The High-Heeled Eco-Worrier

Hurray! I’ve published a second book in my Eco-Romance series. It’s called ‘The High-Heeled Eco Worrier.’

Its a really funny fictional story (or is it?!) featuring lots great fun characters who are all bumbling their way through a year of climate action. The question is, will our heroes, Nat and Deb, be able to turn a dilapidated old church into a successful eco-hub, or will a nasty property developer replace it with another another posh block of flats? Read this eco-romp to find out!
Let me know if you agree with the last line in the back cover book blurb:
“The High-Heeled Eco-Worrier is a hilarious eco-romp. Who says that helping the planet isn’t good for your libido!’
You can buy it here:
For justification on why I, a committed environmental campaigner selling it on Amazon read here:

For a review of my first book in the series: The High-Heeled Gardener, read here:





Of Butterflies, bees … and books!

It’s been a while since we posted! We have been incredibly busy helping create and deliver lots of wonderful wildlife friendly, urban rewilding projects across the borough of Camden, and beyond.

We’ve also made a fundamental change to our business! We have become a non-for-profit social enterprise. As such, we are no longer taking commissions to create private gardens, but are solely concentrating our efforts into creating community gardens – biodiverse, habitat rich outdoor spaces – in public sites, schools, housing estates, businesses etc.

We have made this decision as we are committed to playing our part to help address the Climate and Ecological Emergency in London by creating vital pollinator pathways and connected eco-systems. We want to bring biodiversity into public outdoor spaces, offering habitat opportunities for the smallest bug upwards! We say: out with the herbaceous border and in with the pollinator border!

We also have a new website which gives lots of details on projects we’ve been working on with local climate and ecological action groups: and Do grab a cuppa and spend some time looking at it.

There’s also other news! We’ve changed the name of the website. We are now: ‘Of Butterflies, Bees and Books.’ We are so proud that our Debbie, has penned a series of      Eco-Romance novels. The first book in the series: The High-Heeled Gardener has even been compared to a Bridget Jones in the garden! It’s a hilarious horticultural handbook, a year of digging dangerously! It follows the exploits of an ex-fashion designer as she gets involved in a community garden. It’s a journey from haute-to-horti-couture! As the book’s timeline starts in October, now is the best time to start to read it! All you growmance lovers out there can order the book at:

The second book in the series: The High-Heeled Eco-Worrier will be out early next year!

For justification on why a professed climate activist and eco-worrier would agree to sell a book on Amazon, read here:

That’s all for now, folks! As it says in the acknowledgement page in The High-Heeled Gardener: ‘Respect to all you novice High-Heeled Gardeners. May your stilettos not get stuck in the mud. Heartfelt gratitude to all you climate, ecological and social justice activists out there. Keep on going!’

Remember the climate is changing, so must we.



Greening our footprint

Hello, it’s been awhile!

Our season has started to germinate with calls for 5 new projects in the last week! We always prioritise gardens in which you wonderful folk are doing your bit to green up your footprint!

The first new brief was a fantastic opportunity to create a wild garden in Hornsey. We are talking NO herbaceous border, NO lawn! Just a wondrous, bucolic haven for wildlife…our absolute dream. We are already visualising the wildflower meadow, the fruit and nut trees, contorted hazel, honeysuckle, akebia and other climbers covering all walls. A low level tapestry of thymes, corsican mints, and chamomile nobile as ground cover. Plants, shrubs and trees to provide pollinator nosh across the season… ! An ecological paradise.

We always prioritise projects which help our community grow. With that in mind, we are really thrilled to be working with local community group Think&Do Camden, to help rewild our borough. Following our planting of a wildflower meadow and feminist orchard at a secondary school last summer, there’s sooo much interest from schools to green their grounds: From a tiny patch of land to a long narrow strip that runs alongside a playground, we are helping schools rewild and go wildflower meadow crazy! Wildflower meadows are a good solution for schools as you don’t need to improve the soil, and they only need 2 cuts a year. They are at their best late spring and early autumn – perfect for the school year. On a more salutary note, many secondary schools are telling us that their reason for rewilding their schools are not just to help increase biodiversity, but to help improve student well-being. As we all know, it’s been a very tough couple of years. The work we do with schools is purely on a pro-bono basis. If you are involved in a local school do get them to sign up to the and we could donate to the school a free fruit tree via our project: or some free annual wildflower seeds.

Talking about community growing and well-being, we are delighted at the result of a big design and planting project we embarked upon at a housing coop. Brief was to not only biodiversity and encourage pollinators, but to encourage residents – who never used the gardens, to come out and meet. Six months in, and that is exactly what has happened. Here’s a before and after couple of images…

We have also been invited in the last 2 weeks to design 2 roof terraces. Roof terraces provide an interesting challenge as its very much a case of right plant right place. We love the recent brief where the emphasis planting wise is to be on ‘greens’ and ‘foilage’ A very sophisticated brief. Here’s a roof terrace we did a while ago.

Without doubt our new ‘happy place’ is the Greening your footprint garden we are currently designing and planting up at Kentish Town fire-station. Yes, you read it right! A fire station. What’s for sure is that we will never be short of water on this project. We love to work on collabs in public spaces. Living in the city, we are short of space to cultivate… we can’t all have allotments, but we are on a mission to transform any bit of urban space we can find into a lovely green hub.


Hedges is something we are going to be talking to you all about in the next few months…they are incredibly important way for us all to green our footprint. More news on this one soon.

Finally, an offer for any Camden residents. Would you like a bare-root tree whip to plant in your garden or in a balcony on a pot. If so, get in touch with

Until next time, take care and get greening your footprint. Here’s some actions you can take:




As we re-wild our gardens we re-wild ourselves.

Spring has come and gone in a flutter of butterfly wings. We have had an incredibly lovely, busy one – a big chunk of our work taking place in the creation of community gardens – something we are passionate about.

So many of you reading this are now fully committed to getting involved in doing your own bit a to help address the climate and ecological crisis. Whilst it’s fantastic that we are getting so many calls to create wildflower meadows, equally welcome is a simple commitment for you to change your lawn mowing regimes. For, as we re-wild our gardens, we re-wild ourselves. See below a lovely little article I wrote under my Eco-Worrier alter-ego, for last week’s Hamstead & Highgate express.

In April, we designed and planted a wildlife friendly garden in a large block of flats, run as a co-op, in Tower Hamlets. Whilst this area is outside of our normal patch, we were so thrilled to find how excited residents were about the prospect of taking out huge beds of dense, light-absorbing bamboo, and letting us replace these with an enchanting selection of pollinator plants. The grounds are now alive with an abundance of oh so pretty, bio-rich plants of all colours and textures. According to the TRA, the grounds are now also full of residents sitting down and enjoying the space, chatting with each other, meeting for the first time…having a go at growing veg, learning about plants, cultivating what they previously thought of as ‘weeds.’ As we re-wild our housing estates and public spaces…we re-wild ourselves.  Pictures later in summer.

