A Visit to Barnsley House

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I can’t tell you how long I’ve wanted to visit this garden for, especially as it’s practically on my doorstep, but I’ve never really had a reason to go until the GMG organised a visit earlier this month. Barnsley House is a beautiful stone hotel & spa set in a small Cotswold village just past Bibury. The house was built in the late 1690’s.

In 1939 Barnsley House was purchased by Cecil and Linda Verey who passed it onto their son David, an architectural historian. David was married to Rosemary Verey and together they constructed a garden through the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. In 1962 David brought the Temple from Fairford Park to be situated in the gardens. Rosemary Verey went on to become a noted garden designer, designing gardens for celebrities and royals alike.

We were shown round by head gardener Richard Gatenby who works extremely hard with his team to keep the gardens looking immaculate. If you haven’t been can I suggest a visit for Afternoon Tea! If you want to read more have a look at Richard’s blog here.

We started off in the Rose Garden which is the garden with the pond and the temple, separated from the rest of the garden by the most beautiful ornamental iron gates festooned with Clematis. Moving through the garden there is a beautiful combination of formal and informal. Topiary with borders of roses, lupins and foxgloves. An archway of pleached trees leads the eye to the temple and away to a beautiful water feature. Over the other side of the track there is the kitchen garden where they grow lots of fresh ingredients for the hotel to use in the kitchen. There are lots of little elements of surprise which is what I really love in a garden.

The Rose Garden, Barnsley House

Clematis

Barnsley House, Cotswolds

Water Feature Barnsley House

Barnsley House

Mixed borders, Barnsley House

Cotswold Garden

Rosemary Verey

Scarecrow Barnsley House

Ascot Spring Garden Show

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My garden photography got off to somewhat of a slow start this year due to a very cold, miserable and pretty non existent Spring. Whilst keeping warm inside I read that Ascot were having an inaugural Spring Garden Show which I definitely knew I wanted to check out.

I arrived there on a pretty grey Thursday afternoon to see what was going on and was pleasantly surprised at what I was greeted with. It is a beautifully intimate show, still with a selection of gorgeous show gardens but easily accessible and not a large as some other flower shows. There’s a theatre with a talk timetable from the likes of David Dominey and Simon Lycett and plenty stands where you can indulge in a little shopping.

The show gardens were really varied and designed by some talented high end garden designers. I had such a fantastic time photographing them and chatting with the designers. First up was this geometric inspired garden by Tom Hill Garden Design. I loved his use of colour and form and the copper elements he brought into it.

En Pointe – Tom Hill Garden Design

Ascot Spring Garden Show Tom Hill

A Garden for All Seasons – Kate Gould

The garden was designed in two separate areas with a section for dining and entertaining and a section for relaxing. The planting was a colourful mix of oranges, blues and greens set off against the rusted metal.

Ascot Spring Garden Show Kate Gould

The Landform Spring Garden – Catherine MacDonald of Landform Consultants

I love the simple Spring colour scheme of the planting keeping to yellows and whites and incorporating a lawn and contemplation area. I’d say this was a nice garden to reproduce in your own back yard, whatever the size.

Ascot Spring Garden Show Landform Spring Garden

The Courtyard – Joe Perkins

A sunken seating area with tall hedging and beautiful planting gives this a reel feel of privacy and it also has a Mediterranean feel with the terracotta pots and water feature at one end.

Ascot Spring Garden Show The Courtyard

What Lies Beneath by Claudia de Jong & Phil Tremayne

Beautiful planting from Claudia combining an eating area, arbour and the cutest shed you’ve ever seen.

Ascot Spring Garden Show What Lies Beneath

Yardley Flower Garden – Pip Probert, Outer Spaces Design Ltd.

I love the sound of water in a garden so these beautiful water features really did it for me. I also loved the stonework and the variety of plants used which really popped against the grey and white of the walls.

Ascot Spring Garden Show Yardley Flower Garden

Looking forward to returning next year to see some new gorgeous gardens on display.

 

Snowdrops

Well happy 2018 and though it’s so tempting to stay inside when it’s cold wet and windy, I am making myself be more aware of the change in seasons. Spring is already on it’s way with the emergence of snowdrops and yellow winter aconites. I visited two beautiful places very recently and wanted to document them.

First of all a trip to Waterperry Gardens on a snowy Sunday. The snowdrops were just emerging and the light dusting of snow on the topiary gave another dimension, even though my fingers were freezing it was worth it.

Second of all a trip to St Boltophs church at Swyncombe which is renowned for it’s carpet of snowdrops. They were still very much in their early stages but looked beautiful in the morning dew.

