Posts Tagged ‘garden design’

For the love of dog! Prune Dogwood now to get radiant colour in winter.

Dogwood varieties are invaluable in winter, their fiery colours and stunning architectural displays are emphasised by the surrounding dismal weather, bare beds and colourless plants. They truly come into their own over winter taking centre stage in any winter garden design.

Dogwoods aren’t just for Christmas! These vibrant plants need to be nurtured in order for you to get the best of their wondrous winter display. Brighter colours are emitted by new growth therefore strategic pruning allows this plant to re-establish throughout the year, ready for winter.

The ideal time and method to prune Dogwood for a winter spectacle is in late March to mid-April, just before the new growth develops. Cut back almost a third of the stem, we suggest keeping the stems about 5-20cm above ground level. It’s a hardy plant so it can withstand such a harsh prune and has a fast growth rate you can cut into the back rest assured that it will grow back. Take a look at the image below of a trimmed Dogwood hedge.

Take a look at our ultimate guide to Dogwood hedge plants for more information on this colourful shrub.

The Hedging Network: A Focus on Robert Hughes

Here at Hedges Direct, we’re passionate about introducing our customers to reliable, experienced landscapers and garden designers in their local area. In order to pair up our customers with local planting professionals, we created The Hedging Network, which allows you to locate and choose from our database of approved horticultural experts. Having worked with these companies on previous projects, we’ve built up strong, trusting relationships and we’re confident in the knowledge that our quality products are in the hands of professionals. So, now when you see The Hedging Network’s ‘Approved’ badge, you too can be confident that the expertise and reliability demonstrated by your local landscaper or garden designer, sufficiently meets the standards expected of The Hedging Network.

This is the first article in our new ‘A focus on…’ series, which hopes to shine the spotlight on some of our Approved members. To kick start the series, we interviewed one of the founding members of The Hedging Network, Robert Hughes of Robert Hughes Garden Design. A two time RHS award winning Landscaper turned Garden Designer from Cardiff, who is currently living his dream working through a long list of design projects and show gardens. We managed to grab a few minutes with him, in between projects, to gain a snippet into his busy schedule –

 

  1. How did you get started in the industry?

I graduated in Product Design in 2003.  I decided to enter landscaping industry after being inspired by the exciting, architectural and daring designs created by Diarmuid Gavin on Homefront in the garden around that time.  From then on I gained experience by building gardens whilst studying at home in order to achieve my dream to become a Garden Designer.  I established my company in 2008 and went on to win my first RHS Silver gilt medal with my first garden in 2009.

A focus on Robert Hughes Garden Design 2

  1. What does a typical day look like?

Having only recently given up the tools, my days are now much more relaxed. After a cup of tea to start the day and get the brain ticking, I sit at my desk with the views up to the local mountain and let the creative juices flow.  I’m usually juggling up to 10 projects at any one time so I will spend a few hours on one project and leave those ideas to incubate, I’ll then work on another project at a different stage and every now and again I’ll make a trip out to meet my clients to discuss the designs.

 

  1. Which of your projects have you most enjoyed working on, and why?

My most enjoyable project to date would have to be my recent RHS Cardiff show garden, ‘Office box’.  I’m always working towards reaching my goal of exhibiting my own style, having my own personal edge.  This garden is the closest garden I’ve created to date which really speaks of my personal taste and demonstrates my capabilities.

A focus on Robert Hughes Garden Design

  1. What’s your number one gardening tip?

Well I’m more of a hard landscaping expert so I think I’ll focus on that.  A common mistake most people make is using a jet wash to clean the algae from their patios.  This opens up the stones pores and means that the patio will probably go green twice as quick next time around.  There’s some products on the market which help prevent the growth of Algae.  Solve the problem before it arises and keep on top of cleaning off any dust, dirt or leaves to keep those patios looking like new.

 

  1. What are you working on next?

Along with many other exciting projects I’m currently working alongside a local Architect firm to create a contemporary garden which will complement their bold statement of a reimagined 1960’s contemporary house in Penarth, South Wales.  I am also currently seeking a sponsor to work alongside and start making plans towards exhibiting another show garden at one of next year’s prestigious RHS flower shows.

We hope you enjoyed this insight into his expertise. Stay tuned for the next installment in the series, coming in 2016 and head over to our Hedging Network to see what horticultural experts are in your area.

For landscapers and garden designers, if you would like to become an approved member of our reputable Hedging Network, please contact trade@hedgesdirect.co.uk or give us a call on 01257 263876 and ask to speak to a member of the Trade Team.

Greening Grey Britain

Since Easter this year, the RHS have been campaigning to Green Greying Britain and recently, more and more people are joining the crusade to transform our front gardens into sustainable spaces instead of just plain old paving. With over a third of London’s gardens now being completely paved over and many other parts of the country losing their green spaces to concrete, it’s more important than ever to do your bit to get Britain green again.

Earlier in the year, Sean Murray, winner of the Great Chelsea Garden Challenge, had the chance to showcase his idea for a sustainable garden at Chelsea and more recently, Simon Fagg, revealed his Spiralling into Control show garden at RHS Tatton Park. Both garden designers managed to incorporate the objectives of the Greening Grey Britain campaign to create gardens that were both sustainable and functional, without forfeiting aesthetics.

Spiralling into Control show garden

Why Greening Grey Britain is important

Often people forget the part that their own garden plays in the larger environment and so don’t consider the damage that paving over their space can cause. Gardens host a huge range of benefits for the environment, local wildlife and our physical and mental well-being, and as our climate continues to change, we need to do everything we can to protect Britain against the negative impacts of losing our green spaces, particularly in urban areas.

Not only does paving take away all the ornamental value of your front garden but it can contribute to increased temperatures and the risk of flooding. The rise in urban temperatures is triggered by hard surfaces, such as paving and concrete, absorbing heat during the day and releasing it at night, resulting in ‘the heat island effect’ which not only makes it difficult to sleep but also results in poorer air quality – gardens are able to regulate temperatures much more easily. And, whilst turf, soil and plants can all absorb rainwater, paving does not and can cause up to a 50% run off increase into street drains, which often cannot handle this volume of water, resulting in floods.

How you can help in Greening Grey Britain

Many people pave over their gardens simply for practical reasons without realising that there are plenty of options that allow a parking space as well as room for plants, shrubs and turf. Here’s a few simple things you can do to join the campaign to get Britain’s green spaces back:

– Choose space saving plants

Climbers and wall shrubs are the perfect solution to add some greenery to small spaces, and Ivy screens and Pleached trees can provide both ornamental and environmental value, when the need to create a parking space may mean compromising your garden.

– Garden for wildlife

In short, the more plants you have, the more value your garden will hold for wildlife. However, it’s understandable that often space is limited in front gardens, which is why planting a hedge is a great way to encourage wildlife without taking up too much room. Wildlife friendly hedges can provide food and shelter for a variety of different species, including birds, insects and hedgehogs.

– Choose permeable paving

This type of paving, as seen in the Spiralling into Control show garden, reduces the risk of flooding as the permeable materials absorb rainfall, reducing the impact of run off.

By making these small changes to your front garden and incorporating the objectives of the Greening Grey Britain campaign into any plans you have to alter your front garden, we can work together to make sure we don’t lose the green Britain we all love.