We also enjoy getting stuck in with garden makeovers. We recently helped re-design and plant a lovely garden in Islington. We soo loved the colour palette – very venetian… from saffron to claret. All unified with white plants. And of course, everything v wildlife friendly.

If you are a NHS worker and need some FREE advise on your garden. Get in touch. We recently helped a couple of very overworked, tired doctors with their gardens. We are very happy to offer free labour and advice.

Creating wildflower meadows is something very close to our hearts. We have recently created 3 new wildflower meadows in the Camden area.  For a block of flats in NW3 with a larger budget, we encouraged them to use wildflower turf from Pictorial Meadows. The result is very florific.



For our community wildflower meadows we used Lindum Turf, which we think is really fantastic. Lindum turf is grown on a biodegradable felt matting, as opposed to plastic. It really ticks all the boxes! We had great fun creating a meadow with students at Parliament Hill girls school, and have even created a ‘pop-up’ meadow in downtown NW5.


Talking about community gardening, we always feel very proud to put our community volunteer hats on and join in the fun with Transition Kentish Town @Tkentishtown and  @ThinkDoCamden,

The Camden Forest project, part of Think and Do, is a really interesting one. The project’s aim is to get 2,025 trees planted in the borough of Camden by 2,025. Thanks to the free tree whips from our partner, we now have over 1,000 new trees growing in our borough. See their locations on: If you would like to join the project, or receive a free tree whip, get in touch.

We have given away trees to lots of schools, including Parliament Hill girls school where the students decided to create a ‘Feminist orchard.’ This orchard will be named after un-sung feminists from through-out history.

We have lots of exciting projects in the pipeline, including the possibility of transforming a whole street of front gardens into a wildlife friendly, bucolic block. We say, lets turn yellow lines into BEE lines!

We are always happy to pop into see any new gardens or projects, no matter how big or small. Until next time, put away that lawnmower, join the Camden Forest project, say no to any chemical inputs, and enjoy weeds… Remember a weed is a flower too!


Springing into action…

It may have been a while since we’ve written a blog – but we’ve had a very productive lockdown 1-2-3….etc!

Whilst we continue to work with lots of lovely local clients to help bring butterflies, bees and friendly wildlife into their gardens, as a social enterprise, it’s equally important to us, on a voluntary basis, to help create community gardens. We also have been developing a number of ecological projects in collaboration with Camden Council.

With 97% of wildflower meadows in the UK having disappeared since WW2, it’s vital that each one of us do our bit to welcome back wildflowers into our gardens – no matter how big or small.

For a big block of flats in NW3 we enjoyed laying wildflower turf to create an instant wildflower meadow. Lindum turf’s wildflower mat is a balanced mixture of wildflowers, herbs and flowering perennials growing in a moisture retentive plastic free biodegradable felt, to provide an instant wildflower area.

Down the road at a local primary school, we also created a wildflower meadow surrounding a chicken coop. We were very happy when the headteacher took up our suggestion for each of the school year groups to be named after a wildflower. We are hoping that this will link into literacy, science and art learning projects.

We love designing wildlife friendly gardens/habitats in a Piet Oudolf naturalistic style. Who says a wildlife friendly garden can’t look beautiful. For a client in Kentish Town the brief was also all about colours! Ooh we can’t wait to see the palette of bright oranges, pinks and reds bursting into bloom this year. For a client in Islington, the colour palette is reds, copper and brown. For another Camden client, an additional brief was to include a wildlife pond in our design. It’s often said that a wildlife garden without a pond is like a theatre without a stage!

With our motto being ‘out with the herbaceous border, in with the pollinator border,’ we are always encouraging clients to cut down on the amount of grass they have in a garden, and soften the edge between areas of planting and lawn, with a lot of low growing plants. How we love Erigeron, Thyme serp. ‘Pink Chintz’, & Corsican mint. We always liberally scatter a packet of red clover seeds wherever we go!

We are working on a very big project for a housing coop in Tower Hamlets. Our design brief is for an enchanting wildlife friendly garden which will encourage residents to come and enjoy the space previously planted with giant bamboos (boo!) We are creating a design using permaculture principles to plant across the canopy. From growing honeysuckle up trees like Birch, to birds for berries, like Rowan, to low growing woodlanders like Sweet Woodruff. And pretty planting in-between.

An easy intervention any of us can do this year in our gardens is to change our mowing regime. You would be surprised how within 3 weeks, pretty wildflowers appear. Put that mower away!

In terms of community projects, we have been very busy. One project we are working with local eco groups: and @Tkentishtown (Transition Kentish Town) is to develop a Camden Forest – yes, you read right, a forest in Camden. Check out to see how together with the fab and tree dept at Camden Council, we have now managed to give over 700 bare-rooted tree whips to Camden residents in order for them to plant in their garden/balconies.

We are now embarking upon a project to giveaway small trees in pots to Camden residents on housing estates across the borough for them to pop them on walkways in housing estates and balconies. Let’s green up our borough.

We love working with schools. We have designed a whole greening plan for Parliament Hill girls school, a big secondary school in Camden. The brill girls have come up with an idea to plant an orchard, and name the trees after famous long forgotten feminists through out history: A feminist orchard! We are so digging this!

Other community projects we are working on include the building of a pop up allotment for the RefugeeCommunity and Whilst we can never grow a meaningful amount of veg to supply the huge quantity of weekly meals these 2 fantastic groups cook for displaced folk, and people in need, we will grow some yummy herbs and provide an opp for the Refugee Community Kitchen chefs to get growing.

Also with our community caps on, we are turning our attention to working with the council on how we can co-design, with TRAs on housing estates, some lovely green spaces. We are looking forward to another lovely spring at our wildflower meadow on the Raglan Estate NW5. According to residents, the meadow provided a lot of joy last year during the the first lockdown.

More news soon…and pics!



Growing wildflowers and FREE virtual gardening advise.

Hello everyone,

We hope you are enjoying the joys of the best spring ever, and staying well.

During this lockdown period, we have been concentrating on our communal gardens and helping develop community projects to keep everyone as inspired and connected to nature, as possible.

Last autumn, as part of a new community gardening project: Rewilding Camden, we planted a lovely sinuous strip of wildflower turf at a local housing estate in NW5. Look how gorgeous it is looking in its first season. We look forward to creating wildflower meadows in many more public spaces in the future.


With 97% of all wildflowers having disappeared in the UK since the second world war, it is so important that we all do our bit. From planting a handful of wildflowers in a pot, to laying wildflower turf like above, we can all create mini wildflower meadows! We are working with Camden Council and our local community groups: and @tkentishtown to encourage local folk to cultivate tree pits! See below an example of how to sow wildflowers into compacted tree pit. Please note that if you want flowers this summer – stick to annual seeds. We have been buying from the fab – pick their classic mix.










