Tag Archives: Get happy

Design Solutions

Design Solutions
My favourite ten…
Got a design problem with your garden? is it an awkward shape, too shady or overlooked? Or would you prefer a particular theme like a jungle look, or seaside feel? All these questions are answered by Dawn Issac* in Garden Answers magazine and I’m the lucky one that illustrates Dawns vision. Enjoy my favourite ten below…

The Gallery: tap on an image to see the full picture.

Back to the drawing board!

I took this opportunity to hone my illustration skills when Garden Answers needed  to illustrate the garden plans. The editor, the fabulous Liz Potter, commissions Dawn to come up with a design tackling a specific problem. Dawn supplies a simple sketch that I use as the basis of the illustration then I embellish it like a giant digital collage.
Giant! I am not joking. Each object, whether it’s a plant or a chair, is carefully cutout from my archive of images.
Textures, watercolour washes and ink-work are done the old fashioned way on paper. Then I photograph it and import it into photoshop so that I can get the hand-done look.  Organization, hours of picture research and a tiny grasp of perspective is all you need. Plus knowing the odd retouching trick, messing about with filters, the odd bit of warping and colour replacing. Below you can see how I’ve used Dawns initial sketch as a template then slowly built up the plants, building and water feature. 

Dawn Issac
Dawn is an RHS Chelsea medal-winning garden designer and author of Garden Crafts for Children, Things For Kids To Do On A Rainy Day, 101 Briliant Things for Kids to do with Science as well as contributing to Garden Answers magazine.
http://www.dawn-isaac.com

JULY 2016

It’s July and summer brought a heatwave then; rain & sun = lush!
We have crops! We have loads of leafy growth everywhere but when its hot its hard to get the energy to tender the garden.
But I have a jungle which is cool….

Agapanthas is about to burst into flower!
Agapanthus is about to burst into flower!

Up at the lottie

Purple Shiraz 'touts
Purple Shiraz ‘touts

Lots of crops are giving up their veggie delights. Mange tout Shiraz has been nice, though not that abundant. But easy to spot, always a bonus. Other peas have just disappeared altogether. but very please with rainbow chard that has self seeded from last year. Every evening I visit the plot for my dinner, little and often is the way I harvest.

Daily pickings
Daily pickings
Onions are asking to be taken home...
Onions are asking to be taken home…
Cosmos Xanthos, sweetcorn and poached egg plant is my yellow theme this year
Cosmos Xanthos, sweetcorn and poached egg-plant is my yellow theme this year
The succulent wreath is nearly two years old. She a bit delicate now and lives in the greenhouse
The succulent wreath is nearly two years old. Sh’s a bit delicate now and lives in the greenhouse

A Wall of stunning herbiness

Herb rack all fluffed up in june webLOVE YOUR HERBS
My unique herb rack keeps my herbs organized and is ideal near the kitchen. I designed this for my tiny garden as it requires no floor space. It has proved so popular that the herb rack has been featured in Garden News and friends have asked me to make them one.

Herb rack first planted in March
Herb rack first planted in March

Its made from wood cut to my specifications then off it goes to be tanalised. This is where is placed into a vacuum chamber where moisture is sucked out of it and preservative impregnated. It sounds quite drastic to go to all this trouble but I reckoned that there would be a lot of water about whilst obviously watering the herbs. So this baby will never rot. Then I used marine standard screws with raised heads for a modern look whilst being rust proof too.

You don't have to stick to herbs either. I've added chillies, tomatoes and black Ophiopogon grass.
You don’t have to stick to herbs either. I’ve added chillies, tomatoes and black Ophiopogon grass.
Purple heather look so funky on the wall rack.
Purple heather look so funky on the wall rack.

POTTY ABOUT HERBS
The containers are plastic as I thought galvanized steel ones would literally bake the herbs, and not in a good way. The containers are dishwasher proof and frost proof (I know this as I kept one in the freezer as an experiment). They come from a large home-ware store so are reliable in terms of availability and quality. Colours are white, orange, red, bright green and black.
Now back to the rack. I’ve painted it in two shades of especially mixed (by me) Culprinol wood paint. I chose a neutral grey that looks good against brick and shows the herbs off too.

Pots clip firmly onto light grey slat. Choose plants to compliment pot colours.
Planters clip firmly onto light grey slat. I chose plants to compliment the brightly coloured pots .
Pretty purple pansies greet you at the front door
A six herb rack installed in the porch. Pretty purple pansies greet you at the front door.
The green wall planting. Winter plants on their summer holidays.
Other ways of using the racks – this my  green wall planting. Heathers were fabulous in the winter but at the moment the plants on their summer holidays and are happy just being green.
Herbs are thriving in the sun
Herbs are thriving in the sun

My next project is to make a strawberry rack. How cool would that be? Watch this space. I’m always on the look out for different style containers so drop me a line is you see any…