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From Dream to Reality: How to Choose a Garden Designer

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You’ve decided to enlist the services of a garden designer – someone experienced in translating your wishes into reality. How do you find one and how do you decide who to commission?

Finding the right designer for you One of the best ways to find a good designer is through personal recommendation; ask around your friends and colleagues; do they know a designer or anyone who has had a garden or planting design? If so, ask them more about it – did their designer take the time to understand their wishes? Did they feel they got value for money? Was the project completed on time? Another suggestion is to look on the Society of Garden Designers website the UK body for garden design.

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Garden Design in winter?!?

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So this summer you’d like to be enjoying a glass of wine whilst watching the children play in a well thought out outdoor space? It might be a cold winter day in Harrogate, Wetherby or Leeds - but now’s the perfect time to start planning your new garden. The garden design process starts by instructing a garden designer and finishes with that perfect garden in the heat of June – well maybe not cracking-the-flagstones hot but hot enough to sit outside and enjoy your garden! 

To get your new garden designed and built is a bespoke project, developed to suit your needs and tastes. It’s worth taking the time to do it properly – just like with a new kitchen, you need to consider exactly what you need and how it will look before getting it installed.

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Rip it up and start again?

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I love garden makeover shows. There, I’ve said it! I marvel at the way difficulties are overcome - cranes lift garden rooms in over the neighbour’s lawn, truck-loads of plants miraculously re-assemble into the perfect garden, and even butterflies and hedgehogs appear to order! And most of all, of course, I love the reactions of the family or community, stunned by what has been achieved in a week, open-mouthed at the difference that’s been made to their space.

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Welcome to 2014!

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Have you made any New Year resolutions yet? Here’s some gardening ones you might like to ponder as you sit cosily indoors with a cuppa…

1. Get fresh! Put your wellies and a warm coat on and get out into your garden. Then stop. Fill your lungs with fresh air. Have a wander around; really notice what is happening - you may be surprised at the number of colours, shapes and even scents of winter plants. If you haven't got a garden, try a winter walk in your local park. Or visit RHS Harlow Carr near Harrogate, where you’ll find a wonderful winter heather display, and specially-planted winter borders, to enjoy. You’ll come back feeling fresher and more positive.

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A perennial holiday problem!

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Let’s make it easy for ourselves – dealing with holiday watering.

So you plan a holiday, look forward to it for months and in the meantime you happily grow plants from seed or use plug plants and pot them on into tubs and pots to enjoy. So far so good! Then you have the dilemma of how to keep them looking good while you’re away. What to do with your potted plants whilst your on holiday. Typically you ask a friendly neighbour or friend to come and do some watering. However, there are two problems there; you worry it’s is too much to ask - and they worry about killing your precious plants and then over-water them! The end result is a cooling-off of friendships which both parties regret - but the damage has been done!

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Keeping your feet dry - ideas for indoor gardening this Autumn

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I went blackberry picking on Sunday and they were the juiciest and largest fruit that I've seen for several years. This confirmed what I'd been hearing in the media-that this year is going to be a bumper one for fruit, nuts and seeds. That's not only good news for everyone who enjoys eating British fruit, it's good news for our garden wildlife too, as birds, hedgehogs and squirrelswill all be filling up happily on this lovely produce before the winter comes.

But after this glut there will be a rapid decline in the amount and variety of food available for our garden birds and animals.

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A Tour Around the Rome Botanical Gardens

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Everyone knows that Rome is a city with lots to offer. Everywhere you look there’s wonderful architecture and art, ancient ruins, splashing fountains, romantic vistas. But when you’re tired of sightseeing, a great place to relax and recharge the batteries is the Botanical Gardens. Not only is it a renowned research establishment, it’s a lovely way to spend a hot afternoon.

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