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Friday, 31 May 2013

Tree delivery service...

People will often go to all sorts of lengths to get that "must have" plant back home. It would seem that these budding gardeners in Vietnam wouldn't let the fact that they only have a small motorcycle available for transport put them off taking them home!

I love the way the trees nicely balance this bike


What lengths have you gone to when taking home a must have plant?

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Potty for a New Potting Shed

When we inherited our allotment it came with it a rather ancient old shed. As the allotment plots are actually fairly new the shed must have been second hand even when it was first put on the plot. It has been patched up and had bits of wood nailed on here and there to keep the mice etc out.

But sometimes enough is enough and you have to get a new one. This one was starting to be a bit like Triggers Broom in the BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses.
Trigger And that's what I've done. Maintained it for 20 years. This old brooms had 17 new heads and 14 new handles in its time.
Sid How the hell can it be the same bloody broom then?
Trigger There's the picture. What more proof do you need?
So it was finally decided the allotment would be given a new shed, somewhere safe to lock our tools away into and keep various items in without the mice eating seeds etc.

Mercia 7'x5' Apex Overlap Shed
I still haven't made my mind up what size to go for, the existing one is fairly small at 6'x4' which when you pack everything in can then make it hard to get things from the back. Ideally I would like one twice the size but that would mean digging up part of the herb bed to fit it in, and as summer is just around the corner I'm not really that keen to do that.

But sometimes it really is best to strike while the iron is hot! So I spent quite a lot of time trawling though various websites to find something suitable that I liked the look of. 6'x4' is a bit small and 8'x6' is a bit too big for the space.... but then I found on the Oldrids website the perfect solution....

Can you guess what that may be..... wait for it..... 7'x5' I wont have to move many of the herbs, and with the cool wet weather it really shouldn't be a problem for them even if we do need to move them. I'll just keep them extra well watered in any warmer weather (if only!!!) that we get in the coming weeks.

I think the herb bed will be moved next year anyway, as I would like to add a row of coldframes and it makes sense (well to me anyway!!!) to place these next to the shed. Partly because the coldframe can be built attached to the shed - well that's the theory, although maybe they would be better if they were free standing. Yet more decisions to make! but I don't need to decide on that until the autumn.

To stop the new shed from rotting we will set it on some old flagstones - conveniently we can use the old ones from the patio at home left over from the when the stone flags were laid. This wasn't done by the former  resident of our plot hence the constant need to fix the old one - plus it was rather ancient anyway.

I'm now left with yet another dilemma.... what colour to paint it once it arrives!

DG


Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Gardening Scotland 2013

One of the biggest Gardening Shows in Scotland starts on Friday at Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh. Gardening Scotland. The Chelsea of the North, starts just a week after the RHS Chelsea flower show ended.

As the build up commences, teams of  gardeners,  landscapers and designers are hard at work making the final preparations as they change the grassland into amazing show gardens that will look as if they have been there in that position for year.

Throughout the UK nurseries are making sure their plants are looking perfect so they boost into bloom at just the right time, whether that is forcing them to bloom early or holding them back to bloom late. The poor spring this year will play havoc with their plans. We all saw that at Chelsea with many plants that should have been in bloom or trees that should have been in leaf all several weeks behind.

As well as the professionals Gardening Scotland also plays host to hundreds of amateur growers, including school children, small gardening clubs as well as members of the many specialist plant societies, are putting the final touches to their exhibits.

As with  the big shows South of the Border, it takes many months of planning and preparation by the exhibitors, designers and organisers to put on a show that lasts for just three days, however Gardening Scotland has been taking place for well over a 10 years and so many of the exhibitors have had plenty of practice. Many of them have also just returned from Chelsea, amongst them is Binny Plants who are presenting their largest stand ever at Gardening Scotland. Their planned 10 metre square stand in the Floral Hall will feature a stream and path leading to the cut flower peony display including lots of old favourites as well as a few new varieties like Salvia Madeline. They will be hoping to go one step better than their Silver Gilt medal at Chelsea.
Binny Plants Silver-Gilt peony display at RHS Chelsea
A sneak peak at the Binny Plants Display in the Floral Hall
If you are making the trip to see the show then we would suggest making a long weekend of it, as there are so many other things to see and do in Edinburgh. Holiday Inn have two conveniently located hotels in Edinburgh and Edinburgh City West. If you want to make a full botanic weekend of it then why not visit the botanic gardens?

