Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wellbeing and Water

Whenever I hear the sound of water in a garden I stop and breathe, the effect this has on me is instant.  Whether it be a fountain, stream, waterfall, rippling pond or tiny table top water feature, the sense of restfulness is the same.  In Tuscany water is an issue it most likely will remain so, therefore the use of water in the garden has to be carefully considered.  However with a little bit of wizardry water can be channeled and reused in the garden and need not become a drain on precious resources.  I always try and incorporate an element of water within a garden, classic Tuscan gardens often include a grand statuesque fountain whereas simple more contemporary gardens take a modern twist with simple metal or stone water features. Water connects spaces in the garden and can also act as a focal point or resting space.  Sitting alongside a flowing stream or cascade of water will naturally calm and refresh bringing a sense of well-being to the space.

I recently stumbled upon this amazing artist and am in love with his work.  I will be asking for his input on any larger garden designs as his sculptures are truly breathtaking.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Glorious Gravel Gardens

Well I never thought I would get quite this excited about gravel but actually it really does inspire me.  Gravel is one of the most underused material in the Tuscan garden especially by overseas home owners.  Strangely no matter how much property owners from the UK, USA, Germany and France love classic Tuscan gardens they still want Lawns!  This is often a topic that causes some difficult discussions and heated conversations with our clients.  Lawns are expensive and need a huge amount of yes you guessed it Water.  So at the risk of getting hot under my collar about lawns in Tuscany I'll stick to my original topic 'glorious gravel'.

Gravel can be practical and hard wearing, it can be cost effective and a quick solution for some areas but most of all gravel is an attractive solution. Gravel paths can weave through gardens from space to space, gravelled driveways give a sense of grandeur to a property, gravelled beds keep the soil cool and hydrated whilst also acting as a protective mulch.

Now there are many types of gravel, I favour river bed gravel for ornamental or formal spaces, whereas more angular rough gravels are better suited to sloped driveways where water flow would cause round or bevelled gravel to roll away.  Essentially, if you do the groundwork well a gravel garden will give a relatively low maintenance result.  You will need to excavate, base line with a permeable membrane and then lay a specialist honeycombed product which will hold your gravel in place.

On an aesthetic note, gravel gardens are classic elements of formal Tuscan Gardens and can transform an otherwise unattractive area.  For centuries gravel paths have been used to divide formal beds and borders and they often protect plants from invasion from rampant weeds.  The moisture retained within the gravel allow plants to enjoy a little moisture when the Tuscan Sun is at its most forceful.  So if you have a large but tired expanse of expensive lawn why not consider breaking it up with a few graveled areas.

Please do call me to discuss your ideas on 3345995702

Friday, August 2, 2013

Autumn Garden Planning

So in the midst of the searing heat what better way to relax than plan a little Autumn gardening.  Whilst our days are currently spent mowing and watering and keeping gardens in good shape, evenings are overflowing with lists of flowering bulbs, winter veg, maintenance jobs and reorganisation of beds and borders.  This year I am planning a formal vegetable garden using raised beds and classic decorative formations.  I am studying Gertrude Jeckyll's gardens and will be taking a trip to Castle Drogo in September for more inspiration.  So I encourage all of those planning a garden in Tuscany to well ahead towards Spring 2014 and start ordering spring bulbs and seeds.  There are some great mail order companies such as Franchi or check out the RHS website or the Mediterranean Garden Society for research material. 

Why not create an online scrapbook of ideas on Pinterest too which is great fun and start compiling a monthly check list of garden jobs to do this autumn.