Be prepared! It’s hard work digging over the tree pit – but a great idea for your daily exercise.

The other way we can help our councils at the moment, is by watering street trees.

Another community project we will be launching later this year is ‘Putting the park back into parking!’ If you have an unused car park space outside your home – and would like to turn it into a parklet… watch this space!


We have also been busy giving our clients FREE, virtual garden maintenance advise. If you would like some free advise of how to look after your garden, perhaps grow some veg, or some design ideas for buying a few new plants, do get in touch. We will be happy to help. We are prioritising gardens in the borough of Camden, Islington and Harringey, London.

In terms of growing veg, by sowing rocket seeds now, you could be eating peppery rocket in 3 weeks. If you have kids at home and some rocket seeds, give everyone a pot (or old bucket with holes in it) fill with compost or top soil, scatter the seeds, water – and have a rocket race.

Another veg we love to grow is runner beans. We love the image of the gorgeous red flowers growing on a pot on our doorstep. Followed by plump beans. Who needs a climbing rose, or clematis when we can all have runner beans.  If you only have a window ledge, try growing some pea seeds (you can even use dried peas from your food cupboard) Simply get hold of a pot/juice carton with holes… or anything you can find, add some soil/compost, and sow the peas: We say give peas a chance! Within 2 weeks you will have tasty pea shoots to eat.

Here’s a question for you? Who can identify this gorgeous yellow flower?

If you look closely at the leaf, you might be able to guess the answer?…. It’s a kale plant that has bolted and gone to seed! When growing veg, we all have to accept that sometimes we will have failures…but what a lovely failure this is! A secret design tip of mine is to grow rocket seed and deliberately let it bolt. You will get the most gorgeous cream coloured delicate flowers!

And here’s another of my current fave flowers… what is it?

It’s ramson – wild garlic gone to flower. Red Campion, below is just coming into a flower. It’s a shade lover, and oh so pretty.

Please do get in touch if you need any inspiration. You don’t have to have a garden, to get growing.

From the team here, we wish you well. Enjoy the sunshine and the birdsong.

Bark…the herald angels sing…!

Who needs summer and flowers, eh! We say that trees and winter bark are just as beautiful!

That said, looking back to summer and autumn, what a wonderful time we have had. We have been rushed off our feet with so many creative and diverse projects! Probably our busiest autumn season ever – hence no time to blog! We have also been busy with lots of voluntary work. Our ethos in these times of Climate and Ecological Emergency, is that it is really important we all do our bit ! We therefore donate about 20% of our work, free of charge, to increasing biodiversity in LB Camden, Islington and Harringey, creating community gardens and pollinator pathways.

With 97% of native wildflower meadows having disappeared in the UK in the last 50 years, we are really keen to persuade, you, our wonderful clients, to do your bit, and allow us to lay a patch of wildflower turf in your gardens. This autumn we have started working with a new wildflower turf. It is plastic free (i.e.the netting which holds the turf together is made from felt) and is packed full of wonderful native wildflowers, annuals and perennials. It looks gorgeous from March-October, and in the winter it just looks like an interesting textured lawn. We say cut down on your lawn area, folks, and introduce wildflowers! If your garden is too small for a small wildflower patch, why not merge the edges of lawn and flower beds with the planting of some gorgeous clover, thyme, or low growing wildflowers life birds foot trefoil and self heal.

We love it when we get a brief from a client to design a family friendly wildlife garden packed pull of biodiverse plants of all colours. We created several such gardens this year. Equally we enjoy working on transforming small urban gardens, and have embarked on a number of theses.

One brief we particularly loved for a client in Harringey was to create a patchwork garden where we planted areas of wildflower turf around fruit trees, and small ornamental trees for late season colour and berries. We planted single petalled roses and different season clematis to climb up the walls, and honeysuckles to entwine the fruit trees. A path made from object trouveau snaking its way through this bucolic garden led to a pond we built at one side and a seating area. What is missing from this design I hear you ask? Well… it’s the lawn! We think the days of having a garden with a large lawn surrounded by herbaceous border, are no longer! A large lawn perfectly manicured lawn is unsustainable with too great an placed on the need to water. By creating a wildlife friendly garden, birds and pollinators will thank you too.

We also really do enjoy makeover days in overgrown gardens, and have completed many such days this autumn. It’s great to give a garden a good prune to reveal hidden plant gems, and borrow views from neighbouring gardens!

A new one for us this season, was the a brief from a client wanting to give a young couple a garden design as a ‘wedding present! We really enjoyed helping create an edible landscape.

We also have created several community gardens this season. The Sunshine Garden on West Hampstead station was great fun to co-design and build with the West Hampstead community centre. For the Salvation Army, the term ‘singing to your plants’ really rang true when the wonderful Sally Army band serenaded us as we built wooden beds and planted a really pretty garden for them in the urban surround of Chalk Farm

With our new Rewilding Camden team, we are also passionate about creating wildlife gardens on housing estates. For our first project – Growing Raglan:Growing Community, we planted up areas of wildflower turf and hedgerow shrubs and really enjoyed spending a day with the wonderful TCV Green gym, building a coppiced wooden fence out of willow and hazel from a wood in Croydon! … Yes, you read it right!


There are so many more wonderful projects we are working on, which we will tell you about early next year! Meantime, seasons greetings and do pop down to our Platform 1 Cottage Garden on Kentish Town overground station: #snoggingstation and join in the fun. Happy solstice and new year!


Going wild…at Chelsea flower show press day

As the elder trees are ripe with frothy white flowers, we have taken a break from our busy season to get picking and making lashings of delicious elderflower cordial…and of course, bubbly. Spring is turning into an aromatic, golden summer.

We have been working on some inspiring projects. We have also dedicated a fair amount of our time this season to developing community projects alongside Camden Council. With the council soon to be declaring a Climate and BIODIVERSITY Emergency, it is vital that as many of our public green spaces are as species rich as possible.

We recently enjoyed creating a Derek Jarman Dungeness styled front garden in Tufnell Park. A palette of blue, purple and white flowers appearing out through dove grey stones. We are also enjoying working on several roof terrace gardens. See pictures below from one of our recent roof garden designs. In NW5 we have also created several wildflower friendly gardens – complete with a pond. After all, it is said that a wildlife garden without a pond is like a theatre without a stage! In a family garden which we planted up with a lovely selection of wildlife friendly plants, we were also delighted that the client agreed to our hardscape intervention in the paving slotting in pockets of low growing thyme and chamomile. For a front garden in Dartmouth Park we were given the brief to build some screening: our solution, to create a wooky fence out of coppiced hazel and cherry and infill with gorgeous butterfly and bee friendly shrubs.