London Garden Photography | Barbara Samitier Garden Design

a dog friendly garden

It never feels like a good idea when you set your alarm clock for three thirty in the morning, especially at that moment when it goes off but once I’m on my way and I know I’m going to be photographing an amazing garden, the tiredness changes to excitement. We had been checking the forecast for a number of days beforehand but when I met Barbara outside the property in Dulwich at 5.30am it was still dark and the sky was filled with swirling grey cloud instead of the wonderful sunrise which had been promised – great!

As daylight started to come I could finally begin taking photographs of this incredible garden designed by Barbara Samitier. The garden itself is a long narrow plot which Barbara had sectioned into several areas without any feeling of barriers or being disjointed. Nearest to the house was a tiled area which led into the garden. The paths were made of York stone stepping stones and the huge family sitting area is just a wonderful outdoor space. The huge porcelain tiles are by Alhambra and unlike anything I’ve seen before but they look amazing. The giant anglepoise lamp gives a really edgy, modern feel.

Further down the garden there is a BBQ area with it’s own wooden seating and further on still a hidden contemporary seating are with chairs by Solid Soul. The garden is decorated with reclaimed mirrors and old pots which give an eclectic feel.

garden photographer london

Garden Photography London | Barbara Samitier Garden Design

garden photography london

garden photography london

GARDEN PHOTOGRAPHY LONDON

A few months ago I was commissioned to photograph another of Barbara Samitier’s beautifully designed gardens, this time in South Dulwich. The garden was a long rectangle stretching from the rear of the house with a brick wall, giving lovely texture on one side, and a slatted fence on the opposite side. The garden felt really secluded and very private. The planting was a mix of grasses/box hedge/salvias/umbellifers and more mature trees.

Although a fairly small garden the use of space and planting was really inspiring. I especially love the details (I always love Barbara’s details!) of the sunken flags to collect rainwater for the wildlife and reflect the sky. What an absolute haven of beauty. If you’d like to see another garden I photographed for Barbara, here’s the link.

If you would like to get in touch about a commission, contact me here.

garden photography london Barbara Samitier Garden Design small town garden South London garden Garden design - Barbara Samitier garden photography london professional garden photographer

A visit to David Austin Roses

This week I was lucky enough to go on an industry visit to David Austin Roses at Albrighton in Shropshire. Always having been enthralled not only by the brand but by the wonderful stand at Chelsea I was excited to go and learn about the story behind the roses and see the beautiful gardens. The morning started with an introduction by Michael Marriott explaining how they go about creating new variants of rose. The greenhouses were full of plants and the perfume of roses hung in the air.

Michael Marriot

We then walked over to the trial fields where new plants are put through their paces in difficult conditions. Here they stay for a number of years before they pass the test and can go to market.

trial beds at David Austin

And then the part I had been waiting for, to go and explore the gardens and see the wonderful roses. If one word could describe these gardens it would be ‘floribunda’ – a mass of stunningly beautiful and incredibly scented roses.

The Long Garden David Austin Roses

After lunch we were invited to visit Mr Austin’s own private garden which was not only beautiful but adorned by the most wonderful sculptures created by his late wife who was clearly an extremely talented artist. I even got to meet the man himself which was an incredibly humbling experience.

And finally back to explore the perennial garden. I found I was drawn to two particular variants of rose time and time again – Queen of Sweden and Boscobel. It’s time for me to make a new space in the garden!

Do you have a favourite David Austin rose? I’d love to know, leave me a comment below.

Garden Photography | Barbara Samitier Garden Design

Garden Photography Hertfordshire

I was recently commissioned to photograph a new garden design in Hertfordshire designed by the incredibly talented Barbara Samitier. I love Barbara’s design style, her planting, her use of lighting and all the wonderful details she incorporates which make you look and then look again in more detail.

Although the garden design was for a commercial property it incorporated wildflower turf, festoons lights, raised vegetable plots, a pergola and a seating area with fire pit. I’m sure that anyone who uses this garden in the future will appreciate all the features that make it such a special place to spend time.

I think it’s very important to photograph a garden at sunrise because the light is so soft and the colours look so different. It’s especially magical when there is a lot of moisture in the air which creates a very ethereal feel.

If you are a garden designer and you would like to get in touch about a commission, please contact me.

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Chelsea Flower Show 2017

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017

This was my second visit to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show after wanting to visit for many years. The 2017 show was quite different to last year’s Jubilee extravaganza with sadly less show gardens than previous years being blamed on the slowdown of the economy. But less of that and more about the inspiration and beautiful planting that happens at every Chelsea show.

