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Rooftop vegplot

by Abigail Willis

The Dutch Caribbean island of Saba is a long way from Fitzrovia but its rocky landscape provided fertile inspiration for Wendy Shillam’s high-rise vegetable garden in W1. Seeing the way the resourceful Sabans raised veg crops in containers or in thin soil on the mountain terraces surrounding their cottages, Wendy realised that lack of cultivatable land need not be an obstacle to growing food on her fifth floor roof terrace in central London.

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Bela'

Hydrangea heaven


Hydrangeas those erstwhile urban favourites are making a comeback. Chelsea 2014 Plant of the Year was Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Miss Saori’ and singer Katie Melua is currently championing the drama, colour and year-round interest of the hydrangea as the Horticultural Trades Association August Plant of the Month.These showy attention-grabbers can require large growing spaces, but whatever your choice, be it mopheads, lacecaps or panicles, Ashwood Nurseries, show you how to make the most of them in the small urban garden.


Dig the City

by Drucilla James

Fashionably dressed young women, aged rocker buskers, glitzy buildings and – mangoes, melons and mangetouts growing in the streets – it must be that Dig the City time of year in Manchester again.


Dine Alfresco

by Drucilla James

Outdoor rooms, particularly dining rooms, are sought-after features of the garden and using some of our favourite products they can now be made as glamorous and inviting as their indoor counterparts. There are even some suggestions on protection from the elements to render them the perfect alternative to eating inside.

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RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2014

by Abigail Willis

If Chelsea is regarded as the haute couture of gardening shows, then Hampton Court is perhaps its more off-the-peg cousin – and that’s no bad thing, because “the people’s flower show” is usually the more useful of the two when it comes to garden ideas that most of us can implement.


Garden Art

by Abigail Willis

Entering the garden of 5 St Regis Close is like stepping into Narnia.True there is no snow (at least not on this broiling June day), and nor are there any fauns, but the comparison is nonetheless apt: one minute you are in suburban Muswell Hill, the next in an enchanted realm, where creativity, imagination and joie de vivre reign supreme.

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Award-winning wildlife garden

by Abigail Willis

When Thierry Suzanne moved in to his house in Forest Gate in 2007, his first priority was to create an alfresco wining and dining area in the back garden, along with a herb garden and veg patch. But, this done, it wasn’t long before a more adventurous plan began to seed itself in his mind. Seven years down the line, that germ has blossomed into a full-on wildlife garden that is as much a haven for birds, invertebrates and amphibians as it is for its human custodians. And it’s not just the local fauna that appreciate Thierry’s efforts – the garden won Best Small Residential Garden in the RHS/Wildlife Trust’s 2012 Big Wildlife Garden competition. Over a cup of coffee and a bowl of blueberries, served in his newly constructed green-roofed gazebo, Thierry explained the journey he and his garden have been on.

Henry James' garden at Rye open

Fan the creative flame in your garden

by Alice Wright

As The Garden Museum celebrates the relationship between gardens and literature, we take a look at how gardens can spark the creative flame.

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RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014: the trade stands

by Drucilla James

What could be more luxurious than the opulent Khora Architectural Dome garden room inspired by the Palm House at Kew? Winner of the Best Trade Stand at Chelsea, this stately pleasure dome of curved glass and steel allows 360 degree views from which to contemplate life, the sky and the universe. Sadly with a starting price of £240,000 the Khora is unlikely to fit every plot and pocket, but if you still want to sprinkle a little Chelsea stardust at home, then try out some of these other sybaritic splendours spotted on the trade stands this year.