Archive for the ‘Water Features’ Category

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Water Water Everywhere

June 24, 2012

gardenblog47.jpgNowadays a water feature is more or less considered to be an integral feature of any garden design, whether it’s simply for a focal point, or a pond for wildlife, or being used for its ambient sounds of moving water for relaxation. Surprisingly water features have been used in gardens for longer than you may think.

Far back in ancient Egypt around 3000 BC we see the earliest records of gardens, and yes, these gardens did have water features, although most were used for practical purposes. Gardens where mainly enclosed in a courtyard fashion and water channels where formed to irrigate the crops and plants. Later in history, the Moorish gardens of Spain incorporated fountains into their courtyards where people could cool off and have some relief from the hot dry climate.

In Japanese gardens, running water served a practical purpose and water features were sited near to teahouses where the water was used for purification purposes before the ceremony itself, as guests would wash their hands before entering the teahouse. Other practical water features in Japanese gardens include the “deer scarer” where the bamboo pivoted arm collects water and then swings down against a stone with a loud clunk, thus scaring any deer or other wildlife away from the garden and crops.

Nowadays we truly are spoilt for choice with the variety of water features available, although I always suggest that the main consideration for any water feature is that of the safety of small children. If you do have children, then I would strongly recommend the type that has a sealed reservoir, like the cobble or millstone fountains. Other safe styles of water features aredscf0018.JPG narrow and shallow rills or streams which are becoming quite fashionable.

If you are considering a water feature, you could opt for a formal type such as a raised brick one. The choice is endless and you’re bound to find a type to suit your garden, or even get someone to design one for you.

Alternatively, instead of a simple water feature, you may consider having a pond. If you are planning a pond, do remember that it’s best to locate it in an open site where daylight can get to surface-living aquatic plants. Also avoid water features near trees as not only will the falling leaves clog up the water, but tree roots may also damage the pond. There are several types of pond available, from concrete types which you can make yourself, to pre-formed fibre types, toughened plastic moulded ones, or butyl rubber sheet types.

 

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Planning The Year Ahead!

January 25, 2012

flora4.jpgIt’s during this time of year that many of us plan our next summer holidays and possibly reminisce about our last summer’s break.

When I’m on my summer holidays in my favourite parts of the world, I often think how nice it must be to live in the part of the world where the sun shines most of the time, and then I realise how much I would miss what we have here…

… seasons.

It’s with the seasons that we’re lucky enough to have such a wide variety of plants.

I know that most of us hate the dreary winter months, but natural beauty can still be found in our winter gardens. A winter garden shifts its emphasis from the focus and details of leaves, flowers and colour to more of the outlines of solid and definite geometric shapes.

There’s nothing like a cold frosty morning with the garden sparkling and glistening as the sunlight shines on the plants creating a vivid winter wonderland. I think our gardens take on a completely new dimension in the winter, particularly when it snows and it all looks neat, clean, crisp and uncluttered.

If you’re lucky enough to have outdoor lighting, don’t just use it in theflora4.jpg summer nights when you’re outside with friends, turn it on in the winter evenings and enjoy your stunning night-time winter garden. The forms and structures of a garden such as deciduous trees and pergolas become striking canopies covered with frost or snow, and the winter’s low sun angle will create artistic silhouettes and shadows.

Clipped hedging and topiary create prefect shapes and I think they’re the backbone to a winter garden. A well placed statue or an decorative bench will create a focal point and add interest to dull corner and in a winter garden and will come into its own when most of the surrounding plants will have lost their softening foliage.

Certain plants look so lovely when touched by the frost such as the fine foliage or feathery plume seed heads of ornamental grasses or the frozen long pendent catkins that look like hanging Christmas tree decorations of the evergreen shrub Garrya elliptica.

It’s always interesting going abroad and seeing the native plants and even the weeds; some of which we here regard as tropical plants, however it’s always good to come home to my own garden… and of course, the British seasons.

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