Garden Design in Milton Keynes

Home of the world’s first infinity pool and 100 trees and shrubs per resident, Milton Keynes has always blazed a trail in landscape design…

As Touch Landscapes opens a new office in Milton Keynes this summer, the city marks its 50th anniversary. Demand for a new town in the Oxford-Cambridge corridor led to this London overspill town being built. Given the Government’s recent announcement of the creation of 14 ‘garden villages’, it’s useful to reflect on how Milton Keynes became a leading example of exemplary garden planning.

Milton Keynes' famous Octo sculpture
Milton Keynes’ famous Octo sculpture

Greening up the city
So where did it all start? Milton Keynes was founded in the late 1960s, at a time of optimism, ambition and technological innovation. By 1967, the media were describing the lack of social amenities and division of social classes in new towns such as Crawley and Stevenage as ‘new town blues’. Planners complained that these earlier new towns had been built with no flexibility or space for organic growth.

Milton Keynes would be the first of its kind. Richard Llewelyn-Davies, who led the architectural team responsible for the city’s Master Plan explained that a city had to be designed with as much freedom and looseness as possible. His plan designated 40% of the town to green spaces. He planned a network of roads connected by roundabouts. Milton Keynes’s grid curved with the contours of the land. Although designing for climate change was ahead of the curve in the 1960s, Milton Keynes would have linear valley parks with lakes to hold floodwater.

In 1970 architect Fred Roche moved to Milton Keynes and became general manager of the Milton Keynes Development Corporation. He presented his plans to the Department of the Environment and insisted builders construct at the outer edge of the grid first. Milton Keynes would be of the scale he’d originally envisaged, not compromised by future funding cuts.

Milton Keynes defied 1970s austerity because it was built using public money. The Government lent the corporation money, and the corporation could return its investment because it was entitled, under the New Towns Act, to purchase land at agricultural prices. As soon as this land was developed, it became far more valuable: and the profit paid for Milton Keynes’s infrastructure.

At the centre of Milton Keynes’s infrastructure lies the city centre and Midsummer Boulevard. On this tree-lined street the sun rises at its east end on the summer solstice. This was no accident. In the early 1970s, architects consulted Greenwich observatory to obtain the exact angle required at their latitude in Buckinghamshire and then talked engineers into shifting Milton Keynes’s grid of roads a few degrees.
Roads were raised or sent below ground level so streets could be devoted to pedestrians. The Centre MK shopping centre was designed as a centre of broad boulevards edged in expensive Cornish granite and populated with London plane trees.

The Government wound up the development corporation in 1992, the year of Fred Roche’s death. Milton’s Keynes’s population had swelled and the corporation had achieved its goal: the town was an economic and popular success. Its population then went on to increase by 18.1% between 2004 and 2014, exceeding its 250,000 target. The company left notable legacies, such as the much celebrated Parks Trust, which was created to nurture Milton Keynes’s bountiful open spaces and still does, funded by rent from property owned by the corporation.

Although the council has also benefited from bequeathed land that has helped finance the city’s infrastructure, from now on, just like everywhere else, new developments must be funded by the private sector.

Earth matters
The land on which Milton Keynes was built was originally marshlands, hedgerows, ancient woodland and wildflower meadows. The design of Milton Keynes took inspiration from townships in The Netherlands that adopted a naturalistic approach to landscaping, deploying native species in housing areas. Houses and industrial estates are often secluded and flanked by grassy banks and thickets of willow, pine, dogwood and roses. Today, Milton Keynes has more than 22 million trees and shrubs, around 100 for every resident.

Roses thrive in clay so are a sound choice for Milton Keynes gardens with heavy clay soil. Fertile, but slow to drain and susceptible to waterlogging, clay soils can be improved by digging in bulky organic matter or grit.

By contrast, some Woburn Sands homeowners can expect to find a greensand soil in their garden, which is deep and well drained. Less fertile, this type of sandy free-draining soil benefits from the application of organic matter to improve moisture retention. Whatever soil a gardener has been gifted with, it’s always better to select plants, which thrive in their local vernacular, rather than working against it. “Right plant, right place” is our philosophy.

Cultural adventure
Sculptures punctuate the abundant trees and shrubs in Milton Keynes. There are about 50 public works of art, including the famous concrete Friesian cows created by Liz Leyh in 1978. During their lifetime the cows have led a rather eventful life. They have been stolen, placed in compromising positions, vandalised, decapitated and then repaired. No stranger to controversy, the cows have often featured as headline news in the national media, keen to brand the city with a rather quirky image. Situated by the Milton Keynes Museum, the cows continue to be visited by dog walkers and passers by. Children cannot resist climbing on these lovable beasts.

