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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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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Weeds and How to Control Them

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Oh joy! It’s raining again and the weeds are sky-high! 

Its June, it’s raining and the weeds are madly growing. They are the Formula 1 cars of the plant world, zooming ahead into pole position while your specially-bought-and-cared for plants often lurk sulking in the background.

And how quickly this seems to happen! In April your garden looks great, daffodils flowering, then tulips or maybe go away over a bank holiday or two and ta da! it's all turned to dandelions and couch grass.

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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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Take Charge of your Garden

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Designing your own garden space

It’s time to get the garden ready for summer. But this is also the time of year when some of us realise we need to do a more thorough job than just mowing the lawn and pulling out a few weeds. In fact, with a sinking heart we realise we need a garden overhaul.

If you’re in this situation, the good news is that there are some simple steps to take which can really help you make the right decisions about what needs to go where in your garden. So read on for some tips on how to get going.

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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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Get ready to shop!

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Some tips for getting the most from a trip to the garden centre

Ever been to your local garden centre or online nursery chosen some gorgeous plants, only to find you've actually no idea where to plant them?…either there's no room in the border, or the colour doesn't fit, or it just looks plain wrong. So I thought I'd write this week with some tips to help you avoid this annoying (and expensive) situation.

1. Collect dreams!

Keep a file of pictures of gardens, plants and borders that really appeal to you. Pinterest is a great place to find this sort of thing. Or cut pictures from magazines and brochures. On an idle afternoon, with a cup of tea (or glass of wine!) in hand, have a look through them.

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