The 2013 Show will take place from Friday 31st May until Sunday 2nd June at the Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh. Tickets are available here priced £12/£14.



Have a great show!

DG

Monday, 27 May 2013

Almost The Real Deal

We have quite a small front garden which had been paved over by a previous resident of our house. Its not the prettiest but we have added colourful pots and plants to improve it. However it is also quite shady so the paving gets quite mossy and unsightly.

We had the idea of adding  small lawn and to make it look more like a garden, but with it so shady, and also the work in removing the slabs and whatever it underneath I decided against it - seemed like far too much like hard work.

So... options, what else could we do to make this ugly front garden look pretty again... I was going to just add more pots and see how that looked when I stumbled on to the Lakeland Furniture website (I was actually looking for more furniture ideas), and a brainwave struck...

What if we had astro turf!!!

Not the itchy and scratchy stuff associated with sports pitches - you know the stuff, covered in sand and like a brillo pad, so much so if you slide on it you can end up with a rather unpleasant rash... but a softer garden  based fake grass.

Lake Turf Grass from Lakeland

I used to think this stuff was quite obvious and not very convincing at all, but I had seen some at an exhibition   a year or so ago and was quite impressed, however I had no need for any - until now!

The good stuff is not a cheap option - although its not that expensive, especially when you factor in all that time you dont have to cut it any more (yay!!!), and it will look good in shady places like my front garden where the real stuff would suffer. My neighbours have a "lawn" which is 90% dandelions, and as they dont cut them enough I get the seeds and baby dandelions in all my pots... (grrr!!)

How good does that look, and no mowing!

So problem solved, now lets hope its easy to lay in place!

Friday, 24 May 2013

Chelsea 2013: The Daily Telegraph Garden

The Telegraph Garden for this years RHS Chelsea Flower Show has been designed by the renowned landscape and garden designer, Christopher Bradley-Hole, who returns to the show after an eight-year break.

The explanation on the RHS website states that :
This garden is a contemporary and contemplative composition that takes inspiration from the making of the English landscape, the Japanese approach to garden design and modern abstract art. 
The garden is a representation of England as a wooded landscape from which openings were cleared to allow settlement, civilisation and cultivation.  English native trees and shrubs are used in a graphic way to create an understorey that expresses the way a field pattern has been superimposed on the countryside.  Blocks of box, yew and beech form the field landscape.  The humble hazel, symbol of the working forest, is shown in a new ‘designed’ form.  Oak features as a structure – a colonnade of columns crafted from English oak.

I did love the colonnade idea.

For me it looked rather more like a game of giant Jenga or Tetris, it would work well in an office courtyard setting perhaps.
 

Chelsea 2013: Transformation Garden

Stoke-on-Trent City Council and partners are harnessing flower-power in promoting the city's growing international reputation as a hothouse for advanced materials technology.

The city has entered the Chelsea Flower Show with a stunning Transformation Garden – with the express intention of growing the city’s international reputation as a hothouse for inward investment and enterprise.
Every other show garden at Chelsea has been designed by big name designers, but Stoke-on-Trent is an expression of the city’s collaborative spirit.

It has been designed by the council’s multi award winning in-house landscape team. It will be a unique mix of rare precision engineered artefacts with beautiful plants and flowers, all symbolising some part of the city’s amazing story.


But it has attracted the support of renowned London based Bartholomew Landscaping who are bringing it all together down at Chelsea for free.