Produced by artist Wendy Taylor, the sinuous figure of eight, Octo infinity sculpture was first unveiled in October 1983. Octo is a continuous ribbon of stainless steel and is a memorial sculpture dedicated to Llewelyn-Davies. More recently produced, the Leaping Man Olympic tribute sculpture by artist Clare Bigger in 2014, celebrates the success of Woburn Sands’ athlete Greg Rutherford.

Cutting-edge design
In The Centre: MK’s open square, Stuart Mosscrop, one of the shopping centre’s designers, was criticised for spending too much on a futuristic ‘infinity pool’ edged in Cornish granite. “We’re investing money, not spending it” he told the permanent secretary of the day. His expensive pool was ripped out in 2010, shortly before English Heritage could list it. Its turquoise water as been replaced by a barren plaza of fake grass and imported black granite.

Milton Keynes' first infinity pool (destroyed in 2010)
Milton Keynes’ first infinity pool (destroyed in 2010)

Of course the public areas in Milton Keynes’s city centre contrast wildly to the historic gardens in the surrounding areas.

World’s first landscape gardener

Woburn Abbey & Gardens, close to Woburn village is perhaps the most famous landscape in the area. Designed by Humphry Repton – the first person to call himself a landscape gardener – the gardens were well known for their Victorian style. The 6th Duke commissioned Repton to enhance the gardens at Woburn Abbey in the early 19th century and Repton’s ‘Red Book’ of designs included plans for a rockery and a pavilion as part of the formal ‘Pleasure Grounds’. Inspired by Repton’s original designs, in 2014 the estate team restored and recreated Woburn Abbey Gardens.

The designs were brought to life and the current gardeners restored the rockery and commissioned the construction of a majestic pavilion. With so much to see and do today, Woburn Abbey Gardens also offers a hornbeam maze, Chinese dairy, restored aviary, contemporary bog garden and more.

Grand designs and controversy
On the other side of Milton Keynes, Stowe House in Buckingham is a grade I listed house set in 250 acres of fine landscaped gardens filled with lakes, temples and monuments. Stowe is named after a small Buckinghamshire village of the same name. In 1589 John Temple purchased the Stowe Manor and estate.

'The Rotunda' is one of many temples at Stowe
‘The Rotunda’ is one of many temples at Stowe

The gardens and parkland were controversially expanded, absorbing some of the nearby villages. The creation of a private deer park at Stowe in the 1630s and 1640s brought the Temple family into conflict with neighbours, who contested the ownership of the land, as well as tenants, who were deprived of their traditional access to the forest to gather kindling and graze livestock.

Lord Temple’s large deer park had multiple purposes. It allowed existing views to be extended and protected from development, hunting opportunities to provide the family with meat and enhanced the social standing of the family.

In 1712, Stowe consisted of 32 houses and 180 residents but as the original estate expanded, the village was absorbed until the only remaining feature was Stowe Church.

From 1720s-1748, many garden designers were employed at Stowe. Each experimented with styles for which they would later become famous, helping to make Stowe what it is today. Lord Cobham liked to work with the most fashionable forward thinkers of the time. These included James Gibbs, William Kent and Lancelot Capability Brown to name a few. Stowe’s gardens enabled Cobham to show off his immense wealth and good taste.

Since 1989, Stowe’s gardens have been in the hands of the National Trust. 2015 saw the start of a new phase of restoration for the gardens at Stowe. Steeped in history, the gardens continue to evolve.

Of course Milton Keynes remains very much at the forefront of landscape design and is a leading light in combining green spaces with conurbations. As the first place in the UK to require all new developments to be carbon neutral, it is also now a global leader in low carbon living.

In the pipeline is a new £4.5 million pavilion for Campbell Park. Attracting visitors and enhancing the environment for the local community, the building will feature natural timber and rainwater gardens, whilst offering appealing ‘vistas’.

Today, Milton Keynes is one of Britain’s greenest and fastest growing towns. In the age of austerity, other UK conurbations are looking at Milton Keynes’s landscape planning legacy to see if they can emulate it.

