Wednesday, 23 November 2011


My mate Deano, right...went to the National Arboretum Westonbirt in Gloucestershire a few weeks ago and here are some of his pictures.  It was a dull, rainy, end of October day but the colour just sings.   If you can only have one tree in your garden why would you want anything other than an Acer?  

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The Palmhouse at Kew

Here are just a few pictures of some of the weird and wonderful plants and flowers inside the Palmhouse at Kew Gardens.  Don't suppose any of use will have many of these in our designs!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Kew Gardens

Yesterday I was lucky enough to be asked to go to Kew Gardens with Year 5 from St. Peter's as a reward for helping around the school.  I was the envy of many because they had load of volunteers for this trip, strangely.  We finally arrived after 3 hours (M25 queued back, so went round the South Circular, had to detour to Sainsbury's at Sydenham for 25 children to go to the toilet, distinct lack of services on the A205!  Put that in your Big Society Dave).

So. we descended from the coach and had a quick march round to the tree top walkway.  Now, not being one for heights I looked up and up (Mrs. Owen the Head Teacher had the right idea "I'll look after the bags down here") and dragged my stiffening legs up the rusty framework that are the steps ("must be corten steel" I kept telling myself).  All of the other children had gone on ahead and I was at the back with a young lad who was taking his time so making my nervousness even more intense!  The view was pretty good for a grey old day and to be able to touch the leaves and trees at that height was quite amazing.

Then it was a quick lunch break before heading to the museum to do a work shop about sustainability of food with Julia (no, sadly not our Julia) and Virginia, and a trip round the Palm House.  It was a great trip and the children behaved themselves very well, a credit to the teachers, and enjoyed learning about plant life.  It was over all too soon but I shall have to head back in the spring or summer to see it in full bloom as I kept dropping behind as I kept looking at the labels on the trees to see what species they were and had to run to catch up!

Now, get the kettle on Willmott!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Chatsworth House Cascade

Have I suddenly become Judith Chalmers with my travelogues?  I've got the hair for it but not the tan though.

One of the reasons for wanting to go to Chatsworth House when we were in Derbyshire was to see the cascade.  Last year as part of our 3rd year degree course, we had to do a conservation management plan for Greenwich Park and one of my proposals was to create a cascade on the hill beneath the General Woolfe statue (its General Morph again!).  I used the Chatsworth cascade as a template and made a Blue Peter style working model to show how it could work in my 5 minute presentation:

Anyway, here are some pictures.

I didn't realise until I was standing beside it that the cascade has a flat paving surface to each part.  I expected to see shallow pools of water that overflowed into the next one.
Each step of the cascade has been designed differently so that it makes a slightly different noise from the previous one, and after you pass each one you can no longer hear it as you are drawn to the noise of the next.

The only pool is at the top near the Baroque Temple or Cascade House.

And finally Esther, the Emperor fountain in the late October afternoon sun.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Art at Chatsworth

Just some of the art installations on show at Chatsworth from a sculpture exhibition called Beyond Limits, some are on sale through Sothebys...if you've got to ask, you can't afford it.