The Yeo Valley Organic Garden

by Abigail Willis

As the UK’s only Soil Association accredited ornamental garden, the Yeo Valley Garden is a standard bearer for organic gardening. But if the adjective ‘organic’ attached to the word ‘garden’ conjures worthy images of over-abundant weeds, undernourished plants and lacklustre design think again. Set in the Mendip Hills, overlooking the valley that gave its name to the eponymous organic dairy brand, this 6.5 acre garden is proof that organic cultivation need not preclude ambitious design, a diverse and thriving plantscape, or a sense of humour.

Avondale Nursery:Plants for city gardens

by Drucilla James

Avondale Nursery specialises in unusual perennials and grasses together with ferns and bamboos, and features The Library Garden alongside its plant sales area. As you would expect with a library, the garden’s collection is meticulously labelled and catalogued, but beyond that, the colours of these living leaves are mixed and graduated with a painter’s eye – unsurprising when you find that, before they created this nursery, Brian Ellis and his wife Steph worked in art and printed textiles.

Piet Oudolf: Hauser & Wirth Somerset

by Abigail Willis

London, New York, Paris and, er, Bruton – it may not quite trip off the tongue yet but the art world’s latest destination, Hauser & Wirth Somerset, has been creating quite a stir since it opened in July.And while there’s plenty to keep art lovers happy here, the gallery’s latest acquisition, a pair of specially commissioned gardens by prairie-planting maestro Piet Oudolf, will be a major draw for those who also have an interest in cutting-edge garden design.

RHS Flower Show: Malvern.

by Drucilla James

At Malvern, we begin our valedictions to the year’s gardening events. But the array of pinks, oranges, bronzes, deep purples and reds that the nurseries have on offer, means we can all go out in a blaze of autumn colour at this fag-end of the season.

“Love the Plot You’ve Got”

by Drucilla James

Put off by the extravagant designs of garden shows? Never visited your local garden centre? Got a small back yard in town that’s become something of a dumping ground? Aged between 30 and 45 and lacking the inclination, money, knowledge or time to get interested in gardening? Then the gardening industry has you in its sights and is determined to show you that with a little TLC and relatively little cost you can transform your cramped, neglected back lot into a place to be proud of and perhaps become a life-long gardening enthusiast at the same time.

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 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.

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.