Woodpeckers, Essex, NGS

We visited the 1 1/2 acre garden Woodpeckers at Burnham on Crouch over the last bank holiday weekend. It felt like a bigger garden than this, split as it was into different spaces each with their own atmosphere.


What we liked most was that each space was clearly defined. It takes a brave owner to do that,to take the plunge and not dilute the quality each space in the garden has been asked to provide.

The meadows in the orchard were beautiful at this time of year…

Meadow Orchard, Woodpeckers

… at least we thought so. We overheard one visitor say, “it’s all just managed weeds,” as they turned away and headed towards the vegetable garden. It’s an old-fashioned way of judging plants – good and bad, wanted and unwanted, plants and weeds – they are all plants, all the same, and have their own uses and their own beauty. But you can’t please everyone.

(Just to be clear – meadows are not about ‘managing weeds’ or having a ‘can’t be bothered mowing’ attitude to the garden work – they are about creating a particular set of conditions, managing them in a similar way, and then allowing the plants that suit those conditions to flourish. You will also get more flowering events per square metre than in many traditional herbaceous borders. What is not to like about that?)


Flower Free Zone
Flower Free Zone

The pool was a flower free zone. It surprised us when we walked in, but the absolute lack of flowers suggested it must be a deliberate choice. Linda explained, “I wanted one place in the garden where I could sit and read my book without getting distracted. If there were flowers here, I would always be looking up and seeing something else that needs to be done.”

Many of us could relate to that… and what is more, the walls that enclose the pool garden are beautiful in themselves, and so worth allowing them to take centre stage.

Linda has a genuine love for the exuberance of the cottage garden, and this lends a more relaxed spirit to the garden. Plants can self-seed, borders are full and the odd flowering treasure can be found if you keep your eyes open… a Mathiasella appeared before us on one corner.

The gardens we have visited so far for the NGS in Essex have been of an exceptionally high standard. What is most impressive is the attitude each of these women take to their gardens – they are bold in what they set out to achieve and make conscious choices about how they do it. We encourage that in anyone who is keen to garden – go for it, make something brilliant!

Woodpeckers will be open again in June, please do see the NGS for dates and times.

Recommended Reading:

Yellow Book 2014, The: The National Gardens Scheme

Cottage Garden Flowers

Life in a Cottage Garden

Or for a selection of our favourite books… The Modern Mint Book Store


Save Ryton Organic Gardens!

There seems to be some underhand shenanigans going on here. Bob Flowerdew is threatening to resign. We face losing the UK’s cornerstone organic garden. So please take a look at what is going on via the Facebook group…. go on! Go Now! Save Ryton Organic Gardens!


Garden Design Trends 2018

shed garden trend

Today we will be looking at Garden Design Trends in 2018. Just so you are in the know about what is cool and what is not cool in the 12 months ahead…. For the past like, million years I have shared my thoughts on what the gardening industry tell us the latest trends are going to be. If you are interested, you can see here the garden design trends for 2017. Or take a peek at my favourite of all the posts I have written – Alternative Garden Design Trends. This is my individual take on what the latest garden design …



Northern Forest – UK Plans For 50 Million New Trees

Well now, this is interesting…. UK Plans 50 Million New Trees in Northern Forest Likely? See the pitfalls? We love the idea and wholeheartedly support as much tree planting as possible. But are seriously doubtful that this is more than a sticking plaster solution to England being so vastly ‘under-treed’…. or should that be ‘overfelled?’ Yet whether this idea happens or not, all we ask is that you please make sure you plant as many trees as you can in your garden!