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.




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