Plant List

TREES
Betula nigra

SHRUBS
Corylus maxima ‘Purpurea’
Paeonia suffruticosa (foliage)
Physocarpus opulifolius diable d'or
Cercidiphyllum japonicum

ENGLISH SHRUB ROSES
Rosa 'Darcy Bussell'
Rosa 'Kew Gardens'
Rosa 'Lady Emma Hamilton'
Rosa 'Lady of Shalott'
Rosa 'Munstead Wood'
Rosa 'The Lark Ascending'
Rosa 'Tranquility'

GRASSES
Carex buchananii
C.testacea          
Libertia ‘Sunset Strain’          
Miscanthus sinensis            
Stipa arundinacea  
Stipa gigantia
Stipa tenuissima  
Uncinia rubra              

FERNS
Athyrium niponicum 'Pictum'        
Dryopteris erythrosora        

AQUATICS
Nymphaea Colorado
Nymphaea Patio Joe

PERENNIALS
Aquilegia vulgaris var. stellata 'Ruby Port'
Anthriscus sylvestris 'Ravenswing'
Astrantia major ‘Venice’
Cosmos atrosanguineus 'Chocamocha'      
Euphorbia characias ‘Black Pearl’
Euphorbia x martinii
Euphorbia ‘Redwing’        
Eupatorum rogosum 'Chocolate'    
Foeniculum vulgare 'Purpureum' (foliage)
Geranium phauem ‘Samobor’
Geum ‘Firestorm’              
Geum’Koi’
Geum 'Prinses juliana'      
Heuchera ‘Crimson Curls’        
Heuchera ‘Green Spice’      
Heuchera 'Marmalade'
Heuchera ‘Rave on’
Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’
Knautia macedonica                          
Rodgersia pinnata
Thalictrum aquilegifolium ‘Album’  

TALL PERENNIALS & BIENNIALS
Digitalis 'Apricot Beauty'      
D. ‘Dalmation’
D. purpureum ‘Album’
Iris ‘Kent Pride’
Iris ‘Red Zinger’
Verbascum 'Cotswold Beauty’

Chelsea 2013: The Wasteland Garden


Kate Gould returned to The RHS Chelsea Flower during the centennial year with her first show garden The Wasteland. A regular exhibitor in the urban garden category, Kate has previously enjoyed several gold and silver awards along with the much coveted 'Best in category' for her 2007 - Upstairs Downstairs garden and 2009 - Eco Chic Garden.

The theme for The Wasteland was very much inspired by Kate's personal experiences working in and around London. There are many unloved spaces in towns and cities that can be renovated to create havens for wildlife and people. We do not need to demolish these areas to create new spaces as long as existing structures are made safe.



The Wasteland has been created on one such unused piece of ground, an abandoned water pumping works. Some of the waste from the site’s industrial past is re-used within the garden (including the headwall, storm drain, corrugated steel panels, old timber and crazy paving for flooring). Although old, these materials are given a new lease of life when re-worked into a modern garden that is designed for communal use.

The garden is part of a larger development, but this particular section offers a sense of privacy; there are spaces to sit and relax under the canopy of trees, enveloped by small shrubs and pretty perennials, with the sound of water gently burbling in the background.

Plants have been selected in some part for their naturalising qualities and to soften a hardscape in shades of grey. Lush green ferny foliage and bold leaf shapes cast shadows against dull concrete and metal while warmth is achieved by selected planting in blue and rich deep red. The garden is intended in the main as a late spring garden which would be quieter later in the year as natural water availability dries up.

The wasteland is currently a self-sponsored garden however interested parties are welcome to contact Kate Gould Gardens to discuss sponsorship opportunities. Anyone interested in recycling, regeneration or redevelopment may find the garden an ideal platform for their brand messaging.


