Category Archives: Inspirations

Inverewe garden visit

I visited earlier this week the fabulous gardens at Inverewe on the west coast of Scotland. This gem of a garden, now owned by the National Trust for Scotland, is a true delight. Originally planted in the 1880’s on a barren coastal stretch, it is now a lush and inspirational landscape. It holds the National Collection of Rhododendron barbatum ( see some images below) and features many magnificent plants that are typically not fully hardy in the UK even “down south”

The highlights for me are hard to separate between the most wonderful specimen turkey oak (Quercus cerris Argentovariegata)


…..and a whole host of amazing wetland and shady planting …




Sublime pond planting is really striking, and of course the Rhododendron barbatum specimens which were breathtaking!



The terraces adjacent to the sea are stunning, with large hedging for windbreaks higher up…


This all protecting the upper terraces from the Atlantic winds…



I am really jealous of the Echiums which I have barely managed to overwinter in a sheltered Buckinghamshire garden- yet these look fabulous here..



Many other treasures- iris in particular, and simply wonderful clumps of ferns and gunnera



Watch this space for some more photos…

Lovely garden to show off!

I am delighted to show some images (kindly taken for us on a better day than today by the lovely Judith) of a recent collaboration in Buckinghamshire. Our client asked us to design a warm and attractive setting for their home in Chalfont Heights that was undergoing some major renovations. Our friend Waseem Malik of GA Constructions has completed an incredible makeover of the house, and then moved into the garden to build the design that we created with our clients. With some amazing bespoke garden buildings, a delightful central brick “petal parterre” and lawns and paths to lead you into the garden this completes a thorough transformation, making great use of the surrounding woodland and some existing mature trees.








With a simple frontage and driveway to work with an upgraded garage we just needed some structure for the front. We found some lovely standard ilex trees and planted them last week.



Congratulations to all involved, not least our clients who have planted the garden themselves really beautifully- it is not only a stunning garden but has been a lovely journey and the results speak for themselves.

RHS Hampton court garden- sneaky preview…

Well we have finally finished- all bar the last cleaning and final primping. Fantastic work by the whole team both in the office and at the show- it looks amazing. Check out the BBC coverage Monday evening as they were filming this morning on the garden.





We have Alex our photographer coming tomorrow so we will get some better photos, and hopefully after the judging tomorrow we will all have a bit more time. If you like the garden do please go and vote for it on the RHS website click here

Looking forward to some sleep at some point- many thanks to all our wonderful suppliers and patient clients.

Now on site at Hampton Court

The team started on site and Hampton Court Yesterday. So far all has gone well- the rear wall frame is up and the trees were brought in today by Ruskins. As ever our huge thanks to them for their care and good humour.


The trees are in place and the frame for the sunken garden too.

The metal work is due to arrive tomorrow when the fun really begins.

Watch this space!

Hampton Court flower show garden underway

Per-build offsite was pretty smooth last week with Lee and Dean building the structures in a field much to the amusement of walkers on the Chiltern Way which goes past our drive.


The sheep were kind of keen too!

Carl will be leading the build, and the van is loaded with the stuff we need tomorrow and ready to roll into Hampton Court and start there.

The benching has arrived and looks wonderful too.



Alex Relph our wonderful metal worker has done an awesome job on the handrails which I am really looking forward to seeing put in place. We will update once we are on site.

Good luck all


It’s raining-must be wimbledon!

Funny- I have always thought it rained at this time of year because I was putting irrigation systems in, but I am told it is more to do with a certain event in London SW19 rather than a personal vendetta against me!

Busy few weeks with some lovely planting going in and our wonderful water features now running on the Iver Estate. The turf is now in on the upper terrace with traditional box hedging parterre and the central temple restored. Views over to the furthest lake will be further improved in the coming weeks as the deer are being fenced into a different part of the estate to allow us to remove the fencing behind the main terrace. Lovely project to be involved in, if somewhat daunting in scale!

What a beautiful day!

At last some decent weather has arrived- well it has here! Glorious misty morning on Monday for the first time in ages. Happy Spring!

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Savill Garden visit

Savill Garden visit

Earlier this month Phil and I took an outing from the office to visit The Savill Garden

Mark at the entrance to Savill Gardens.

When driving up to the main building you are presented with an eye catching creation from architect Glen Howells “The Savill Building” with its rolling roof. There are a number of impressive gardens to visit once on the grounds including gardens dedicated to each season, a hidden garden, a new rose garden and the Glades to name but a few. Being a bright but cold winter’s day we didn’t come across many other visitors which made exploring the borders of the beautiful ponds and streams with their rustic wooden bridges and views out over the water all the more special.

Cornus sibirica

A few of the more striking features were the beds of CORNUS or ‘Dogwood’. Once the leaves have dropped they reveal their thickets of strikingly coloured stems varying from deep reds, warm oranges to vibrant yellows.

Planting beds set on the horizon are lit up by their fiery colours in the depths on winter when planted on mass.

Banks of cornus

Another impressive specimen we came across that gives any gardens a rare hint of winter colour was the HAMAMELIS or “Witch Hazel”.

Delightful witch hazel

A particular species that caught the eye was the HAMAMELIS x intermedia ‘pallida’. This species offers sulphur coloured flowers which give off a heavenly scent. Another bonus to Witch Hazel is its impressive resistance to the frost which much of our planting could do with these days.

The third notable species of plant we passed was the splendid ARBUTUS x andrachnoides.

Arbutus or "strawberry bush"

This particular species is renowned for its red/ brown bark peelings which make for an interesting addition to its glossy, leathery oval shaped leaves. An important key to winter planting are the evergreen shrubs and trees that give all year round interest and this specimen ticks all the right boxes and looks great in a woodland border or as specimen tree as this one demonstrated wonderfully.

Some of the man-made features we both loved included the walk way out to an amazing view over the New Rose Garden. This garden has been laid out with intricate gravel paths that wind their way round underneath the tip of the lookout point at the end of the walkway. This beautiful construction along with its circular paths and clean edged layout gives a very contemporary look and feel to this garden breathing new life into the way typically we see a rose garden.

Continuing on we happened to come across the Golden Jubilee foundation hidden away behind neatly clipped yew hedging positioned so it can be seen through the corridors of mounded shaped lavender which gives visitors fantastic views to look back on.

These were just a handful of amazing discoveries which can be found here inspiring new and exciting ideas to implement in future projects. I would recommend visiting The Savill Garden to any potential visitor for its use of space and wonderfully individual gardens with their diverse styles and planting layouts that will surely encourage any would be designer to create something as magical.

Thanks for reading our first of many garden visit blogs which I hope you have enjoyed as much as I have had writing. All the best and we look forward to you visiting again.

Mark Latchford, Designer at Cool Gardens Landscaping.