Saturday, 16 April 2011

Spring at Great Dixter

This week I went to see a garden that is weeks ahead of mine!! Being at Great Dixter reminded me what a huge difference there is between Sussex and the North; here we have trees just starting into leaf, there I saw a bluebell wood full out under hazel coppice. The journey back on the train was like seeing the progression of the seasons in reverse.

What a joy it was to visit Dixter. I felt so at ease there, so relaxed, lulled by the washes of colour, the unpretentious and happy mixture of bulbs, perennials, annuals, shrubs, trees, topiary, wood and stone. The tulips were at their best, here subtle combinations of purple with silver foliage of cardoons, there jazzy orange with blue. There is such a sense of playfulness and exuberance in the way it is planted, Christopher Lloyd's spirit infusing the place, yet not static like a historic garden that remains stuck in a planting plan and never changes.

I loved the use of aged, silvered wood, tall poles to support honeysuckles, or to grow clematis behind espaliered fruit trees as in this photo. The wooden staves have sagged and settled like a ship, split lenthways providing gaps that ladybirds can overwinter in, giving a rhythmn and patina to the dry wood.

I came home inspired and dissatisfied with my own garden at the same time!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Lovely Amdega summerhouse

Our lovely Amdega summerhouse has been the perfect place to get out of the cold March winds at the tail end of a winter that just seems to have gone on and on... It is painted a soft, pebble grey, like the colour of collared dove's feathers, a colour that fits harmoniously with the plants around it; on one side is a collection of greyish hostas, on the other (not yet filled out) are pale yellows and blues from eryngiums, roseroot, coreopsis and an unusual lemon coloured clover.

The roof is made of cedar shingles, tightly fitting together, which age to a lichen grey. They give a lovely scent, woody and evocative, and the evening light comes slanting in from the west through the pretty windowpanes. I love the way the roof line flicks up gently at the eaves, a subtle piece of design. It is hand made from Western Red Cedar which is known for its durability and resistance to warping and shrinking - very necessary to cope with the sort of winter we have just come through! All in all, it is a thing of beauty as well as being a restful place to sit out of the wind.

For more pictures of Amdega summerhouses go to and here is a press release from Amdega below -


Indoor living, outdoors

Handmade, cedar summerhouses from the world’s oldest supplier of bespoke conservatories

AMDEGA, the world’s oldest maker of conservatories and orangeries, launches new summerhouses for 2011.

Part of the quintessential country garden for generations, and more and more an urban retreat from the pace of city life, summerhouses are the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors whatever the season.

The new summerhouses from Amdega feature eleven different designs made to the highest standard, each with their own unique detailing that can be adapted for a variety of purposes including a tranquil home office, inspirational studio, gym, or even a den for the kids.

Split across two core ranges, ‘The Chelsea’ and ‘The Hampton,’ customers can choose the design, colour and size that reflects their own individual style and matches their home and way of life.

The ‘Chelsea’ range, the more luxuriant and traditional of the two, bears Amdega’s signature style with distinct features including high cedar shingled roofs with elegantly cambered eaves and original hand leaded lights made from individual panes of glass.

The ‘Hampton’ range offers more contemporary designs with functionality, ease of installation and durability at the forefront of their design. Each model offers clean, contemporary lines incorporating Georgian style window panes, cedar slatted roofs and double doors.

With a reputation built upon delivering the highest quality available in the marketplace, Amdega has chosen the finest materials, working closely with its in-house team of craftsmen, from joiners to glaziers, in the creation of the new products.

With this in mind, each of the new summerhouses are hand-crafted from Western Red cedar and other sustainable timbers, offering customers durability and protection against adverse weather conditions which can often lead other woods to shrink, warp or twist.

In line with the launch of Amdega summerhouses, the company is also launching a new website focused entirely on its summerhouse range.

Amdega summerhouses start from £2,760 and are available in a range of colours and decorative stains including Slate Green, Zinnia Red, Nigella Blue, Walnut, Mahogany and Maple (Amdega’s exclusive Botanical Colour Palette).

For more information on Amdega summerhouses please call 0800 980 0797 or visit