Plant List
Acer palmatum 'Dissectum Viridis'
Allium atropurpureum
Anthriscus sylvestris
Aquilegia vulgaris var. stellata 'Ruby Port'
Asarum europaeum
Asplenium scolopendrium
Betula nigra
Brunnera macrophylla
Camassia cusickii
Cirsium rivulare
Convallaria majilis
Cornua 'Midwinter Fire'
Cornus controversa 'Variegata'
Cornus kousa
Corydalis flexuosa
Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata'
Dicentra 'Aurora'
Digitalis x mertonensis
Dryopteris erythrosora
Dryopteris felix-mas
Enkianthus campanulatus
Epimedium x youngianum 'Niveum'
Equisetum hymale
Erythronium 'Pagoda'
Euonymus alatus 'Compactus'
Euphorbia amygdaloides 'Robbiae',
Geranium phaeum var. phaeum 'Samobor'
Hakonechloa macra
Helleborus x hybridus 'Harvington Lime'
Hesperis matronalis ver. albiflora
Hosta 'Royal Standard'
Iris sibirica 'Dulas'
Imperata cylindrica 'Rubra'
Leucojum aestivum
Ligularia 'Desdemona'
Luzula nivea
Matteucia struthiopteris
Onoclea sensibilis
Paeonia 'Krinkled White'
Persicaria microcephala 'Red Dragon'
Polystichum aculeatum
Primula japonica 'Miller's Crimson'
Rheum palmatum
Rhododendron 'Albert Schweitzer'
Rodgersia 'Chocolate Wings'
Sanguisorba menziesii
Saxifraga 'Primuloides'
Selinum wallichianum
Sesleria autumnalis
Smilacina racemosa
Stewartia pseudocamellia
Stipa tenuissima
Typha minima
Viburnum opulus
Viburnum plicatum 'Mariesii'
Vinca minor 'Gertrude Jekyll'
Zantadeschia aethiopica


Chelsea 2013: East Village Garden

East Village, London’s newest neighbourhood based on the athlete village from the 2012 London Olympic Games exhibits show garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The East Village garden has an urban feel, characterised by materials including timber, glass and steel, which resonate with the contemporary design and construction of the East Village neighbourhood.



Sponsored by joint owner Delancey, the East Village Garden has been meticulously designed by worldrenowned landscape architects, Michael Balston and Marie-Louise Agius of Balston Agius.
Taking inspiration directly from the form, history and ethos of East Village, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and surrounding Lea Valley area, the garden celebrates the creation and delivery of London’s ‘Legacy Promise’ – a neighbourhood that offers the best of city living with the luxury of vast amounts of open space and spacious private balconies.

The design also draws on aspects of the local history and environment to create a work grounded in Stratford and its remarkable renaissance over the last 5 years, and to Delancey’s long-term commitment to London and a thoughtful approach to the social, built and environmental habitat.



Plant List
Acer pensylvanicum
Achillea millefolium 'Red Velvet'
Aquilegia stellata 'Blue Barlow'
Arunucus aethusifolius
Asarum europaeum
Athyrium 'Felix Femina'
Azalea ‘Golden Sunset’
Azalea ‘Lapwing’
Azalea ‘Nancy Waterer’
Azalea ‘Prince Henri de Pays Bas’
Azalea luteum
Blechnum spicant
Carex elata aurea
Centaurea 'Black Sprite'
Cornus canadensis
Cornus kousa
Cornus 'Venus'
Corylus avellana
Crambe cordifolia
Deschampsia flexuosa
Dipelta floribunda (TBC)
Dryopteris erythrosorus
Enkianthus campanulatus
Epimedium rubrum
Epimedium sulphureum
Euphorbia amygdaloides var. Robbiae
Euphorbia pasteuri
Fothergilla major
Geranium maccrorhizum 'White Ness'
Geranium 'Rozanne'
Geranium sanguineum 'Album'
Hebe rakaiensis
Hebe salicifolia
Helleborus foetidus
Hosta 'Halcyon'
Iris sibirica (Caesor's Brother)
Iris sibirica 'Butter and Sugar'
Iris 'Superstition'
Matteuccia struthiopteris
Meconopsis (species TBC, weather depending)
Melianthus major
Orlaya grandiflora
Paeonia 'Krinkled White'
Paeonia 'Shirley Temple
Papaver orientale 'Snow Goose'
Picea glauca 'Albertina Conica'
Pinus 'Mugo Mops'
Pinus wallichiana
Pittosporum tenuifolium
Pittosporum tobira
Polystichum munitum
Polystichum setiferum
Primula japonica 'Miller's Crimson'
Primula secundiflora
Rhododendron (late flowering - species TBC)
Rhododendron 'Macabeanum'
Rhododendron yakushimanum 'Koshiro Wada'
Rodgersia pinnata 'Chocolate Wing'
Salvia officinalis 'Purpurescens'
Sinocalycanthus
Trollius x cultorum 'Orange Princess'
Viburnum opulus
Viburnum plicatum 'Mariesii'
Zantedeschia aethiopica 'Crowborough'
Zelkova serrata