July 20, 2017

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An in-depth Look at London Garden Design

London garden designer
Image courtesy of GROW London

Business website recently reported that London is the best place to set up a horticultural business. So why is this? Also, what are homeowners willing to spend their money on and what can we expect to see appearing in people’s gardens over the next 12 months? In Touch Landscapes’ latest blog, our principal designer Georgina Chahed explores London garden design in more detail and unearths the latest trends in outdoor living…

According to a report by AXA Business Insurance, the average household in the capital spends £600 a year on improving their garden and those in the North East and Scotland are also keen call in the professionals.

The survey of 2,000 UK adults reveals that London is the best place to start a gardening and landscaping business. Whilst the average Briton is prepared to stump up just £473 on garden upkeep every year – the average Londoner spends £600, with those in Scotland (£556) and North East (£514) also outspending the rest of the UK.

In contrast, those living in Wales, the South West and North West all spend below £400 – suggesting that they prefer to do the work themselves when it comes to horticulture.

Homeowners are looking for landscape experts
Despite this, 64% of those surveyed said they would a hire professional if they needed to erect a wall, with 61% saying the same if they needed to construct a deck, 58% if they needed to put in fencing, and 59% if they needed to chop down a tree.

With regards consumer price expectation, the average consumer would quote a price of £400 for common building tasks, £390 for a garden design, £378 for terracing, £290 for a pond installation and £364 for fence construction – a price that includes both materials and labour.

Gareth Howell, managing director of AXA Insurance commented: “The figures quoted by the public for common landscaping, design and gardening jobs were very low indeed, however.

“This shows a low appreciation first of the sheer number of hours that go into this work, expert knowledge of disciplines landscape architecture, design and horticulture, as well as, understanding construction, planning and site drainage standards.”

“People working in the trades have a massive education job to do when they meet clients – as we’ve emphasised, having a good portfolio of work where you can demonstrate value and results is one good step.”

But key findings from the 2017 annual landscape trends study just released by style website Houzz says homeowners are prepared to spend much more than this on renovating their outdoor space. This report claims that only 12% of their 2,400 responses from UK homeowners using the Houzz platform indicated spending £500 or less on recent renovations, with 20% spending over £10,000.

Demand for low maintenance gardens
Unsurprisingly 94% of homeowners update their planting, citing having flowers, being low maintenance and attracting bees and butterflies as their top three reasons for making the change. Similarly, despite concerns by organisations such as the Royal Horticultural Society who believe many homeowners are paving over their front gardens, real lawns are still very popular, with just 12% planning to remove their turf altogether.

Five biggest garden improvements
The study goes on to detail the top five hard landscaping improvements homeowners will be making to their gardens. These include: patio/terrace (57%), planters/containers (56%), fence/border (50%), arbour/gazebo/pergola/trellis (30%), and shed/workshop (28%). Other trends revealed by the study include the rise of the ‘outdoor living room’ and garden lighting.

Triggers for redesigning outdoor spaces comprise: wanting to personalise a new space (44%), fixing deterioration (24%), and wanting to do it all along but only just getting around to it (23%). In terms of key motivators, the challenges homeowners face this year, include: poor use of space (45%), limited space (24%) and lack of privacy (23%).

So, with Londoners spending the most on their gardens nationally and recognising the need to call in the professionals, it’s easy to see why garden design is so popular in London. In the months to come, a peek over the garden fence looks set to reveal a sparkling patio, trendy planters or an architectural outdoor structure. City folk know that clever use of outdoor space and privacy are more important than ever when space is of a premium. Therefore, the appetite for modern or classic garden design in the capital is set to grow.

Touch Landscapes is based in London and Buckinghamshire. Local areas covered include: London, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey, Milton Keynes, Kingston and Richmond.

Telephone Touch Landscapes on 07872 590303 or email to arrange your initial garden design consultation.

June 20, 2017

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Touch Landscapes Awarded Best Of Houzz 2016








Over 35 Million Monthly Unique Users Nominated Best Home Building,
Renovating and Design Professionals in the UK and Around the World

London, UK, Monday 8th February 2016 – Kingston-upon-Thames based Touch Landscapes has won “Best Of Customer Service” on Houzz®, the leading online platform for home renovation and design. The successful garden and landscape design practice was selected by the 35 million plus monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community, from among more than one million active home building, renovating and design industry professionals.

The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Customer Service honours are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2015. A “Best Of Houzz 2016” badge will appear on winners’ Houzz profiles, as a sign of their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metropolitan area on Houzz.

