Archive for March, 2012


River Stone

March 27, 2012

2.jpgIt makes a refreshing change for me to feature a UK based homestyle shop and one that’s almost on my doorstep here in Hampshire, UK.

Riverstone carries a whole host of wonderful home accents, including, homemade soaps together with a veritable catalogue of furniture, garden accents and so much more.

Their home gift collection , as usual, always accentuates the beauty of the natural shades, browns & creams, a touch of burgundy and amber which brings up the natural elegance in any home together with warmth.

Riverstone’s 2008 Spring /Summer home giftware has been extended, to include pink, pale green and duck egg blue.

Visit Riverstone at


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The Spiritual Garden (Part 2) – By Judy Fenyvesi

March 25, 2012

wwwgardendesignercouk-16.jpgDuring the course of my work as a garden designer I’m often asked by my clients to incorporate into their garden designs a quiet corner for meditation or an area where they can sit quietly and generally just enjoy their garden.

I think it’s so interesting that in this day and age where everyone is so hectic and busy, that more and more people regard their gardens as a place for quiet contemplation or even a spiritual haven.

Throughout history and in many religions the garden has often played an important role in being a place to seek spiritual enlightenment.

In the Christian religions, one of the most famous spiritual gardens must be the Garden Of Eden and the theme of the garden was evident through the medieval period where enclosed secret gardens were seen as a representation of the Virgin Mary.

These garden where often enclosed by a wall and planted up with lots of roses and usually had water features as well. Tending to these gardens was seen as a form of contemplation and prayer while in the worship of God’s flowers.

One feature that is seen in many spiritual gardens is the Labyrinth and the medieval Christian church produced an eleven ring sacred Labyrinth that had great religious and meditation significance.

The Labyrinth has only one path leading to the centre and one path back out again, its significance being that as you walk the Labyrinth one way then the other way it is meant to shifts awareness from the right side of the brain to the left.

This “mental exercise” was to induce a greater sense of awareness and spiritual enlightenment.

Islamic gardens were also held in great importance and gardens are referred to in the Koran.

Many Islamic gardens are meant to be a portrayal of what heaven would be like. Geometry and water are prominent features and both have symbolic meanings from the Koran.

The story of creation is said to have unfolded in a garden and God is considered to be the first gardener.

The Zen gardens of China and Japan where designed by Buddhist Monks for silent contemplation, for acts of worship and tea ceremonies. These gardens were designed to be places of tranquillity and often include several symbolic symbols to reflect solitude and the give enlightenment.

Once again water is an important element; often designed to help Buddhist Monks in their meditations.

Buddhists feel that by spending time in the garden helps to awaken one’s true self while contemplating the beauty of the surrounding garden in peace.

I believe that all gardens should capture some essence of nature, be an oasis, an area of paradise and your own little sanctuary from the busy world around us.



Keita Kawasaki

March 25, 2012

k6.jpgThere’s a Japanese saying that goes along the lines of, “The Great Ocean draws from it’s hundred rivers…”

I think all artists and designers “draw” inspiration from other artists and designers.

Once designer I get so inspired by is Keita Kawasaki.

His techniques of “Flower Design” are just breath-taking.

Keita Kawasaki has established the theory of ‘Japanese Flower Design’ and combined this with his own artistic sensitivity to create today’s school, which is increasingly drawing the attention of people all over the world.

Also, visit Keita Kawasaki’s own website at

Once you’re at his website, simply click on the beetle when he appears from the right side of the screen, turn the sound up a little, and explore his leaf menu…

… and prepare to be inspired…

… whether you can read Japanese or not…





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The Spiritual Garden (Part 1) – By Judy Fenyvesi

March 24, 2012

wwwgardendesignercouk-5.jpg With so much gardening in the media nowadays, it does seem as if the very essence of gardening and gardens is often being ignored, and by the “essence”, I mean nature.

So many of us like to potter around, trim, weed, mow, dig, prune and so on and much of our time spent gardening is during the weekend.

Have you noticed how much better you feel on a Monday when you’ve spent the weekend gardening – perhaps not always physically when we’ve tended to overdo things, but emotionally?

Although many of us spend a fair amount of time working in our gardens, how many of us actually spend time in our gardens doing nothing in particular?

The key to tuning in to the spiritual aspect of a garden is simply to take the time to observe and be quiet in it.

A garden is surrounded by life, nature, the elements and so on even if you have a modernistic garden or not.

If you come to the garden with the right perspective there are rewards available for the mind and spirit.

As mentioned earlier, so many of us tend to use our gardens for work, and many of us cannot simply go into the garden without noticing something that needs to be done, trimmed, hoed or whatever.

We may even use the garden for other such busy activities as entertaining with barbecues and so on. How many of us can admit to using our gardens for periods of quiet meditation or contemplation?

We spend so much time busying ourselves making our gardens perfect that we forget that it is nature that is in charge and we could simply make use of this natural outside space to tune in more to our surroundings.

In various religions and philosophies the garden together with nature plays a significant part; the Garden Of Gethsemine, the Hanging Gardens Of Babylon, The Garden of Eden (or Paradise – taken from the Persian word “pairidaeza” – meaning “enclosure”), Buddha’s moment of enlightenment while sitting under a Boding tree.

In the Islamic tradition the Koran promises the faithful that the “Gardens of Paradise shall be their hospitality, therein to dwell forever, desiring no removal from them”… and so on.

Many gardens designed for Spirituality can be seen in Buddhism whereby many are designed in a mandala form.

Your garden – no matter how well kept – is still your link to the outside elements and nature in general and worthy of having you in it and allowing the fresh air and elements to help spring-clean the mind every now and then.