We are passionate about encouraging all you new clients, as well as our existing ones, to let us plant wildflowers, not just herbaceous perennials and shrubs in your gardens. There are so many fabulous wildflowers to choose from. Flowers of all colours and seasons of interest, each of which attract different forms of wildlife, i.e. From Bladder Campion to Vetches; from Ragged Robin to Toadflax and Hawkbits, we love wildflowers.

With 97% of the UK’s wildflower meadows having disappeared, a new UN report has stated that nature is declining globally at unprecedented rates in human history. With the rate of species extinction accelerating, it is more important than ever, that each one of us to our bit to increase biodiversity in our gardens. A simple win, we always say, is to change the mowing regime of your lawns. The perfect green lawn is quite simply unsustainable. By letting even a small patch of your lawns grow long, you will be amazed at the wildflowers that grow, plus you will be creating a rich biodiverse habitat for beneficial insects. Our fave lawn wildflowers are: clover, Birds Foot Trefoil and Self-Heal.

Our mantra has always been, out with the herbaceous border, in with the pollinator border! We were delighted that for a garden we look after in a large block of flats in NW3, we were recently given free rein to re-design the grounds, and create a beautiful pollinator border.

Donning my High-Heeled Gardener alter-ego, here is a rather irreverent article I recently wrote after a very glam day out at the Chelsea Flower Show press day. I certainly was wild about Chelsea!

Until next time, join us in going wild!

Roof garden in Tufnell Park

Rumex acetoselia – Sheeps sorrel. Weed or Wildflower? You know what we think!

One of our school gardens in NW3. Wouldn’t you want to go to this school!






Going wild!

I can honestly say that our season has got off to a really wild start! All the calls we have received for new garden designs, makeover-maintenance, and top up planting days, have come with a brief to create wildlife friendly gardens. Our ethos of ‘out with the herbaceous border, and in with the pollinator border,’ is something clients are really embracing.

We received a wonderful brief last week to plant up a wildlife garden to attract: butterflies, bees, moths, toads, caterpillars, frogs, insects, invertebrates….you get the idea! What was so fab about this brief was that the garden was not to be designed by plant colour; but by specific wildlife attracting qualities. But as we have always championed, a garden can still be wildlife friendly without losing the aesthetics. We are therefore looking forward to creating a beautiful and elegant garden that ticks all the boxes!

Whilst on the subject of attracting insects, it really can be as simple as letting a patch of your lawn grow longer. We totally understand that many families need lawns for younger kids play on; but why not just leave a tiny, weeny patch around the edge to grow? You will be amazed at how many beautiful low growing wildflowers will appear. Alternately, let us plant up the edges of your lawn with wildflower plugs: we particularly love birds foot trefoil, self heal, bladder campion and of course there is always room for red clover seeds.

Let it never be said that art does not influence garden design. We are currently designing a Frida Kahlo themed garden: lots of bright, jewelled colours. From Monarda Fireball, Heleniums to the new Salvia Amethyst lips and Geum Tangerine dream. It’s all red, oranges  unified by lime green Euphorbias! Pollinator friendly and er, pink!

It may seem completely the wrong time of year to be thinking about the winter garden, but with winter still fresh in many of our minds, and many folk disappointed with the lack of winter structure in their garden, now is actually the perfect time to also get the ‘backbone’ of our gardens planned and planted for next year! We maintain the garden of a large block of flats in NW3. For many of the residents their main relationship with the garden is the ‘view’ from their windows! With this in mind, we are planting up a whole extra layer of garden evergreen structure. We are thinking lots of coppers and bronzes to add depth and texture.

We have been booked for several ‘makeover’ in gardens. We love nothing more than going into a mature garden and sensitively cutting back overgrown mature shrubs and trees to reveal new vistas. With some new ‘top up’ planting, by the end of one day, clients are always amazed at how different the garden looks!

After last summers drought, many new clients are also considering planting gardens that are more climate sensitive and fare better in drier conditions. Beth Chatto’s gardens are an inspiration for this. We are looking forward to planting up one such front gravel garden. More info next month.

Finally, community gardens are always something close to our heart. Alongside the Keeping Active Together group in West Hampstead community association, we are currently co-designing the Sunshine Garden, which will be a new community garden on West Hampstead overground station. We are also working with local councils to turn under-used green spaces in local authority owned blocks of flats into bucolic community gardens full of life, laughter and sharing. This is all part of our aim with Transition Kentish Town/Camden groups to create a Web of Well Being in our area: A web of community connection.

Community gardening is all about developing our own personal eco-systems, so come on, get involved!



Winter wonders…

We are all thrilled here at OBAB that we are having a proper winter season this year. Not only does it afford us the chance to spend our time planning lovely new gardens for clients, and come up with planting predictions for the year; but a period of winter weather is essential for many plants.

In a process known as vernalisation daylight reduction initially induces plants trees to go dormant and shed their leaves which would require too much energy to maintain in winter. It is then only after some plants and trees, i.e. fruit trees, have been exposed to a period of frost, that they are ready to burst into growth and bloom once temperatures rise. The cold of winter is also needed to stimulate stem growth in bulbs. For herbaceous perennials, the onset of winter triggers enzymes in their roots which convert stored starch into soluble sugar. The plants gradually moves this sugar to the growing tip ready for spring’s surge of growth. We at OBAB say hurrah for winter!

Whilst on the subject of winter and planting predictions for 2019, word has it that this summer may well be a scorcher like last. We therefore urge you all to think about your lawns – and reduce them. In environmental terms, lawns are simply unsustainable. They require too much watering. Let us reduce your lawn area and replace with a patch of clover lawn. Great for encouraging wildlife, and beautiful too. Or consider adding and area of wildflower turf which will provide lovely interest for 8 months of the year.

With our design hats on, we are also predicting that this year will see a surge of jewel gardens planted with bold, bright colours. We are also very keen on extending season of interest to plant up a winter garden area. We passionately believe that a garden doesn’t only have to be about flowering summer perennials, but encouraging lovely foliage and bright bark and winter stems.

We are enjoying planning a very chic garden at the moment filled with a palette of dark purple, blue and white, unified with silver and evergreen foliage. One of the must-have plants for this design – and a fave of ours this season, is Fatsia japonica ‘Spiders Web,’ a fab evergreen which also makes a striking hedge.

This month we have been also concentrating on community gardening projects, and with the council amongst others, we are helping co-design several lovely community spaces. We are passionate about creating and promoting the concept of a Web of Well-Being in our neighbourhoods. These link green spaces with community projects such as renewable energy, and veg box schemes. We believe that a connected community is a happy community.

Come the beginning of March we will be rushed off our wellies, creating and planting a huge variety of gardens both large and small. We are looking forward to creating a Pumpkin patch garden in a school in NW3, a Fruit Salad Orchard for a school in N6. Then. there is a very contemporary courtyard garden in NW5, a public space in N6, a front garden in N7…and many more. We are passionate about creating community gardens in health centres on a voluntary basis, so if you have a project in mind, do get in touch.

