Let There Be Life

                                                          THE WINTER GARDEN

alternative christmas baubles

SOLANUM Pseudocapsicum planted in pots and containers. Starting as a tiny white flower turning to an orange ball, will add some lovely colour to a sheltered spot in hanging pots or containers.


“Anyone can be a gardener this time of year” a friend of mind once said this to me as I helped her choose some plants for her summer garden. “but the difference is you know how to be a gardener all year round”  These kind and generous words still resonate with me almost twenty years later as I help plan and design outside spaces for others.

No need for the garden to be a dank, grey place to look upon this time of year, there doesn’t need to be a break from great flower displays.  The winter garden, if planned correctly, will delight us just as much as the summer garden and here is a few ideas about how you can achieve this.




Planting Idea: At the end of spring plant snowdrop bulbs in close groups of three to our into the lawn. Space out each group by about six to eight inches covering the entire area. Your reward – a carpet of white covers the lawn from mid January to mid February every year.


Plant in clusters underneath trees or to carpet woodland areas in your garden. They also look pretty in containers, beneath a bay tree or other small tree and will come up year after year.


This plant produces beautiful big flowers, plant outside in abundance to create wonderful winter borders.



frosty winter scene

WHITE HEATHER in a terracotta pot on the patio

Prune winter heathers back to green (never to the woodu stalks)  in spring to produce more flowers the following winter




Pretty as a Picture Patio

pretty as a picture patio

Pick a corner, any corner of your garden and create instant interest and the perfect place to sit and here’s how:


Step one

Take a wall hanging basket and fill it with flowers of your choice, add trailers to the front of the wall hanging basket. They will drop down to meet the main feature plant growing up from the large planter placed below this.

hydrenga and hanging basket


Step Two

Place a large pot of the prolific blooming hydrenga, shown above, or another large pot of flowers or flowering shrub of you choice beneath the wall hanging basket

alium family

Step 3

Add smaller pots, so as not to overshadow the main feature plant, to each side of the main feature pot.  Plant these up with tall growing flowering plants such as this Allium above. These will help cover/conceal the wall/fence backdrop and give you a sense of being immersed in the garden.


hydrenga patio

Step 4

To create another layer add smaller pots to the front of the arrangement.

hydrenga patio and garden


Step 5

Add in your garden furniture, a couple of chairs, a bench, a small side table whatever you have room for.


And there you have it in five easy steps your perfect summer patio planted up. Now you can really get amongst it and enjoy summer on the patio.

Living is easy

painted rocks.jpg


Living is easy when you apply some simple rules…………….  So many of us believe we are lovely, kind nice human beings.  We mainly apply this way of living to our lives, until that is we come across another human being we don’t agree with.  If each one of us applies some simple basic rules to our lives and follow the rules about what we say we believe in I can only imagine the world being a much pleasanter place to live in.

Add some love to your garden by painting some simple messages about what you believe in and pop them into your patio pots placed in your front porch.  Food for thought for every friend or stranger who passes your way.

Flutterby Butterfly


Its nearly the end of November but in the height of the midday day sun I spotted this beautiful creature in the garden.  So not expecting this on a winters day but so delightful to see.





Flutterby Butterfly

Into a field of buttercups

Soak it up

have your sup

Drink it in fill your cup

Enjoy enjoy on an up

Radiate the colour

Pass round the joy

Everything surrounding

Feels like it can fly

Harmony it resonates

And puts us in a higher place








Don’t let the sun go down


We are well into autumn, the days are getting shorter and the colours around have never been more striking. The contrasts between the vibrant colours of the changing leaves and the darker moodier sky captures the imagination..  Keep the colours trooping and add in some pots or hanging plants to enhance the vibe.

Pansies and violas are the perfect plant for this.  They will bloom well into November.

Colourful potted pansy keeping the interest in the Autumn garden
Potted Pansies in shades of autumn


Deadhead (remove faded blooms) if you want to have blooms a plenty during the first weeks of potting.  As the plant starts to loose energy leave the flower heads to die back on the plant. Collect the seeds, after the flower heads fade, from the remaining pod  and replant in a cold frame or in early spring to enjoy their colourful display all over again.

pansy seed head
Faded flower head


Extracted pansy seeds



Teeny Blooming Places

teeny blooming grasses3

Gardening in miniature means that you can create your own garden in the tiniest of space. Even if all you have is a window ledge, or a small balcony you can create your very own miniature garden.