“We are delighted to have received this top accolade. It demonstrates both the popularity of our garden and landscape design services in the Houzz community and our commitment to first-class customer service” commented Georgina Chahed, founder and principle garden designer at Touch Landscapes.

“Anyone building, renovating or decorating looks to Houzz for the most talented and service-oriented professionals” said Andrew Small, managing director of Houzz UK. “We’re so pleased to recognise Touch Landscapes, voted one of our “Best Of Houzz” professionals by our enormous community of homeowners and design enthusiasts actively renovating and decorating their homes.”

To find out more about Touch Landscapes’ garden and landscape design services Tel: 07872 590303 Email: visit: or follow Touch Landscapes on Houzz at:


For media enquiries, please contact Georgina Chahed principal garden designer at Touch Landscapes on Tel: 07872 590303 or Email:

Notes for editors

About Touch Landscapes
Based in Kingston-upon-Thames, Touch Landscapes designs exquisite gardens and landscapes for domestic and commercial clients. Offering a range of services from consultancy to complete project management, Touch Landscapes helps clients realise the potential of their outdoor space, creating gardens and landscapes that reflect their personality and practical requirements. In 2015 Touch Landscapes scooped a silver Royal Horticultural Society award for its show border ‘The Teacup Garden’ at BBC Gardeners’ World Live.

About Houzz
Houzz is the leading platform for home renovation and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow and Tokyo. Houzz and the Houzz logo are registered trademarks of Houzz Inc. worldwide.

February 8, 2016

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Why do I need a garden designer?

Surrey garden design

In this blog post Touch Landscapes’ owner and principal garden designer Georgina Chahed gives the lowdown on why property owners need a garden designer…

Homeowners often find their garden has been left in a mess following the completion of their fantastic new extension. Bi-folding doors have been installed but the view of the back garden doesn’t live up to expectations. They know they should do something about it, but where should they begin? Do they need a landscaper or a garden designer and how will this affect the cost?

For those who are just looking for a lawn, a shed and a patio, there is little or no point in getting a garden designer involved. If however, they want the garden to look as stunning as their new kitchen, then they need the services of a good designer.

A safe pair of hands
A professional designer will do a lot more than just measure up and produce drawings for a new garden. They will contact landscapers capable of carrying out the work and at the most competitive price. They will source materials, liaise with the landscapers, monitor the build and find the right plants. A designer will also provide a maintenance schedule to ensure the space stays looking fantastic, for longer. Crucially, a designer will also check to make sure every detail is perfect before completion.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch
Clients are surprised when they approach a landscaper who offers them a ‘free’ design service as part of their design and build package, only to discover that by employing the services of a garden designer as well, they can actually end up paying less. As I source plants from specialist wholesale nurseries at lower prices and can tender the landscaping out to several companies, I am able to offer clients a better deal overall.

Rather than giving them an off-the-peg garden, I will deliver something that’s unique to my clients’ individual requirements and personal style. As part of my service I introduce clients to the latest materials on the market and cherry pick the best high performance plants, selecting less ubiquitous varieties, setting their garden apart from their neighbours’.

The devil’s in the detail
So often I see poorly designed gardens that are unbalanced, aesthetically clumsy, or are simply not fulfilling their potential. As part of the site analysis and layout planning, I use my designers’ eye to get the project right first time and ensure all the components work together cohesively.

To find out more about our Surrey garden design and landscape design service, please telephone us on 07872 590303 or email

July 27, 2015

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RHS Silver Medal for Touch Landscapes at BBC Gardeners’ World Live

Show visitors enjoying The Teacup Garden
Show visitors enjoying The Teacup Garden

Designed by Georgina Chahed of Touch Landscapes, The Teacup Garden has been awarded a silver medal at BBC Gardeners’ World Live.

Inspired by the theme the ‘Industrial Heritage of the West Midlands’, in her first Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) display Georgina has delivered a breath-taking subtropical border. The Teacup Garden contains a sleek contemporary water feature set on sandstone, enveloped by bold architectural foliage and vibrant blooms.

Georgina Chahed showing her RHS award
Georgina Chahed showing her RHS award

On receiving her prestigious RHS medal, Georgina enthused: “All the advance planning and minute attention to detail has really paid off; the garden looks beautiful and the award is the icing on the cake. I’d like to express my gratitude to our volunteers, suppliers and everyone who has supported my journey along the way.”