Until next time, enjoy winter. We need it!

Debbie, Stephen, Francis, Andy and Miro.




A very berry time!

What a very berry autumn this has been! All that gorgeous summer sun intensified leaf pigmentation to give us a gem of an autumn ablaze with brilliant oranges and reds: autumn colour which continued late into November. It has been a fab year for Pyracanthas and Cotoneaster bejewelled with berries, as well as for Cotinus Coggygria, the drop in chlorophyll that comes with shorter days revealing brilliant leaves in shades of scarlet and red. Our fave small tree, as always, is the Malus, with its long season of interest. We particularly lovely Malus Sentinel with its long lasting small red crab apples (can still be on the tree after Xmas), and Evereste with pretty yellow apples. We think that a low shaft of sunlight shining off a red berry, or catching upon a giant hip of a Rosa rugosa or R. Canina, is as lovely as the colourful extravagance of a midsummer flower. We are mindful of how, as gardeners, we place so much emphasis on designing gardens for spring and summer flowering, when autumn plants and winter branches can be equally as beautiful.

Our autumn gardening season burned equally as brightly with a gamut of lovely projects. We particularly enjoyed creating a forest garden based on permaculture principles for an SHP, Single Homeless Project. With our voluntary community hat on, several days of infrastructure build culminated in a wonderful community planting day where clients from the shelter joined with the local community, serenaded by local musicians and poets, to create a thriving garden with large wildlife pond.

It is said that a wildlife garden without a pond is like a theatre without a stage! The winter months are a perfect time to build a pond. Whether you have space for a large pond, or a small back yard to build a pond out of a sunken wheelbarrow, we urge you all to get that pond built. All you have to do then is sit back and wait for spawn to appear in your pond in mid March!

Talking about wildlife friendly gardens, we were asked by a new client off the Holloway Rd, to plant up a front garden to not only attract wildlife, but to help detract litterers. Our solution, to plant a hedgerow. In it we planted a mix of pyracantha, dog rose, blackthorn, hawthorn, cotoneaster and variegated holly (do remember that hollies are dioecious, meaning you have to have two plants – a male an a female to produce berries). The final result was not only a stunning front garden with a long season of plant interest, but a thorny front hedge to stop littering: A hedge to provide food and shelter for all sorts of wildlife, from insects to birds and small mammals. The winter months are a perfect time to plant up a bare-rooted hedgerow.

We love nothing more that getting stuck into a garden makeover, and this autumn we have embarked on many such projects. It’s not only about pruning and adding organic matter to the soil to improve plant health, but creating new vistas as trees and plants are cut back. You will be amazed at how different your garden looks after a good cut back. A whole new canvas awaits…

For a school in Highgate we recently enjoyed planting lots of soft fruit in the long beds. Next spring we plan to interplant fast growing salad crops. We are sure the children are going to love their new allotment: a veritable Fruit Salad! In the same school we also laid wildflower turf to create an instant pop up meadow. From April – November, with a cut back in mid June, and late September, a wildlife meadow is always so enchanting.

Design wise, we are also working on several projects with very differing briefs. The first is a boho chic garden which takes inspiration from the new-perennialist designer: Piet Oudolf. For this garden, we are working with the architect to design sinuous shape beds which very much reflect the style of the interior architecture. The beds will be filled with grasses and plants in shades of purple, blues white and green.

For our second design, in complete contrast it is all about orange, yellows, copper and lime green. Tropical zing!

We are also really excited to be helping design another large health centre as part of our commitment to social prescribing, and helping make our wonderful health centres places to go to be inspired.

Embrace winter, and we urge you all to go out and enjoy your gardens. Empty branches and patterned bark can be just as lovely as the brightest of sunflowers.

Solstice greetings. Debbie, Stephen, Francis, Andy and Miro.




















Forget plastic baubles, plan next year for jewelled berried trees.

A fruitful September!

What an incredibly productive September we have had here at OBAB. After the very wonderful, but demanding scorcher of a summer put a lot of stress on many of our gardens – more on that later, we have been working on some really inspiring new creative challenges and design briefs this month.

We always love creating cottage gardens, and particularly enjoyed planting up a delightful old fashioned garden in the Highbury area: honeysuckles climbing up apple trees and contorted hazel; single petalled roses with chunky hips clambering along brick. Foxgloves and Veronicastrum, and a succession of lovely perennials to usher in every season. We are particularly passionate about persuading clients to include lots of native wildflowers in the planting mix: Everything from Ladys Bedstraw to Toadflax, Ragged Robin, Wild Carrot and Birds Foot Trefoil – the names almost as charming as the plants themselves! So important for encouraging biodiversity in the garden.

From a classic garden to a contemporary roof terrace, we have just finished planting up an elegant roof terrace in N7. The brief was purples and silver, greens and white. The finished result does look stunning.

We love nothing more than when we are given the brief to come into a dark and gloomy large overgrown garden, and do a makeover in a day. It is amazing how easy it is to create a new garden canvas from existing shrubs and trees – all that’s needed is a good big of pruning and let their be light. We have embarked upon several such projects in the NW3 area. But a garden does not have to be large to be beautiful. This month we have also designed and planted up a small courtyard garden in NW5. The key is to limit the planting palette to a few colours and cultivars, and allow for a 3 season succession, including plants with different textures and heights.

Creating community gardens is one of our greatest passions. This month we have been busy designing a garden for another large health practice. As proven by last year’s Kings College Report, social prescribing can be an important part of the treatment mix in a health centre. In particular, gardening can be of real benefit to help combatting loneliness and depression and mental health challenges. We believe that our health centres can, and should be, a place where we go to learn to ‘be well:’ A place to foster community; centres where we can all be inspired. To that end, we are happy to hear from any health centre in North London which has any spare green space which could be turned into an inspiring therapeutic garden.

We embark upon community projects free of charge.

Another community project we are currently designing is a forest garden for the SHP – Single Homeless Project. An amazing company working to help vulnerable and socially excluded people to transform their lives. More news in October when the garden is complete.

September heralds the start of the apple, pear and hedgerow fruits season.  Due to the hot summer it has been a poor apple season, but along with the folk at Transition Kentish Town we have been busily picking all unwanted, windfall apples from the streets around us, and juicing them up in our cast iron press. Each year it amazes us how upon sampling the freshly pressed juice, children always comment how, ‘It almost tastes like the real thing.’ When asked what the real thing is…the answer is: ‘like we buy from Tesco!’ A sad indictment on how disconnected many of our youngsters are from the seasons, and any real connection to nature.

Returning to the subject of the hot summer, we know many of you out there will be have thoroughly challenged by keeping your lawns watered and looking perfect – and disappointed with the result. We say, get rid of those lawns, folks. Replace them with flowering lawns, corsican mint, or so many other wonderful examples. We have seen the proof this summer that a clover lawn works and survives with very little water. It is future proof.