Use household items like left over jars and cartons to plant up small plants and seedlings to create your garden and here’s how

teeny blooming cyclamen

Things you will need


  • Viola’s
  • Marigolds
  • Fern seedlings
  • Mini cyclamen


  • empty household containers (plastic or glass)  coconut shells or a hollowed out piece of wood
  • Potting compost
  • garden string,  twine or craft wire
  • Small stones/pebbles
  • scissors

Step 1  Clean out plastic or glass food containers (once you  have enjoyed the delicious desert), if using coconut shells cut them in half and scoop out the inside (use the coconut to make a delicious Thai or Goan curry – yum)

Step 2  Add a layer of small pebbles to the bottom of the container (you can buy these from a builders merchants, garden centre or collect some of your choice from woodland/beach walks

Step 3  Place ornamental grass {or other seedlings of  your choice) on top of pebbles, hold in the centre and fill container to top with compost.

Step 4  Keep soil moist during dry weather, the pebbles will allow free drainage.  Alternatively top with pebbles instead of layering bottom for decorative effect.

Step 5. If you wish to hang the container you can create holes in coconut or plastic and insert string,  If using glass containers you can tie the string tightly along the  lip edge. Tie in  three evenly spaced pieces of string to form a triangle which you can join together at the top in a loop for hanging.

                               teeny blooming marigoldLayered plastic pot.  Pebbles, soil, ornamental grass.


You can also use glass jars with a rim and add string to hang them up.  The rim will help hold the hanging wire or string you use in place.

teeny blooming glass jars4

These jars  have been planted up with fern seedlings and mini cyclamen – ideal for these tiny planters.  Topping the potted plant with pebbles also adds to the overall effect.

teeny blooming glasss jars2


tiny blooming ferns and marigold    teenyblooming fern and candle

You can also use miniature terracotta pots or hollowed out pieces of wood to plant up small seedlings like this fern and  marigold.  The marigold will bloom giving pretty yellow and orange flowers.



Here I have used an old abandoned  birds nest from last year.  (You must be really careful to ensure these are old/abandoned before using). You could use little gift baskets which can be purchased very cheaply and plant them up with violas and top up with moss (as seen above)

teeny bloominplaces coconut hangers

Half an empty coconut shell tied with string also make ideal hanging baskets for a miniature garden.


teeny bloomingplaces coconut hanger



teenyblooming coke cans


These miniature coke cans make cute containers – why not try growing some herbs inside to add to your miniature garden.


teenybloomngplaces coke can


Yes even if you are short on space you can have your very own garden.  Have fun with your miniature ventures.






Amazing Amsterdam

Amsterdam is one of the prettiest, friendly laid back cities I have every had the pleasure to visit.  In this city you don’t  even need your own outside space to enjoy being outside amongst your very own cultivated blooms.The tolerant nature of the free spirits that live in this city means that you can  just put your bench and pots out on the pavement and enjoy.

kerb appeal





and even if there is no opportunities to fill the pavement well never fear, create your tiny blooming place inside – genius


Attracting birds into even the most urban of streets by hanging feeders…..  in cities where people care and contemplate human existence and the importance of connecting with nature, even the city centres become a haven for plants and wildlife.


Have a cosmic new year

As short winter days leaves gazing at the garden out of the question I realise how much I miss my summer evenings but never fear nature is still providing a plenty.   I find gazing at the sky replaces the garden gazing as mostly it is bright at night and there are so  many interesting things to observe.  Sky gazing inspired a series of paintings which ended up becoming Christmas cards .  Each cosmic explosion naturally inspired a line from a Christmas carol and hence the unplanned Christmas card making began.






How great thou art




Silent night holy night




Then sings my soul




Joy to the world



And to the earth it gave great light


The sky garden has kept me entertained as I await the first snowdrops in the garden in January – I can already see signs as I look carefully amongst what is left of the lawn


Happy new year garden growers – it will all be exploding out there before you know it




Winter Woodland Wonderland

Throughout the winter months nature goes on providing us with inspiration of all kinds.  There is nothing more beautiful than a woodland walk to raise the spirits during the short hours of daylight that winter allows us to be outside.  The woodland also provided me with lots of inspiration for Christmas decorations, making the home feel festive.  I always carry a bag to bring back bits found along the way..  Using  my findings to decorate continues to  inspire  on the days that don’t allow physical connection with the woodland as modern day working life pushes us to connect more with the internet!

Stay connected 🙂








(excuse the arm it was my best angle 🙂 )