Georgina wanted to convey a sense of excitement in the border and show that even with a small space, a lot can be achieved. The border takes inspiration from the rich heritage of Wedgwood and celebrates the legacy of the master potters who made their name in the West Midlands.

Exotic gardens typically look their best in late summer so the challenge was to source plants which peak in June, whilst also complementing the Jasperware inspired blue and white colour scheme. The plant list comprises a winning combination of hardy and tender exotics, and familiar garden favourites suited to the same conditions, such as ferns, heucheras and hostas.

Eclectic planting: ferns, heucheras and hostas on The Teacup Garden
Eclectic planting: ferns, heucheras and hostas on The Teacup Garden

To find out more about Touch Landscapes’ garden and landscape design services telephone: 07872 590303 email: or visit:

June 18, 2015

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Let’s do this thing

Less than one week until the build commences for BBC Gardeners’ World Live, Touch Landscapes’ principle designer Georgina Chahed gives a progress report on The Teacup Garden…

The finishing line is in sight. Give or take one or two niggles, I’m feeling upbeat about our show border so I prepared this blog to fill you in on what’s been happening over the past few weeks.

Queens of the Stone Age
The stone circle has arrived and I’m happy to report that it’s a really handsome sandstone! The central paver is vast and couldn’t be lifted, so we placed a thin track of packaging across the floor and gingerly rolled it over the fibre pieces and into the studio.

Nursery Stories
Following the trip to our main nursery, I spent some time analysing the plant composition again. It’s easy to panic at this stage and randomly add in extra plants that look nice, without paying attention to what they add horticulturally. With this in mind, I’ve resolved to focus more on colour and pay extra attention to my middle tier of plants. With these subtle amendments I feel we’ve moved a step closer to having a truly winning plant combination.

Our  plant leaflet
Our brand spanking new plant leaflet!

The latest development, our show leaflet, is now ready. Here’s a sneak preview, pictured above. Now the search is on to find the perfect mulch…

BBC Gardeners’ World Live is taking place at the National Exhibition Centre from 11-14 June 2015 and I very much look forward to meeting you at our Teacup Garden.If you haven’t already booked your tickets, then now’s your chance. Horticultural serenity is just a click away…

June 1, 2015

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Teacup Garden Update Blog


Touch Landscapes’ principle designer Georgina Chahed gives a progress report on The Teacup Garden…

Back in February I submitted a master plan, provisional planting plan and 3D drawings to apply for a show garden at BBC Gardeners’ World Live. The Royal Horticultural Society promptly gave the design the green light and I set to work, planning the project.

As a first time show garden exhibitor, I had some sleepless nights early on; what if the plants arrive looking like hell or get ravaged by the wind and rain? Other burning issues along the way included: getting the levels right on the sloped bank where the garden will be situated; selecting the right materials for the stone circle; and crucially, how to make sure the plants flower during show week.

Although I can’t control the weather or anticipate every eventuality, it has been possible to troubleshoot many of the worst-case scenarios and come up with solutions in advance. The good news is that now, six weeks until the show, most of the groundwork has been done and the garden is really starting to take shape. Ninety-five per cent of the plants have been ordered, as has the bespoke cut sandstone and teacup water feature.

Preparation is everything
Following consultation with local landscapers, we have finalised the construction of the stone circle. I’m also proud to reveal that Stonemarket, one of the leading stone paving suppliers in the UK, has generously donated the sandstone for our ‘saucer’.

Although The Teacup Garden capitalises on the rich mix of foliage shapes and textures present in a tropical environment, plants with floral interest will also be included. I have therefore researched back up options, in the event that our blooms don’t deliver on the day.

A problem shared
Having a regular and open dialogue with your nurseries really pays dividends at this stage. Without having healthy plants that perform, you basically don’t have a show garden! We are looking forward to seeing our plants in the poly tunnel at our main nursery next week. I will prepare a mock up of the design by placing the palm, shrubs and perennials together in their pots at the nursery.

With the show rosta almost full, we now have almost enough helpers to see us through the show. Our volunteers are raring to go and have started familiarising themselves with the plant list already.

They share my vision for The Teacup Garden – a soothing reflective pool engulfed by luxuriant architectural foliage. I want to inspire visitors to inject an exotic holiday feeling into their own gardens at home. Tropical plants are very often fast growing, providing an instant effect at a relatively low cost and compared to regular garden favourites, many exotics require little or no primping and pruning. Contrary to what many people believe, not all tropical plants are tender. Yes, tender varieties need winter protection or to go under glass in winter but I think people will be surprised by how low maintenance a tropical garden can be.

