently asked for garden advice, help with planning a garden or advice on plants. This may be simply
' What am I doing wrong, this plant won't grow!' or may involve regular visits to talk through and demonstrate the necessary seasonal tasks. A 2 hour visit may be enough to set you on the right track, but more in depth planning or garden designs are also available.
Planting plans, garden design for self-build
Smaller gardens or where you are happy to do the work yourself but just need some help on starting the project. The borders may be simply overgrown and need a face-lift, or you have a new garden which is bare and uninviting. A family with young children will have different needs for their garden than a retired couple. Do you need to combine a productive vegetable area with somewhere to kick a football and a seating area for a relaxing glass of wine? Or is your large garden becoming too much effort to maintain and you need to reduce the cultivated areas?
I can help you make the best of your garden, using the following options;
- A site visit to establish what you are hoping to achieve and to discuss the practicalities with you
- A short-survey; looking at the site, rough levels, aspect, drainage, soil condition
- Specialist pruning to retain and renovate mature plants
- Advice on structures which make garden maintenance easier or the garden more accessible
- Planting plans appropriate to the site and useage
- General garden design and plans for you to work through
- Sourcing of plants
- Schedules for 'which job first', maintenance and seasonal tasks
All these options are competitively priced and will save you wasted time, effort and costly errors. It is said that
'Any fool can dig!', but I would add that a wise man takes advice on where, when and how to dig - and thus makes a better job of it!
As an initial consultation, I offer a (generous!) 2 hour site visit for £50 in a 15 mile radius, plus diesel costs beyond that, with a follow-up written report on the areas discussed. This is often enough for a small garden but can also form the base plan for future consultations.
Large-scale plans, garden design for contract-build
Large gardens and estates need an overall plan to ensure a cohesive design, connecting structures and landscape. The design should be durable, taking a long-term view, and also be flexible, allowing for future changes. At this level of planning, an architect is often involved and various specialist contractors from plumbers and electricians to masons. For these designs, I work with Imogen Cox.
Imogen and I met whilst studying for degrees in Landscape Architecture a decade ago. We quickly found that we have complimentary skills, with a wealth of practical knowledge underpinning the theory. Imogen is an accomplished artist who can also lay paving or build a wall, and inform on planning permission! I focus on plants and 'soft' materials; their propagation, uses- food, flowers, willow structures - and cultivation. We thus combine hard landscaping and plant based design, for gardens of all sizes and functions.
Our brief is simple; To use our abilities and experience to design the best possible garden for each individual.
Our joint approach adds many layers to the garden design; materials from ethical sources, recycling wherever possible, organic, appropriate planting for the site and project.
The process will vary in each case but typically includes the following;
- Discussions to establish how you would like the garden to change
- Site visits and surveys
- A concept design, the first ideas, which can be altered or developed in accordance with your views
- A final design, on which the contractors will base their costs
- Technical plans, for example specifications for terracing or a watering system, or a planting plan for orchard or herb garden
- Sourcing of landscape materials, structures, plants
- Supervision of hard landscaping work and preparation of planting areas
- Planting-up the design
- Maintenance schedules
Imogen lives in Wiltshire and is thus ideally placed to work in any direction!
She has also just moved house...but her artistic skills are as good as ever!
Click on the link below for more information;