Chelsea 2013: Hilliers Win 68th Consecutive Gold at Chelsea

Hilliers Risk Garden At Chelsea Flower Show 2013
Hilliers won their 68th consecutive Gold medal at the 2013 RHS Chelsea Flower Show with their garden Risk. A stunning garden contrasting bright colours, I particularly liked the building above contrasted with the vivid pink seating. 
Hilliers Risk Garden At Chelsea Flower Show 2013

The Hillier display is always impressive, and this year they seem to have exceeded themselves, this water feature is stunning.

Hilliers Risk Garden At Chelsea Flower Show 2013

Manageing Director Hillier Nurseries and designer of the Risk Garden, Andrew McIndoe explained “Risk is the theme which links the Hillier and Beazley businesses. Beazley insure against risk, based upon their expertise and their depth of knowledge. At Hillier Nurseries, we have to engage all our experience and skills to overcome risk and so create successful and award-winning plants, exhibits and ultimately thriving gardens for our customers. Our Exhibit aims to be the ultimate masterclass in managing risk.”

Hilliers Risk Garden At Chelsea Flower Show 2013
Stunning Cornus

Monument - sculpture in slate by Tom Stogdon
Monument - sculpture in slate by Tom Stogdon
Hilliers Risk Garden At Chelsea Flower Show 2013

The towering silver birch trees compliment the war memorial around which the garden is built.

Hilliers Risk Garden At Chelsea Flower Show 2013

Hilliers Risk Garden At Chelsea Flower Show 2013
And who doesnt like a well grown monkey puzzle.
This was one of my favourite gardens in the grand pavilion, and to be honest it is much more of a real garden than many of the show gardens outside, a very well deserved gold medal to Hilliers!

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Chelsea 2013: Culm View Badgers

One of my favourite Chelsea displays this year included these badgers from Culm View Nursery.The judges liked it too awarding it Gold.

Barbecue summer or wishful thinking

Well the makeover of the patio continues apace, with the fences sorted as well the paving, we went for natural stone in the end and it looks great.

So I am still planning the furniture to use and we are now thinking about a BBQ, hopefully we will get a decent summer this year and be able to sit out with something tasty on the barbecue. I'm quite a fan of experimenting with food and read a number of food blogs and sites for new recipes and ideas.

The BBC Goodfood website has loads of alternative BBQ meals, so I have no excuse to just pop on a sausage or two! Last year I tried Barbecued Greek lamb with tzatziki, which was pretty simple and very tasty!

To make the Greek style Lamb, simply mash up some fresh garlic to a paste (or cheat and buy a ready mashed jar). Mix this with olive oil a dash of lemon juice some oregano and also thyme leaves,  seasoning as you prefer with salt and pepper. Place the lamb into a large porcelain dish and pour the marinade over it. 

You could then cook in the oven but to cook on the barbecue, wait for the coals to turn ashen, then lay the lamb on the grill and cook for 15 mins on each side for meat that is pink, or 20 mins on each side for well done. Remember to take care on the BBQ checking that your food is properly cooked through and then leave the meat to rest for 10 mins before carving up and serving.

However before I dream of a BBQ summer, we still have to decide on the actual furniture for the patio, now the slabs are laid I dont want to hide them all under large garden furniture, so I have pretty much decided to go for a bisto set. Bents Garden and Home have a great selection on their website, and I have pretty much decided on this one:
Capella Bistro Set from Bents
As it is not too big it wont dominate the space and will still allow you to see the lovely stone slabs underneath.

