Green On The Inside

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I have become a little obsessed with greening up the inside of my home. I am fortunate to live in an apartment that I can see out of, meaning, I don’t have views of my neighbours windows or brick walls. In fact I can see far beyond the boundary of the property down to the sea. Outside my kitchen window I can see yellow paper daisies (Xerochrysum sp.), a small potted Bay Tree (Laurus nobilis) and potted herbs that I rotate during the year depending on what’s flowering in my extensive (potted) garden. Outside my bedroom window is the top of my Fig Tree (Ficus benjamina) and on the fence opposite I have Pink Jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum). I have made the most of the spaces and views that I have but I want more. Of course I want more, I live a the city, I want to return to the country!

Brighter up the bedside table with some greenery.

I brightened up my bedside table with some greenery. @SerendipityDSGN

But back to ‘greening up the inside’. I have the usual indoor plant suspects, Peace Lily (Spathiphylum wallisii), Heart-Leaf Phillodendron (Phillodendron sp.) and Jade // Money Plant (Crassula ovata). But I also love arrangements of flowers (you already know this) and greenery to adorn various spots in my home. One of my favourites, due to its glossy green leaves and sculptural qualities is the leaf of the Monstera deliciosa. Most of us know this plant from our childhoods. It was undoubtedly in a garden somewhere around our neighbourhoods, taking over the garden and smothering anything planted underneath. Most owners of this plant, especially those with small city blocks want it removed yesterday, but when it is put to good use, you may just be able to keep it (slightly) contained. There is one on the shady side of my building and I love to cut stems off it to display in my home. I just cut a stem or two, put some water in a suitable vessel, pop the stem in the vessel and place the vessel someone in my home -easy! Alternatively you could have a small specimen growing in a pot – hmmm, now that’s a great idea! If you have one growing in your garden or know someone that does, you should be cutting stems to decorate your home too.

If this is not enough to get you motivated have a look at the pictures that I have gathered to inspire you.

Monstera leaf - perfection!

Monstera leaf – perfection!

Out of control or in proportion?

Out of control or in proportion?

Neat and compact

Neat and compact

Monstera stems, two is perfect

Monstera stems, two is perfect

Monstera, keeping it simple

Monstera, keeping it simple

A green sculpture

A green sculpture

Mix it up to make an impression

Mix it up to make an impression

Monstera Xl

The round, grey pot is perfect

Monstera can be pretty too!

Monstera can be pretty too!

Monstera, perfect for the center of a large dinning table

Monstera, perfect for the center of a large dinning table

It's big and it's bold!

It’s big and it’s bold!

So, are you inspired? Your head should be swirling with ideas and green possibilities. Remember, the sky is the limit, only your imagination can stop you.

Until next time.

Carmel

Images; Mallie + Posh // Brankmk*// Denher // Blog Lovin

Pinterest //Solanacee // Home NineMSN // Bobbye Wolfe

Habitually Chic // Inside Out Mag // Inside Inside

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Happy Australia Day!

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Happy Australia Day

Enjoy your day!

Australian Natives

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A pink flowering gum with some visiting Sugarbag bees.

A pink flowering gum with some visiting Stingless bees.

I am getting in early and would like to wish you all a happy, fun, fantastic, sunny Australia Day. There’s not much more to say really other than tell you how lucky I feel to live in a country with such diverse, interesting and beautiful plants and wildflowers. I love that my garden flowers throughout the year with interesting flowers and colours and that those plants invite a wide range of birds, insects and critters with their nectars and protective foliage. It is wonderful that I can cut stems of native plants for longlasting colour and have little piles of gum nuts and gum leaves scattered around my home. These plants remind me of where I come from, where I am and where I wish to be. I hope you enjoy this collection of some of my favourite Australian native plant and wildflower pictures.

