Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Graduation Day

"Looks like we made it..." to quote Barry Manilow.

Yesterday was our Graduation Day at the Old Royal Naval College Chapel in Greenwich, time to don the finery and take our place centre stage.  It was great to see everyone again although it was all to brief.  Those three years of hard work, new friendships and new relationships that will endure for many years to come, I hope, all boiled down to a couple of hours at the Naval College, following in the footsteps of Johnny Depp a year before (filming Pirates of the Caribbean, not getting a degree, although maybe he did...).  

All of the Garden Designers were there and it was great that the seven of us, Adele, Alick, Claudia, Jim, Sue , Susan and myself, who first met around a table in the Design Studio at Hadlow College thinking "what have I signed up for", all passed and all turned up yesterday, along with the others who have joined us along the way, Amelie, Daniela, Aija and Karen (and Grant of course, even if he did jump ship to the Landscape Architects halfway through, congratulations on your special merit award Grant, not bad for an old brickie!).  Most of the Landscape Architects were there also and I hope you all go on to do great things.
 Two old people who just happened to be wandering by.  Someone had to keep the youngsters feet on the ground, didn't they Sue?
 You can see as Garden Designer graduates we are already thinking about form and spatial awareness.
 Then a few more turned up.
 After the ceremony with proof at last.  Thanks to Robert Holden for your congratulations, although I couldn't scamper across the stage quickly enough!
 Trying to do the hat thing, sorry Jim for propelling mine straight into your face.
 That's more like it.
 And afterwards to the Painted Hall for a celebratory drink.
 Some of the Garden Designers with Caroline Jackson one of our favourite tutors from Hadlow who finally got round to finishing her Landscape Management degree, congratulations Caroline, Plant Science with you is still my favourite subject of the three years.
 A Charlie with his Angels.  Thankyou Miss Ford and Miss Willmott for your friendship and support over the last three years, I couldn't have done it without you.
The Chapel on the left and the Painted Hall on the right, rather a grand location for a degree ceremony don't you think, not bad for a south London University.  

Thankyou to everyone at Hadlow College and the University of Greenwich for their support and guidance for dragging me through my degree, if anyone is thinking of a degree in Garden Design or Landscape Architecture, you know where to come.

Now, what's next?  No really, WHAT'S next...?

Thursday, 14 July 2011

I was asked last week by a friend if I would take a look at the border in her front garden with a view to removing it and put something else there.  She wanted it to be much cleaner looking and low maintenance and asked if I could clear the 3 rose bushes and put in a contoured edging with the gravel continuing up to the edging and to use a blue chipping on her neighbour's side.

It was a shame to clear what were clearly old roses but it had to be done!  Then the soil had to be removed.  What was it our tutors told us about soil doubling in size when its removed? My poor little Polo, I had to keep thinking "right that must be about the same weight as 3 people" so I didn't over load it.

Then I put in the edging, thanks to some handy hints from Felix Fat Funk on what to lay the edges in, thanks Grant, I'll be picking your brains again soon I'm sure.

And finally Esther, the gravel was topped up with 20mm gravel to continue from the rest of the garden, and green granite chippings were added to the neighbours side to match those in the rear garden and to pick up on the colours in the block paving.  

Now I need a rest, too much physical work, I'm a designer darling, I shouldn't be lifting and carrying building materials...

Tuesday, 5 July 2011


I took a trip last week down to deepest Kent to buy some plants for the St. Peter's pond garden.  It was quite exciting being the person who had the choice to put in whatever they want into someone else's garden but also nice just to wander around a wholesale nursery without all the tatt that there is at a retail nursery.  I chose some Ligularias, Bergenias, Astilbes and Deschampsia for the swale area as well as some Heucheras and Lavenders for another part of the garden.

They once got 27 people in an original mini and I was beginning to think that I might have to perform a similar feat to get all of the plants into my little Polo!  The plants have all been planted and I will post some pictures when I have them.


 I was kindly given some leeks (along with other vegetables) last year by my neighbour who had too many for his allotment.  So, I duly planted them in a patch in my garden and what with all of the work for my degree and other things forgot to use them.  They then started to develop a bulge at the top so I thought might as well see where this goes, and they produced flowers which the bees love (click on the photos to see them up close, click twice an you can see its proboscis).

For those who don't know, Leeks are Alliums so they produce flower heads similar to the ones you may well see in a garden or nursery, and mine will be staying there until they fall over!