It looks like we are not the only ones who are busy

Now is the time not only for us to get your garden for a fabulous summer but also to keep half an eye out for any busy nesting birds.  Last week I was unable to do any hedge cutting as a family of Jay’s had nested in the cottoneaster hedge and today I watched a blue tit tucking into my sheepskin rug that I had accidently left in the garden.  I think I may be leaving it there for a while longer!  Tread and prune carefully

Spring is nearly here

My heart genuinely lifted on Monday, the croci burst open and I was working in sunshine again.  What a winter it has been. 

The official start to spring is not for another 3 weeks but things are definitely starting to get going.  Now is the time to start planning and planting your seeds under glass.

Hooray, It’s nearly Seedy Sunday

It’s that time of year again – all anticipation and planning.  Seedy Sunday is a wonderful community seed swap at the Hove Center on Norton Road.  It’s from 10am till 4.30pm on February 7th. There is plenty for everyone to see and do.  I highly recommend it.

See you there


Heidi Joyce Gardens will donate a percentage of our profits to Oxfam for the Haiti Earthquake appeal.  We will also donate 15% of any new business we recieve over the coming months to the appeal. 

May their rebuild and recovery be as speedy as possible.  x

The Legendary Garden Designer Tom Stuart Smith


On Wednesday night I was lucky enough to get to go and see one of  my favorite designers Tom Stuart Smith at the Garden Museum in Lambeth. 

When I say I was lucky enough to get a ticket, that required a little persistance.  By the time I had heard about the lecture it had sold out.  I phoned to place my name top on a waiting list and then phoned back three times to check it was still top and no-one had returned a ticket.  On the third phone call the poor lady gave in to my begs and pleads and gave me a seat by the exit.

This is a world renound gardener who has won 6 gold medals at Chelsea and 3 Best in Show including the fabulous Laurent-Perrier Garden in 2008.  I was incredibly disappointed when he didn’t exhibit this year. 

Tom delivered an inspiring lecture on “The Spirit of Place”.  He talked in great detail about his inspiration for his designs and  how he contrasts exposure and enclosure when looking at the dialogue of the landscape.  He is a great fan of viewing garden spaces from an aerial view, often by climbing a tree and getting a feel for the landscape and the patterns he can incorporate into that.  Tom is conscious of trying to reattach us with our sense of place, measuring the location by river ways and footpaths rather than motorways.

Tom designed a garden in Mount St John overlooking the Vale of York.  He wanted the garden to be a prostration to the surrounding views and to repeat some part of that view within the planting plan. He got hold of old maps of the area and used the hedgerow pattern as his basis of his planting and design. It was really stunning. 

I could wax lyrical about Tom’s designs till the cows come home, so I will try to conclude fairly succinctly.  Tom uses nature, art, science and literature as inspiration for his incredible designs.  He proves that sustainability doesn’t have to be lacking in style and thought and I sincerely hope that is something I will take with me throughout my design career.

The Chelsea hotel for insects

The Chelsea Hotel for InsectsNow is the time to tuck our beautiful wildlife up for the winter. I built this insect condominium for a children’s garden about 2 years ago and it is really starting to come into it’s own.  I found a sheltered quiet spot and just used old pallets and stuffed them with bamboo canes, leaf mulch, moss,perforated bricks, old carpet and doormats, tree trunks and pinecones .

I heard a great tip from Bob Flowerdew on Gardeners’ Question time this week.  It was to use your sweetcorn stems in 2 meter pieces and tie a bundle together.  Then place them in your hedgerow.  Bob has not found a more effective way to attract ladybirds.

St. George’s Church, Kemp Town.

St. George's Church Front Garden

St. George's Church Front Garden

I was thrilled to get a call last April, from the Church committee of St. George’s, Kemp Town. They have successfully secured a National Lottery Green Spaces Grant to redesign their Community Garden. St George’s Church is directly between the Royal Sussex County Hospital and the Bristol Bar in Kemp Town.

Three Brighton Based Gardening Businesses were invited to submit a design for their outdoor space. I was particularly excited about this project as I used to live round the corner from the church and have spent many a happy hour reading a book and relaxing in the church gardens. At the end of May I submitted our design.

The public have been voting over the last month and and I should get the results of the vote in the next few weeks. 

Watch this space

Oh Brother

I took on a project last week, to design and plant up the gardens in a development in East Grinstead. There was a communal border which stretched 26 meters and 2 gardens in the ground floor flats. The brief was cost effective and low maintenance planting. I was however quite determined to meet this brief with a really beautiful and wildlife supporting but quite minimalistic planting scheme. I chose 5 key plants (which as a passionate plantswoman is quite a feat).

I chose Himalayan Birch (Betula utilis Jacquemontii) which has stunning white bark and male catkins in spring. To complement this in winter I choose the red stems of Cornus alba “Elegantissima” and the glossy leaves of Sarcocca confusa. Finally I added white Japanese Anemones and Clematis Armandii. The plants were ordered, planted, watered in and mulched. Everything went to plan and the developer and Housing Trust were thrilled. I myself was very proud of introducing pollinating plants to a low maintenance scheme.

I got a phone call this morning from the developer, a group of lads broke into site last night and stole every last plant and pulled the trellis and baton from the walls. Apparently there is quite a mess to clear up. Being a lady, I won’t repeat the developer’s words, but I am back to East Grinstead next week.

Go Carefully

Whilst digging a trug of bark chip to mulch a freshly planted tree, I discovered and nearly decapitated this little fellow.


Frogs and toads love warm humid places and a covered mulch container is just perfect.
In order to attract our little amphibian friends they like

  • Ponds with shallow edges or logs and rocks to break up a steep edge.
  • Native planting within the pond to offer shade and a home for them to lay their frogspawn
  • An area of leaf mulch or soft soil to hibernate in.

In return, they will eat mosquitoes and their larvae, slugs, snails and flies, which suit me just fine!

I have a client who wants a pond within her vegetable garden so watch this space for photos and updates.


Welcome to my blog. Since becoming interested in horticulture and design about 4 years ago, it has transformed my day to day life. I hope to share some of my insights and adventures with you.

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