We hope you enjoy this bucolic golden early autumn. Get out there and hunt for rose hips and rowans, hawthorns and sloes. The hedgerows are bursting with them. Perhaps even picking a few for that good ol’ sloe gin or hedgerow jelly.

Until next time…










You are cordially invited…

According to the old country saying, British summertime begins when the elderflower starts frothing in the hedgerows and ends when its dark-black berries appear. Our client’s gardens around us are all bursting with elderflower and new growth as late spring blossoms into summer, bringing with it a surge of colour. After the elongated winter, we have probably had our busiest spring season ever – hence not having a minute spare to write this column!

So, where to start? We have really enjoyed creating a Venetian inspired garden in N6. With a colour plant palette ranging from mulberry to claret and saffrons, and hues in-between, the garden is now full of: Salvias, Astrantias, Acteas, Echinaceas, Heleniums and my fave, Veronicastrum virg. Fascination – to name but a few.

We particularly enjoyed recently designing and creating a modern cottage garden look for a young family with a tropical twist! Whilst the garden was planted up with lots of our fave cottage plants ranging from Digitalis purpurea to Lupins and Hollyhocks, with white plants providing the unifying link, it was the addition of structural plants, such as Cardoons and Euphorbias, which helped give the garden a lovely tropical look. One of our favourite plants to create evergreen structure is rosemary, which we added in profusion, along with other edibles. We say out with the herbaceous border, in with the edible border!

Embarking upon a one day garden makeover, is always one of our fave jobs! We have been invited into several gardens this season to spend a day cutting back and pruning to let in light. You would be amazed how different a garden can look with a day’s worth of soil improving, re-shaping and a handful of new plants, herbs and edibles. In one garden, twin 7 year old boys were amazed to arrive home from school to find a giant den/tippee built at the end of the garden, created from the green waste we had generated that day!

In other news, it’s official, we are now fans of green walls! Whilst previously, we have always been reluctant to build green walls as a result of what we considered non-sustainable irrigation requirements, as a result of new affordable, and irrigation considerate systems coming on the market, we have created out first green wall. A green wall can be a great option for a small back garden. It creates a very contemporary look. Below is a pic, of a work in progress…

Our community projects are very close to our heart. Probably around 20% of the work we do is free of charge for the community. We are passionate about creating webs of well being around our neighbourhoods. To this end, we created our seventh green intervention in the NW5 area with an Orchard in the football pitch at Acland Burghley secondary school. Yes, you read it right – an orchard in the footie pitch! Bit of a shout out for another of our green interventions – at the back of Ceremony Restaurant in Fortess Rd, we have created a secret allotment. It’s bursting with delish veg and unusual edibles, some of which can be found in the menu. Just mention Transition Kentish Town, an you will get a 20% discount on all cocktails!

And here’s another call out – you are all invited to our wonderful ‘Listening Space’ garden in the Caversham Group Practice NW5 for a wonderful tea on 23/6, 2-5pm, to celebrate 70 years of the NHS. The Listening Space garden is a bucolic garden we planted up with swaying grasses interlaced with lots of lovely colour – a refuge for patients, wildlife and the community, alike.

On another note, not to nag, but try not to mow your lawn too often this summer folks! If you leave your lawn, you will be amazed how wonderful little wildflowers will soon colonise it. Just see the pic below of one of our client’s gardens…

Finally, back to the elderflower. In-between our myriad of jobs, we have had a mo to make some very yummy elderflower cordial. All that’s left is to top it up with a good glug of gin! Whilst our elder trees are in full bloom now, it won’t last long folks.. 

Below – Bladder campion – one of our fave wildflowers…like fairy wings

Don’t mow your lawn folks…


Green wall being built. We love the palette of strong greens tinged with purple.




From ‘Le Jardin Secret’ to cocktail corners and magic carpets.

Well our season has certainly got off to an interesting, flying start.

We are always happy when we get a garden brief from busy working parents with young families, as we did recently. Whilst the aim is to create a productive, pretty garden which is low maintenance and fun for the kids, our cunning plan is always to create an enticing outdoor space which will encourage you busy parents out into the garden – more than you were intending!

We say, out with the overly large trampolines, and in with the coppiced wood for den building. We say out with the formal herbaceous borders, and in with ‘Herbery’ next to the kitchen door, the kids ‘rocket’ growing, ‘bean pole’ race, and the edible landscape. Replace some of the heavy evergreen shrubs which you were told you needed for ‘winter structure’ with fruit trees/bushes. Not forgetting of course to leave space for a little ‘cocktail corner’ chocka full of mint/basil/borage/strawberries etc, for botanical cocktails, whilst the kids enjoy sailing their toy boats in the (clean) drainpipes mounted onto a nearby fence which have been filled with water to form oceans of fun!

An important piece of advice we always give to busy parents and working folk is to leave a section of lawn grow until June/July. You will be amazed the lovely succession of wildflowers that grows through. See below a picture of a lawn in a block of flats we maintain in NW3. The pic was taken last June. Left alone, the lawn will fast become a magic carpet with pretty little plants such as daisies, speedwell, self-heal, buttercups and clovers. Oxeye daisies, cowslips  might appear too. When allowing your lawn to grow you just have to shift your expectations of what a weed is!

By way of complete opposite to the native planting described above, we were recently totally inspired by ‘Le Jardin Secret’, Tom Stuart Smiths garden in Marrakesh. We are delighted to be re-creating a mini version of Le Jardin Secret on a roof terrace. We love the simple plant palette, the tonal hues of green, silver and purple. Whilst grasses are generally used in garden design to create a naturalistic look, there is something surprisingly formal yet impactful about the repeated planting of Stipa Tenuissima.

Warning all new clients, we hope you are not feeling as blue as we are? Blue in sense of the Majorelle Yves St Laurent Garden…  Statement walls can look absolutely stunning in a small courtyard garden, interested in a Moroccan blue statement wall anyone?!

Talking about statement walls, whilst to-date we have been reluctant to deign and create green walls as a result of the extra water demand, believing them to be unsustainable; as a result of new irrigation systems coming on the market we have just taken on the brief to design a stunning green wall for a client. The wall will have two long strips of green packed full of wonderful heucharas, ferns and strappy grasses in shades of ginger, greens, marmalade and browns… watch this space.

Talking of sustainable gardens, we have recently been asked to design and create an extremely low maintenance front garden for a house containing several flats. Our idea revolves around creating a Beth Chatto’esque’ gravel garden. Borders will be replaced with a lovely hue of gravel out of which verbenas and other white and purple drought friendly plants will emerge.