BBC Gardeners’ World Live is taking place at the National Exhibition Centre from 11-14 June 2015. Click here to read our show press release.

April 30, 2015

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Call for Volunteers!

Show presenter Monty Don with visitors at BBC Gardeners' World Live
Show presenter Monty Don with visitors at BBC Gardeners’ World Live

It is eight weeks to BBC Gardeners’ World Live today where we will be unveiling our first Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) display, The Teacup Garden.

If you would like to help out with planting or greeting visitors at the NEC on any day from Saturday 6 June to Sunday 14 June, please get in touch. We have spaces for three more volunteers on our roster.

Shopping for plants at BBC Gardeners' World Live
Shopping for plants at BBC Gardeners’ World Live

We’ll shout you lunch and give you access to the show on the day/s you are able to help. This is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the buzz and camaraderie of an RHS garden show and get a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes!

Telephone Georgina on 07872 590303 or email to get involved.

April 16, 2015

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Subtropical drama in a teacup unveiled by newcomer at BBC Gardeners’ World Live

BBCGWL 2015 Visual 4
The Teacup Garden

Newcomer to the world of garden design, Georgina Chahed will be realising her vision of a subtropical border entitled ‘The Teacup Garden’ at BBC Gardeners’ World Live (11-14 June 2015). Georgina Chahed set up her practice Touch Landscapes in December 2013 and the Teacup Garden will be her first Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) display.

Beating off competition from rivals, the design has been given the green light by show organisers, the RHS. Working to the category theme, the ‘Industrial Heritage of the West Midlands’, the design takes inspiration from the rich heritage of Wedgwood. Garden designer Georgina Chahed commented: “I wanted to bring a sense of excitement to my border and celebrate the legacy of the master potters who made their name in the West Midlands.

Centring around a teacup water feature and stone saucer, a distinctive blue and white colourway has been used, giving a nod to Josiah Wedgwood’s original Jasperware ceramic tea sets. Capitalising on this year’s trend for tropical plants, a blend of lush and subtropical plants will be used to soften the hard landscaping.

Georgina Chahed continued: “With exotic tea growing regions in mind, I will predominantly be using plants suited to slightly moist, fertile soils. By selecting the right plants and ones that suit a garden’s conditions and soil type, a tropical border can be incorporated into many UK gardens.”

Grasses and ferns will intermingle to fill the space, punctuated by vibrant purple and orange flowers, including hardy groundcover favourite Geranium ‘Rozanne’ (‘Gerwat’) and the majestic Canna ‘Phasion’ with its dazzling striped leaves. The evergreen variegated giant reed Arundo donax versicolor will lend movement and height to the space. Striking Musa basjoo and Trachycarpus fortunei specimen trees promise to add impact and structure to the border, elevating the planting to a whole new level.

Now in its 23rd year, BBC Gardeners’ World Live, held at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, is the largest lifestyle event in the UK, attracting around 100,000 visitors in June every year.

March 16, 2015

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How to Propagate Seeds

Cosmos and Sweetpeas at Petersham Nurseries
Cosmos and Sweetpeas at Petersham Nurseries

Now is the ideal time to propagate seeds so that you can plant out your seedlings from mid May onwards, when the likelihood of frost has passed. Following garden designer Georgina Chahed’s successful propagation of Cosmos and Marigold seeds last spring, here’s Touch Landscapes’ super easy six step guide…

1. Lay fine gravel in the bottom of a plant propagator tray.

2. Wet the gravel so the water comes just above the level of the gravel.

3. Spread seed compost in the seed tray, make it level and firm the compost slightly with another seed tray on top. Then remove the spare seed tray.

4. Make tiny drills (grooves) lengthways across the compost and lightly sprinkle seeds across the drills. Add a thin layer of compost to cover the seeds.

5. Fit the seed tray onto the bottom of the propagator, allowing water to filter through and moisten the soil above. Remove the seed tray when damp but not too wet. Drain the excess water off the bottom gravel tray and then place the compost tray back on to the damp gravel tray.

6. Place the propagator lid on to the bottom of the propagator and seed tray and leave the seeds to grow, checking on them every day to make sure they don’t dry out.

In a few weeks, we will update you on the progress of our own seeds!


March 5, 2015

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