I have my summer bedding arriving this week - I cheated and ordered that online this year, with the various projects at home and on the allotment I opted now to sow too many seeds - although I did do a few. But most are coming as plug plants ready for my pots and baskets - I am also doing some for my neighbours too this year which should give the road a bright shot of colour near to my home!

So hopefully with my plans of BBQ's and summer bedding we wont end up with a washout on the weather like last year - well here's hoping at least!!

DG

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

EU plan to Outlaw seeds not "Approved"


A shocking new EU plan will make growing, reproducing or trading ANY veg seed not 'approved' by governments illegal.

The effect? An almost instant extinction of 1000's of rare, heritage varieties, crippling of vital breeding work for new crops & ...destabilising global food security. (While conveniently giving giant corporations a 100% monopoly on our food system) Way to go bureaucrats!

It's not too late. Sign the Europe-wide petition here and save the future of home growers.

http://www.realseeds.co.uk/seedlaw.html

Chelsea 2013: Stunning Japanese Garden at Chelsea wins best Artisan Garden

An Alcove (Tokonoma) Garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013
An Alcove (Tokonoma) Garden
Winner of the Artisan Gardens category at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013 is the stunning Alcove garden. Kazuyuki Ishihara, the designer, explained that the garden represents an alcove within a traditional Japanese tatami room, decorated with a hanging scroll and flowers to delight and enchant. It is part of Japanese culture to speak with important people in such spaces, and this concept forms a key part of the garden; visitors can let their hearts speak out whilst enjoying the scenery and seasonal references in the design.

An Alcove (Tokonoma) Garden


An Alcove (Tokonoma) Garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013

A well deserved gold and even more deserved winner of the Best Artisan Garden.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Prince Harry Garden at Chelsea - The reveal

Sentebale Forget-Me-Not Garden

After mentioning Prince Harrys Garden at Chelsea recently (see here) the show opened today and here is the finished garden, looking for more colourful than the illustration. The garden won a silver-gilt award.


Thursday, 16 May 2013

Prince Harry at Chelsea Flower Show

B&Q Sentebale 'Forget Me Not' Garden
Prince Harrys involvement at the 2013 Chelsea Flower Show has reportedly led to an increased demand for tickets. His Charity Sentebale, which supports vulnerable children in the African country of Lesotho is represented by this years B&Q garden, Sentebale. The garden is designed by Jenny Blom and the name, Sentebale means "Forget me not" in Sesotho (the language spoken in Lesotho)

It will be interesting to see if the Royal Connection helps to ensure a Gold.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Decisions Decisions

The make over for the patio continues apace, with the new fencing completed, and looking lovely. We were rather fortunate as one of our neighbours was having a big run of fencing put up and we asked the fence company to do ours at the same time. What a lovely job they did too, so that really sets the patio off, far better than the shabby old fences we had before.

I just need to paint them now - although I haven't decided yet what colour to go for, possibly a cream colour rather than a dark wood stain, maybe even try and match the painted walls on the back of the house. Which reminds me they need a new coat of paint too!

I am still deciding on the paving stones to use. We have narrowed it down to a handful of choices, all are natural stone, and I want to tie together the paving colour with the fences. I have chosen several shades of sandstone - there is a lovely stone yard quite local to us that have given me samples of the stone i liked. I'll no doubt have a decision soon!!

Current first choice for the patio...

The pond is ready to be built too. I have had the new railway sleepers delivered along with some rather dramatic looking metal fixings, I had not anticipated needing such chunky looking screws to hold it together but best to be safe than have any problems! My Dad and Brother have been roped in to built it, so that should be done next weekend. Then I can sort out the pond liner, and filtration.

The final decision is the garden furniture. I seem to be spending a lot of time looking round various shops and websites. My current flavour of the month is Hayes Garden World who have a huge selection of outdoor garden furniture so much so that there is almost too much choice!

What I have decided on however is I want to have a smallish table and chairs, and then a matching sofa/bench that ties in. Possibly rattan but i keep looking at the hardwood furniture and maybe I'd rather have that.
How nice is this!! (Oxford Woven Rattan Bistro Set)
It was easy finding the sunloungers for my mother in law, but choosing for my self is much harder! Maybe i'm too fussy or perhaps too indecisive, there's probably a joke in there somewhere haha!!