Wandering round in the hot sun was a pure delight and it was great to be able to stop, look and learn about what was happening. The first show garden on entrance was the M&G garden designed by James Basson. It was inspired by the Mediterranean, Malta in particular and ‘draws on the ecological diversity and sustainability of the region, which acts as a microcosm for the planet as a whole.’ If you were looking for a traditional garden, then you were in the wrong place but I guess the point of many of these grand designs is to get people talking. I did like the smaller stones and the planting in between but was a bit unsure on the larger towers.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017
RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017

My favourite garden in the whole show was that designed by Chris Beardshaw. The colours, shapes, planting was simply sublime and yet it didn’t win a Gold. Reassuring to know however that it did get the People’s Choice Award, so clearly there were many others who felt the same way as I. I took a lot of personal inspiration away from this garden.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017

Another of my favourite areas this year was the Radio 2 sensory gardens. They had been wonderfully thought through and yet were all so unique and contained some of the best planting at the show. I particularly loved the Jo Whiley Scent Garden and the Zoe Ball Listening Garden.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017
Wonderful planting at Chelsea
RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017The Jo Whiley Scent Garden
RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017
RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017
RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017
RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017
RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017
The Zoe Ball Listening Garden

This garden inspired by Mexico looked incredible in the bright sunshine.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017

For me the Artisan gardens were where it was at this year. Through the microscope was a cleverly designed garden inspired by Breast Cancer Research. With smaller plants towards the front and larger ones at the back it really did feel like you were looking down a microscope.

Down the microscope
There was also the usual array of beautiful stands, this was a particular favourite not only because of the stunning metalwork but the planting of the lupins and salvia – very 2017!

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017

Another show garden with stunning planting was Breaking Ground. The garden was inspired by breaking down the walls to education and was produced in conjunction with Wellington College.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017

 

The David Austin Roses stand always enthrals me not only with the colours but also the scent.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017 RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017

This colourful garden called the Silk Road Garden was inspired by the huge diversity of plant life in china. The colours were magnificent along wit the interesting architectural structure made a very unique garden.

This was a clever urban garden designed to inspire insects and people alike featuring some really cool bug hotels.

Bug houses

Rousham Gardens, Oxfordshire

For a whole year this garden has been on my wish list to visit and I nearly didn’t make it today. The morning started out with some fairly heavy rain but after going to to photograph a commission the rain stopped and I headed off up the motorway. Rousham Gardens are situated not far from Bicester, Oxfordshire.

When I arrived at Rousham there was no one about so I purchased my ticket and made my way to the gardens. I was greeted with an oval lawn and a few lovely cockerels strutting about and crowing. I walked past them and round the corner where I was greeted with a massive box hedge and a tiny hole leading to an iron gate. I love things like this, it’s so Alice in Wonderland and it really captures my imagination.

Sometimes I can get quite emotional when I visit a garden for the first time, especially if I am the only one to experience it and can take in all the sights and sounds without being disturbed. I like to have a walk round first to see what views there are and what I want to start taking pictures of. Generally I get a bit excited and want to swap madly between lenses. I know there should be method – I’m working on controlling my over excitement!

There was a lovely walled garden with two walkways, one filled with apple trees which were in full blossom and another with a mixed border. I’ll be interested to see how that develops over the summer months. In the middle of the garden was a wooden pergola leading to a fountain which was sadly but understandably covered with a wooden frame to keep out the herons.

Leading out from this was a walkway which went to the knot garden. I’ve seen pictures of this online before but none did it justice. It was stunningly beautiful with a huge dovecote in the middle and a sundial amongst the knots. These are all planted with roses so not yet in bloom, I will go back to see them when they are.

There is also a vegetable garden at the bottom and a hothouse which was beautifully surrounded by planted tulip pots. I also saw my first peony in bloom for this year. And this is where I apparently missed another huge part of the garden with a folly and cascades so I’ll definitely be paying it another visit.  I hope you enjoy these photographs, for more information visit their website.

 

University of Oxford Botanic Gardens

As I was in Oxford today for a meeting, I decided to pop over to the University of Oxford Botanic Gardens and have a look what was going on. I’ve only previously visited once before and didn’t really have a chance to go and have a good look around then so today I spent a glorious hour exploring.

Conditions for photography weren’t great as it was quite breezy and near to midday when the light is at its most harsh but I figured as there were a number of large trees I might be afforded some shade in which to work. There very very few visitors wandering round which was a bonus as I had a lovely choice of vistas and with Magdalen Tower in the background piercing the blue sky it would have been a missed opportunity.

There wasn’t a great deal out to be honest. Lots of greenery which I suppose is normal given the time of year and some stunning tulip beds though a lot of plants looked really thirsty which given the low rainfall we’ve had this April isn’t surprising. I also took a trip into the hothouses to see some of the waterlilies and some crazy carnivorous plants. I will definitely re-visit over the summer months.

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