In other news, our garden at the fab new Ceremony restaurant in NW5 continues to flourish. We particularly enjoyed the Pina-kale-adas we drunk there recently made from kale grown in the garden! With Transition Kentish Town, we are also working very hard on several local community gardens, which we are passionate about creating, free of charge. Coming soon, a ‘Green Machine putting the park back into parking’ in Kentish Town; an orchard in a secondly school football pitch (!) and another station cottage garden…












Sharing, caring & loving winter…


We love winter, not just for the rest it affords us all – not that there is any rest for us, as we are busily working on several really interesting, and very different design briefs (see below) but we love winter for the views through filigree branches on empty trees; the texture on revealed bark. We like to encourage our clients to not always be in such a hurry to plant for winter colour or structure, but think perhaps that there is beauty enough in the emptiness of the winter landscape: and purity.

Talking about trees, as wildlife gardeners and active environmentalists, we are so aware of tree wastage at xmas time. A Nordmann fir, the ‘non-drop’ variety now accounts for around 80% of the Christmas trees bought in the UK, it takes eight to 10 years to grow to 6ft. After its brief decorative turn in a festive front room, Wrap estimates that in the UK we throw away 6 million Xmas trees each year. Did you also know that 300,000 tonnes of card packaging is used at xmas; enough to cover London’s famous landmark, Big Ben, almost 260,000 times. 1 billion cards end up in the bin, when they could be recycled, and the amount of wrapping paper used for presents is enough to wrap around the equator 9 times. All once a precious tree which once we glanced at in a winter landscape.

Talking about landscapes, we have been given a brief to design a wonderful vertical landscape – a large green wall spanning the whole of a small garden in Kentish Town. This wall will be viewed through all the windows in this very contemporary house. More news soon.

We are equally excited about the prospect of creating a new wildlife friendly garden for a young family in N7. The main aspect of the brief is to design a child-friendly garden around the 3 existing mature fruit trees which are placed right in the middle of the garden. Who says a garden has to be all about lawn and herbaceous borders! We have always said ‘Out with the herbaceous border, in with the pollinator border!’

During the autumn time, we often turn our attention to community projects, which is a very important aspect of the work we do at Of Butterflies and Bees. We prioritise it, working for no cost, and often help raise the needed funds. Our work with Transition Kentish Town is progressing really well, with projects ranging from creating a community orchard in a local secondary school, to creating veg beds and cob oven in a youth centre, to continuing to develop our plans to create ‘Trails of Well being,’ all over North London. We recently turned our Platform 1 cottage garden at Kentish Town overground station into a winter wonderland, complete with a mistletoe kissing arch. We are hoping that the station will fast become re-named the snogging station!

Our ‘Listening Space’ garden at the Caversham Group Practice is fast becoming a hub for sharing, and community enterprise. Surplus/waste food and food insecurity, is an area we are very passionate about. Last weekend, a shared meal for over 100 people in the garden, was created partly from surplus food. (See dishes created on poster below)

Hoping that your winter will be peaceful and inspiring. Don’t forget to keep turning that bottle of sloe gin, and creating festive decorations from nature…



From pine-kale-adas and bringing down walls to building community and creating secret spaces

We have been rushed off our feet during September and October in our busiest couple of months ever! Where to start..

Everyone loves a secret garden, don’t they? Well, how about one hidden behind a restaurant in Tufnell Park? We really loved designing and creating the secret garden hidden behind the fab new decadent vegetarian restaurant ‘Ceremony’ which opened last month. The priority of course was to plant up goodies for botanical cocktails – pine-kale-ada anyone? Do go and see our urban trellis made from discarded copper plumbers pipes, and  planters made from leftover ventilation steel ducts.

At this time of year, beyond playing with colour, planting swathes of spring bulbs in many of our client’s gardens, we also love nothing more than a good pruning and clear back session. Remember folks, a garden is not only about what you have planted, but borrowing views; cutting back trees and shrubs, to let in light, colour, shape and texture from surrounding gardens. With so many vibrant copper and claret tones around at the moment, don’t grieve the fading away of summer’s flowers, but celebrate the surrounding trees and shades of autumn, by borrowing views. You will be amazed how a dramatic cut back, can completely change your view: in more ways than one.

Talking about flowers however, we have designed some very beautiful pollinator friendly, herbaceous borders this month: particularly striking will be the elegant white and green garden we planted up in NW3 filled with a seasonal succession of gorgeous flowers and grasses. In complete contrast, we had great fun creating a patio garden full of the brightest of colours…

With so much talk in the world at the moment about building walls, we were really happy to be invited to re-imagine the gardens of two sisters living next to each other in North London: And in particular, to take down the wall which separated their two gardens! Having taken down the wall and given both gardens a bit of TLC, what emerged was a light and airy, bucolic haven. We say, it’s time to start sharing gardens; to create big open spaces and wonderful habitats. C’mon ladies – and everyone out there, we urge you to take down those walls!

In terms of creating big open spaces, creating community gardens is a great passion of ours, and something we commit a lot of voluntary time to. Our community gardens at the Caversham Health Centre, James Wigg, Platform 1 KT overground continue to thrive and provide much joy. Currently, we are developing proposals to build a garden and cob/tandoor clay oven at a youth centre in Queens Crescent, and another cottage garden at West Hampstead Station.

Finally, our other big love in early autumn is our Abundance project: it’s all about collecting and juicing windfall apples and unwanted fruit. Do you have or know of any apple trees, that still need picking, get in touch? We have hosted several apple juicing sessions at local schools and health centres: incredibly rewarding, and juicy stuff!

Back to the drawing board now, three more garden designs to create for next month…





From a Decadent Kitchen Garden & Botanical Cocktails, to Platforms and Side Gardens!

What a busy and productive summer it has been for us! Variety definitely being the word that sums it up!

Our newly designed and planted up cottage garden on Platform 1 of Kentish Town overground looks very lovely and is now providing a lot of pleasure for commuters and Thameslink staff alike. Such fun to see folk getting off the train and emptying their water bottles in the beds! If you are passing, do stop and pick some runner beans.                   As a result of the success of the Platform 1 cottage garden, we have been asked to create another garden at West Hampstead station. Perhaps this time we will get the compost delivered by train! We love the idea of greening up underused drab, urban sites, and are happy to develop projects like these, with our community gardener (volunteer!) hats on!

Creating inspiring outdoor spaces in health practices is another area we remain passionate about. The Listening Space well-beeing garden.The launch of our naturalistic, The Listening Space garden, at the Caversham health centre last month was a huge success. The drifts of grasses – miscanthus, molinia, pennisetums, are now very much at their peak and look so beautiful mixed in with the new perennial selection of rudbeckias, echinaceas etc.

We have been approached by another oestopathic health clinic in NW3 to design a space for them and are very excited about this.

A new project we are also very excited about is the brief to design and maintain a new kitchen garden at a fabulous new restaurant in Fortess Rd, NW5 opening in September: Ceremony. We think it is so great that this new decadent vegetarian restaurant in our ‘hood is aiming to include items in the menu from the garden. Botanical booze and inspiring herb-infused cocktails being menu items we are particularly interested in!