DG x

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Courtyard Gardens in Morocco


With the current weather as it is I wouldn’t blame you for wanting to just hide indoors and hope and hope for some sunshiny days to spend out in the garden.

You may just want to be out in the garden in shorts and t-shirts – but find yourself still reverting back to those trousers and jumpers. Although sometimes there can be nothing nicer than wearing a really good pair of corduroy trousers and still getting down to some heavy duty Spring time work in the garden, all wrapped up and cosy.

Lands’ End have some great choices for this kind of garden wear and with a lifetime guarantee on all their clothing this can last from Season to season. You just don’t know whether we’re going to get that Indian Summer this year – so it’s best to be prepared.

If you are feeling a need for heat and a getaway to spend some time out in a garden, where better to go for inspiration and pleasure than a Moroccan courtyard garden?


Sheltered from the outside world and its endless heat and activity, Moroccan courtyard gardens are inner sanctuaries at the heart of residential houses and palaces. They are personal spaces, designed with privacy for the family, and for women, in mind. These riads – houses with courtyard gardens – are typically inwardly focused, with windows looking out onto the beautifully planted and geometrically aligned central spaces. 




Courtyard gardens also provide protection from the sun and heat of the Moroccan climate. They are gentle places where shade from the buildings combines with water features that encourage cool air circulation. Courtyard gardens typically have a central fountain, often springing from a surrounding of glazed tiles adorned with geometric mosaics. Some may have small pools, with water lilies (Nymphaceae) or lotuses (Nelumbo).

There are many elements that come together to make up a Moroccan garden, and one of the most readily observable is its emphasis on geometry. The distinctive geometrical forms of Islamic style have their roots in the idea of representation of order and the natural world. In this way, the square may represent the four elements, and flowing curves may represent plant forms. Taken together, the various patterns express creation, infinity and the perfection of the spiritual world.


When it comes to colour, Moroccan courtyard gardens often combine lush, vibrant colours with softer, more tranquil shades. The walls of the riad are typically plastered and often painted white or pale terracotta. Mosaic tiling along paths and around fountains or other features may be simple in white and black, or it may incorporate many brighter colours such as red, yellow and green. There may be accessories including lanterns, low mosaic tables and jewel embroidered soft furnishings. This all forms a backdrop for the verdant greens of trees, shrubs and other flowering plants.




Citrus trees are an integral part of the Moroccan courtyard garden. The graceful, refined forms of lemon (Citrus limon), lime (Citrus aurantifolia) and orange (Citrus sinensis) trees in elegant containers combine with their delicate white blossoms and the sunshine colours of fruit. There are many other citrus varieties which may be included in a courtyard garden, including mandarin (Citrus reticulata) and many hybrids and cultivars.

The theme of abundance is typically continued with fragrant climbers, such as delicate white jasmine (Jasminum) or star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides), or glorious pink Bougainvillea, that wind their way enchantingly around pillars and along walls. There may also be evergreen trees such as cypress (Cupressas) and bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) to add contrast and rich, sweet scents. Other gardens may have palms, such as Washingtonia and Phoenix.


Aromatic Mediterranean herbs such as ArtemisiaSantolina and Moroccan sea holly (Eryngium variifolium) are frequent additions, with their soft, silvery greens and greys. Mint (Mentha) and basil (Ocimum) are both popular herbal teas in Morocco and often found in gardens. Blue delphiniums and pink geraniums add splashes of colour.

Staying in a riad is a great way to experience the beauty and simplicity of the Moroccan courtyard, while museums such as the
Musée de l’Art in Marrakech and the Musée Dar Batha in Fez often have beautiful examples of this type of garden. Though not a courtyard garden, the Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech is also a wonderful place to gain an insight into Moroccan style, use of colour and typical plants, from the vibrant blue square fountain and water lily pool to the pale terracotta walls at the entrance and palm fronded walkways. 
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