Monday, 14 October 2019


Our modern meadow has been shortlisted in a national garden design competition.

The Society of Garden Designers Awards for 2020

See feature in Homes and Gardens Website

and please vote for us if you feel this garden deserves to win the 'Peoples Choice'

A career goal, personal achievement and a fantastic warm glow to be nominated as a finalist in a national garden design award. Thank you SGD judges for choosing our garden.

We were luck enough to be finalists last year: Jewel Garden in Kensington, London and a Small Garden in New Barn, Kent and so are super chuffed to be back in the final this year, although we now have to wait until the awards evening at the end of January 2020 so keeping everything crossed.......

So what's different about this garden?

This garden is a little special - I collected the brief from my husband who is mad about wildlife,  interested in insects, moths and butterflies, he runs a moth trap in the summer months to identify and monitor activity and spends most of his weekends out in the field, birdwatching.

I checked in with SGD office to ensure the rules allowed the submission of my own designed garden rather than a clients for this years submission.

Client Brief - Requirement to attract bees, butterflies, moths and birds with a simple layout, a meadow, immersed in nature, and a shady border below the kitchen window.

Include: Wildflowers, native hedges, gaps for hedgehog movement, a solitary bee and insect hotel, spring bulbs, bird boxes, hedgehog homes, log piles and drinking bowls for birds and mammals.

What did I do?

“nature's doing its best in this garden, a bee and butterfly nectar pot with a simple layout of grey sawn sandstone and  quartz paddle-stones offering hiding holes for insects. All knitted together with a meadow mix with bold clipped yew buttresses"

Modern meadow garden includes pops of spring colour followed by a subtle native mix of meadow flowers and grasses in summer. This garden is a sanctuary, to escape those busy days, watching the butterflies and bees busy at work, adding a much loved sculptural insect hotel as a focal point viewed from the lounge and kitchen window.

Environmental Contribution
What have we achieved?

Encouraging Butterflies
17 butterfly species have been counted visiting the meadow:
Small Tortoiseshell
Red Admiral
Painted Lady
Meadow Brown
Small White
Green-veined White
Orange Tip
Large White

Speckled Wood

Holly Blue

Common Blue
Small Heath

and lots of Moth's 
including Elephant Hawkmoth and Privet Hawkmoth

Garden Birds come in for a drink and the nest boxes placed throughout the garden have been a great success, birds nesting include: Tawny owl, Blue and Great Tits, Robins, House Sparrows, Wrens, Blackcaps, Goldcrests, Bullfinches, Magpies, Jays, Dunnocks, Long-tailed Tits, Song Thrush and Blackbirds.

Slow worms have been found in the compost bins, grass snakes in the meadow, hedgehogs, foxes, badgers, rabbits, grey squirrel, wood mouse, common shrew, long eared bat, pipistrelle bats, toads, frogs and smooth newt also spotted.

What have we planted?

We plug and seed every year to improve diversity. Plugs include wild carrot, Ox-eye daisies, Red campion and most importantly Yellow Rattle.

Annual seed Mix
Corn Marigold
Common Poppy
Corn Chamomile

Perennial seed Mix
Wild Carrot
Bulbous buttercup
Meadow cranesbill
Kidney Vetch
Lady's bedstraw
Meadow buttercup
Musk Mallow
White campion
Ox eye daisy
Yellow Rattle

We have common spotted orchids, last count 13. We delayed the cutting this year, allowed the cuttings to dry out and hopefully maximised on seed dispersal.

I add bulbs every year including some native species, some long lasting Ballerina Tulips and alliums

This is a demonstration that a garden does not need to look incredibly well maintained with stocked borders and neat lawns, I'm allowing nature back in, I'm encouraging the pollinators in, I'm rewilding.

Why is this important?

We have lost over 90% of our wildflower meadows in the last century. I have been nurturing this patch of meadow and working on its diversity to help moths, butterflies, bees and insects. It's our mini nature reserve. 

I have included nest boxes, feeders and water bowls for the birds.

How did we start?

With a meadow seed mix, beech whips, yew rootballs and inexpensive birch standards with a borrowed landscape

Here's our movie

We have recently completed the compost area where we often find slow worms, adding additional herbaceous planting, a sprinkling of chamomile seeds and Nigella this year.

I have also planted berry food in the hope to find a Waxwing one day ...
Hawthorn hedge 

special thanks go to 

Clayton at Quest Landscapes who laid paving and built quartz walls and steps
Darrin at UTDSL who fabricated our logstore
Meadowmania - meadow seed
Palmstead nursery, Provender Nursery and How Green Nursery for all plants, shrubs, native hedging and birch trees

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

meadow making re-post

Greencube's own Meadow Study

Meadow Making re-post 

Here in my own garden, just outside the studio window we have worked hard creating a meadow. 

This is our view from our workplace and I wanted an uncluttered, dreamy space that frees the mind to enable us to work without too many external influences. 

The garden has been scraped to remove all nutrient rich top soil leaving a sandy sub-base which was sprayed with a glysophate weedkiller to eradicate - nettles, couch grass and other weeds.

We have sown two types of meadow seed and we are currently enjoying the following:

Annual Seed Mix
Corn Marigold's
Common poppy
Corn Chamomile

Perennial Seed Mix

Wild Carrot

Bulbous Buttercup

Meadow seed supplied by really wild flowers

There are over 20 other species of meadow seed to germinate and grow through the season, so I'll take further photos and record the success (or failure) of each.

We have seen many butterfly visitors including:

Red Admiral
Meadow Brown
Small White
Orange Tip
Large White
Speckled Wood
Holly Blue

The hardscapes are a repeat from those used in the front garden:

Sawn and sandblasted grey sandstone, butt jointed for a minimalistic, clean look and quartz paddlestones used for walls and step risers. The trellis is a linear softwood painted in grey to tie in with the windows of the house and studio and hides the composters.

Our super, comfortable, modern furniture made from black steel and polyester rope.

The garden is framed by a mature Laurel hedge (Prunus rotundifolia) and Beech (Fagus sylvatica). There are a series of yew (Taxus baccata) cubes planted in the meadow, to form structure and contrast to the meadow, influenced by my many visits to the late Christopher Lloyd's garden at Dixter.

The shade border is planted with sculptural Dicksonia antartica with climbing Hydrangea petiolaris and underplanted with Hakonechloa macra, a simple and bold combination.

The main terrace appears to float in the meadow, I have not mown a path to it yet. It's a great place to sit, rest and contemplate.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Our Movie of our completed garden in Blackheath

Garden Design by greencube
Garden Project Monitoring by greencube
Hardscapes by Quest Landscapes
Planting by greencube
Aftercare by greencube

Thursday, 1 August 2019

hoverfly - midsummer - visitor

The enchanting but often overlooked hoverflies are out on the fennel in our dry border. Great pollinators. We think the first image is a Syrphus ribessi

This dry border contains lots of self seeding plants including Cephalaria gigantea, Foeniculum vulgare, Verbena bonariensis. The ornamental grass in the background is Calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster'.

Its a wonderful border full of movement, I'm keeping a look out for a Hummingbird Hawkmoth, not seen one this year in our garden.