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Enjoy your outside – inside!

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Some ideas for winter decorations from the garden Many of us like the idea that we can enjoy our garden all year round. In the winter months this often means just the bit of our garden we see as we trudge up the garden path from the car on the way home from work, or the immediate view from our sitting room window.

I wrote in my last blog about the importance of siting winter shrubs so they can be seen from these viewpoints. But there is another way to bring the garden closer to us in winter; to bring some of our plants indoors - or at least onto the patio or by the front door.

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Wonderful Winter Plants

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At North Leeds Garden Design we’re often asked to design a garden with year-round appeal from the planting. Many of our customers obviously think it’s quite a challenging ask to have plants of interest in the garden in winter as well as summer. But I have to say that what’s difficult about this is often more about the amount of choice available – and how to narrow it down! So today I thought I’d share with you my current top five favourites.

Garden-making in the UK, with our temperate -if increasingly unpredictable- climate means there is a huge range of plants with which to beguile us in the winter months.

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Friendly Advice...

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I’ve just returned from visiting a friend in London and whilst I was there she wanted some advice for her garden – not an uncommon request!

She has lived there for three years and now has two young children. They lead busy lives and want a green oasis in their corner of South West London. A couple of years ago she had some work done; mainly removing some shrubs from the jungle at the end of the garden, taking down a Willow which cast too much shade and had overgrown its site and then laying new turf where these had been. Visually it is much improved and it is a bigger and more usable space because of it.

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To be or not to be...

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Did you know that Shakespeare knew all about compost? In Hamlet Act 3 he has Hamlet pleading with Gertrude not to ‘spread compost upon the weeds, to make them ranker’…. sounds erious stuff! While you can, of course, spread your compost on weeds if you really want to, compost is actually brilliant for the garden and we’d recommend saving it for using with the plants you really want to cherish.

First of all, compost is a great growing medium. When added to our plants before planting it helps them to thrive by improving the environment for their roots.

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Do you want a show garden out of your window?

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It's the season for flower shows and whether it's Chelsea, Tatton or your local flower show, you see these amazing spaces and possibly think I want that!

How much is it a reality?

To start with the 'garden' is designed to look great for just a few days, you may have heard how this year many of the Chelsea gardens had a different variety of plants in bloom due to the early Spring and mild temperatures. In the floral pavilions some plants were displayed that have not previously been seen there.

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Design is all around us...

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I’ve just returned from a short trip to Switzerland. Whilst most England football fans were sitting in the sun, I went to the Vitra Design Museum. You had to take the bus across the border to Germany which was interesting, it is so easy to travel around now, you don’t even realise you are in a different country apart from, in this case, the currency.

The Vitra Design Museum is a collection of buildings designed by international architects including Frank Gehry and Zara Hadid. I was especially interested in the Vitra haus which is a four floor showroom of all the products they make/sell laid out in room settings. This is not IKEA however, there are some well known design classics such as the Charles & Ray Eames Lounge Chair.

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A visit to York Gate Garden

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There’s always something new to see at York Gate, the renowned garden in Leeds developed by the Spencer family over 40 years. Its design draws inspiration from the Arts & Crafts movement- but its impeccable appearance today is a testament to the many volunteers who keep it looking its best all year round. I live nearby so get to see the garden at every season.

I went back this week to see what the garden has to offer in July. Set in a pastoral landscape and surrounded by trees, York Gate has been designed as a series of interlocking garden ‘rooms’ and narrow hedged walkways. Each is distinctively different but all are characterised by beautifully laid out detailed planting.

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