Do you have a drab, unused, bin heavy side alley that you think might have potential to turn into an interesting little space? If so, get in touch. Side gardens are SOOO on trend.

Enjoy late summer, watch those apples and pears ripen by the day on trees heavily laden with fruit. It’s going to be a good harvest this year.

Remember, we also love nothing more than a good maintenance, pruning session. It doesn’t have to be all about design with us….

Trail of Well-being. Social Prescribing – It’s All About the Community.

Creating community gardens is something we are really passionate about and we donate, free of charge, a good deal of our time.

We are so proud to be curating an open day of 3 of our community gardens on Sat June 17th. The festival called, ‘The Trail of Wellbeing’ is aimed at showcasing our newest projects: First up, we will be joining in with the laughter yoga workshop at our Well-beeing garden at the James Wigg Practice which is now chock-full of veg and plants and shrubs with healing properties. We are very excited to have been invited in to present our case for social prescribing to the whole staff of the JW practice.

Community gardens like our Well beeing garden are aimed at treating folk as citizens within communities, rather than just patients. The BMA and Kings College have recently produced a report on the benefits of social prescribing, which clearly proves that gardening has a growing place in the NHS and wider health care system, particularly given the focus on greater integration of health services, social care and prevention.

Back to our Trail of Well being day, our second stop will be at our bucolic cottage garden on Platform 1 of Kentish Town station. We have been inundated with praise for the project. Folk and staff tell us how happy the garden makes them and what a difference a planted up area makes to a very grey and drab urban surround. It’s amazing what a few raised beds can do folk! You only need a small space. Anyone got any ideas for littles corners of their community they would like to see planted up?

the trail of wellbeing

In the afternoon of the Trail day, we will be stopping for tea and herb scones at The Listening Space. This courtyard garden with its surround of espaliered fruit trees is now blooming with a lovely selection of plants and grasses with the onus on a palette of purples and yellow. We have even built a large pond which we are hoping will provide an inviting new home for lots of friendly wildlife. The Listening Space garden has been designed to provide a place of refuge and contemplation for the many isolated and vulnerable folk in our community. Please do come and visit us there.

In other news, I am delighted to report that I am meeting with a new client tomorrow. Sasha is aged 7, and he wants to teach him to grow veg. I am sow excited!

Finally, here’s an idea for you sideways gardeners. Many of our clients, and so many of you gardeners out there have unused side alleyways. We want to inspire you not just to fill them up with old pots and bins, but transform them into a productive and inspiring area: perhaps a fernery. We have lots of ideas, got an unused side garden, get in touch!

Spring fever…

Gosh, just where did March and April go?

We have been incredibly busy working on some really inspiring projects, donating a good chunk of our time to designing and planting up – on a voluntary basis, several community gardens.

Last weekend saw us curating a great fun big day on Platform 1 of Kentish Town overground station where we created a cottage garden complete with planted up old leathered boots! Our vision is to create a bucolic garden on the platform where weary travellers on their way home from work can empty their water bottles into the bucolic beds, or potter about whilst waiting for a train.

Last week also saw us planting up an absolutely wonderful garden which we have called, ‘The Listening Space,’ in the Caversham Group Practice – a health centre. This space filled with drifts of grasses, Pennisetum’s and Stipas, and inter-planted with herbaceous perennials ranging from Echinaceas and Knatias, to Rudbeckias and Achiella’s, is aimed at providing a place of refuge; of contemplation: a place of well-being. With plants bursting into life, imperceptibly growing every minute of every day now, we hope that folk will be inspired.

Wildflowers have always been a passion of ours. To this end, we were thrilled to be asked to create another wildflower garden in North London this week. Now, some may call this cheating, but we do sometimes work with wildflower turf. In terms of laying, it is just like normal garden turf, but our turf comes filled with anywhere from 20-80 flower and grass cultivars, bursting with glorious colour.

Talking about colour, we do really love it when a client gives us a strong colour brief. We are currently designing a very large project for another new client which includes major landscaping re-design. The brief is for the garden to be sexy, boho and chic, and low maintenance! The emphasis on planting in shades of green, purple and white. We are going for a look which we are calling ‘English exotic’ – more news soon.

What we are also really enjoying about working on this project is that the build will not take place until the autumn. With that in mind we would like to offer you all out there a note to self: autumn planting is MORE SUSTAINABLE. Planting at this time of year, which most folk do, places too much emphasis on watering. C’mon folks, let’s all work together to protect our environment and resource usage. Planting in the autumn allows the autumn and winter rains to gently allow roots to establish and the plants to settle in.

Another plea to you all – please don’t over mow your grass at this, or any time of year. One of the best ways to create a wildlife friendly garden is to let your grass grow long. This creates a cozy habitat for all manner of creatures. Or just simply leave an uncut area of lawn and see what grows. You will be amazed!


Shaping up nicely…

We are in thoroughly enjoying are meetings with Thameslink to plan our design for greening up the platforms at Kentish Town station, a pioneer project which we hope can role out across all stations.

Under consideration firstly is an Overground Orchard, planted with a selection of heritage apple and pear cultivars and inter-planted with soft fruit and cherries. We are visualizing the particularly beautiful spring blossom that adorns fruit trees, turning to leaf and fruit for passengers to pick. But then we are equally inspired by the idea of planting a romantic cottage garden, in a complete contrast to the harsh urban surround: The vintage charm of foxgloves and hollyhocks, runner beans and roses scrambling up coppiced hazel tripods. Long flowering wallflowers inter-planted with evergreen rosemary. Water cans laying around for pottering passengers.

Another interesting project is the library garden we have been asked to design. We love our clients’ idea to install a library at the end of the garden. We are looking forward to coming up with a planting plan in the form of a literary trail! The term book-worm very much comes to mind.

Yes, our February is shaping up nicely.

Whilst on the subject of shaping, we have lots of ideas for hard landscaping. Early spring is often a time when folk start to think about their hard landscaping and giving their fencing and a fresh look. We urge you not to only think in straight lines, but outside the box. Consider new materials, for example coppiced hazel and chestnut. Shape your fences with undulating lines. Paint your trellis and decking a different colour, match with pots.

We have just been given a brief to design a bright small decked outside space. With limited room for planting, hardscape colour and shape is going to be a vital part of our design.

In terms of helping with our shaping up personally, we have just signed up to receive a wonderful weekly offering of organic veg and fruit from The weekly bag comes packed with seasonal recipes. We loved turning jerusalem artichokes last week into a yummy dip, and the crow garlic, which some may see as a pernicious weed, into a wild garlic bread and pesto.

If your garden needs a late winter shape and clear up, do give us a call. Sometimes we enjoy nothing more than spending a morn doing a good ol’ garden clearance.