Plants That Are Reputed To Have Spiritual Connections:
• The Grape Vine
• The Madonna Lily
• The Butterfly Bush
• The Sweet Bay
• The Hupeh Rowan
• The English Yew
• The Common Box



Cacti and Succulents

March 21, 2012

succulentI think cacti and succulents are a great group of plants, with their unusual curious growth forms and textures, they can create a stunning display indoors, in a conservatory or greenhouse.

Planted up in colourful pots and dressed with small coloured stone chippings, they can look really fun and exotic. If planted up in a decorative glass bowl or container with decorative stones and small rocks they can look quite stylish indeed.

Children always find cacti and succulents fascinating and it’s a great way to introduce children to the world of plants.

Buy children a small group of small plants and let them create their own little mini desert scene in a container. If they want, they could even put some small dinosaur figures in among the plants for fun.

Do remember to handle spiny cacti with care, as the small fine spins are tricky to remove from skin. Handle them with thick gardening gloves or wrap an old cloth or newspaper around them when potting up.

The sharp spiny needles on a cactus are in fact modified leaves; nature has evolved these to stop the “leaves” from evaporating moisture from a larger surface area.

Cacti and succulents store water in their thick stems as they naturally grow in hot the climates of deserts or tropical jungles and the flowers that some cacti produce can be really stunningly, beautiful and bold.

Good light is essential for most cacti and succulents, so if grown indoors, do remember to place them on a sunny windowsill. You’ll also need to remember to turn your plants so that they get even light all around them.

Also, if you’re growing these plants in a conservatory or greenhouse then just be aware that these plants could get scorched in full sun, so ensure that you provide good ventilation to prevent this.

Succulents have thick fleshy parts to store water in order to survive during periods of drought, so both cacti and succulents need little watering and attention, which makes them relatively easy to grow and so require little attention.

Do make sure however that the compost you plant them in is free draining with plenty of grit, as these plants don’t like to be waterlogged in any way.

With established plants feed them every other month from April to October, as they will have used up the nutrients in their compost.

So, whether you’re designing your own mini Jurassic park, or simply looking for plants to fill an empty windowsill, give cacti and succulents a try and you’re bound to get hooked on these prehistoric plants.



Cat Scratcher From moderncritter

March 20, 2012

moderncritter1.jpgNow these really have caught my eye.

As some of you know, I have pets and I do make provision for the fact that having cats or dogs in the home does require some compromise when it comes to the design and the actual decor within your home.

I’m also a firm believer in ” if you can’t lose it, then use it” with regards to some of the exisiting features within your home.

For example, the outside garage in my last garden had to be incorporated within my garden design as there was no way that it could be ignored. So I designed some mirrored Japanese archway trellising on the sides up which I grew some glorious clematis. Without the garage I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to design such stunning visual treats in my garden.

Now, when it comes to my pets, I must admit that I do have a simple cat scratching post in my living room; although conveniently out of sight from the main living area. Like I say, sometimes you do have to compromise, although these cat scratching home accents from moderncritter really do go for the “if you cant’ lose it, then use it” idea.

Whether I would go as far as utilising one of these cat scratchers from moderncritter into any of my designs would obviously depend on my clients’moderncritter3.jpg briefs.

However, they are rather fetching, don’t you agree?

Together with the fact that some of the designs double up as an “off the ground” cat bed, they really do take designing a room with pets in mind to a new level… in more ways than one!

The patented design of the moderncritter bent plywood cat scratcher is minimal and elegant in form and yet provides more flexibilty in color and configuration than any other modern cat scratcher. Hang it on the wall to create a perch, or lean it up in a corner of your room where it takes up almost no floor space at all. Carpet tiles are easily changeable for the replacement of worn tiles or to customize its look… use colors and patterns to fit your taste, and change as often as you like. 






For more details of this cat scratcher from moderncritter, visit


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Solid Laussane Log Cabin With Veranda From Garden Chic UK

March 18, 2012

fraabris-du-jardin.jpgIn my own garden a future plan is to incorporate a small design studio at the bottom of the garden away from the house. Something along the lines of a summer house like this one from Garden Chic UK.

I’m looking forward to working in a summer house like this, surrounded by the greenery and being more part of the natural surrounding where I truly get inspired.

What I love about it is that it has it’s own veranda area; wonderful for taking a break, having a cup of tea outside and enjoying the fresh air while drawing on the inspiration of the surrounding garden.

Built in the Louisianna style, this solid laussane log cabin with veranda is definitely on my wish list for my own garden’s makeover!

Solid Laussane Log Cabins Feature:

* Large Full Length Veranda
* 2 x Large Inward Opening Windows Including Window Shutters
* Glazing is: Plexi – Glass
* Roof Material: *RED FELT SHINGLES -Beaver Tail Style (Main Image shows Shed Felt Roof)
* 40mm (1.57inch) Thick Wall Timbers
* OPTIONAL FLOOR (Please see below)

Solid Laussane Log Cabins Dimensions

* Total Width (Roof Apex): 4780mm (15ft 7″)
* Total Depth: 5163mm (16ft 10″) Including Veranda
* Height to Eaves:: 2208mm (7ft 2″)
* Height to Ridge:: 2705mm (8ft 9″)
* 1 x Single Door 700mm (27.5ins) Wide x 1780mm (70ins) High
* 2 x Opening Windows
* Using 40mm (1.57ins) tongued and grooved timbers, which fit together “Log Cabin Style”

Click Here For More Details Of The Solid Laussane Log Cabin With Veranda
From Garden Chic UK