Dianella flower

Dianella flower

Australian Bush - Girraween National Park, QLD

Australian Bush – Girraween National Park, QLD

Eucalyptus haemastoma - Scribbly Gum

Eucalyptus haemastoma – Scribbly Gum

Wildflower

Wildflower

Actinotus helianthi - Flannel Flower

Actinotus helianthi – Flannel Flower

 
Emerging Flower

Emerging Flower

Hardenbergia violacea - Happy Wanderer

Hardenbergia violacea – Happy Wanderer

Westringia fruticosa - Coastla Rosemary

Westringia fruticosa – Coastla Rosemary

Blooms

Blooms

The cap is almost off

The cap is almost off

Xanthorrhoea Flower Spike (Grass Tree)

Xanthorrhoea Flower Spike (Grass Tree)

Sunshine in the canopy

Sunshine in the canopy

I confess, pink flowering Gum is one of my favourites!

I confess, pink flowering Gum is one of my favourites!

Have a wonderful long weekend and keep safe.

Until next time.

Carmel

It Looks Like Dutch To Me!

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Welcome to the New Year! I hope the first nine days have been nothing but spectacular. If not, there’s still plenty of days left for improvment.

My days have been filled with swims in the ocean, bounties of summer fruits, relaxing picnics, catchups with friends, (a little too much) sleeping, followed by returning to work to find a spectacular discovery in my post box (if you follow any of my feeds on social media you will have seen it but if you don’t follow any… then you should get on board!)!

Cherries and Colander

So, back to the post box… I received my copy of the winter edition of Dutch gardening magazine Tuinieren all the way from Holland and mentioned inside is me!!! How fabulous!!!

It’s a little mention but a mention none the less about ‘Gardens and Polka Dots’ and ‘Serendipity Garden Designs’.

Tuinieren Magazine

I feel very honoured. It is a beautiful magazine and I have no doubt that if my Dutch was fluent I would enjoy the words along with the gorgeous pictures.

Thank you Tuinieren for inviting me to be apart of your beautiful magazine.

Until next time.

Carmel

FYI You can find me here:

Instagram – @SerendipityDSGN

Facebook – Serendipity Garden Designs

Twitter – @SerendipityDSGN

Pinterest – Carmel @SerendipityDSGN

Magazine Image: tuinieren.nl/

My Word

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The countdown is upon us, the days and hours are counting down for the turn of the clock and the beginning of the New Year. It’s exciting! I wonder what the New Year will bring? What adventures will I take myself on? What opportunities will knock at my door? How will my life be different a year from now? The only thing I know for sure is that I have zero control over any of it, I can only control how I treat myself and how I treat others and I’m ok with that.

Broken Rose

For the past few years, instead of creating a new year’s resolution to feel guilty about not achieving, I have had a word. My word reflects where I am in my life or a time in my life I have recently experienced. Sometimes I have one word, sometimes 2 or sometimes a word gets added as I progress into my new year.

My first word was ‘nurture’, I decided I needed to give back to myself. After experiencing a great loss in my life I went into survival mode. I forgot how to really care for myself, I didn’t show myself any compassion, I just went straight ahead with what I had to do. While the outside smiled, laughed, hugged, got married, finished a Diploma and celebrated, the inside was depleted, I had nothing more to give to myself or to the people I love. ‘Nurture’ helped me turn the mirror on myself and I asked myself what I needed and how I’d achieve it. It was the beginning of a new me, I recognised that I was learning to live my life without my Mum (and I still am). I learnt how to spend time with myself again – a scary task when grief is your constant companion. I learnt that Yoga is a perfect match for me. I reminded myself that I am loved. I learnt that the ocean really does soothe my soul.

Mum and I copy

Another word was ‘grateful’. ‘Grateful’ is such a wonderful word because it encourages you to recognise everything that is wonderful in your life. Here are a few of the things I am grateful for… my health, my husband, my family, my friends, my clients, my abilities, my capacity to continue to learn, the income that I make, the home that I have created, my ocean view, my garden, clean running water, my freedom to choose, I am grateful that I went ‘home’ for Christmas and saw most of my family, I am grateful for the meals we shared, the laughter that filler our childhood home and the gifts I gave and received. And there are so many more…

Dear reader, I am so very grateful that you visit Gardens and Polka Dots to read my words. Thank you!

Sunrise

Now it is time for a new word to enter my life. I welcome JOY! Joy will envelope my whole being, it will sit in my tummy where anxiety was, it will stand tall on my shoulders where the expectations were, it will fill my head where the stresses lived, it will control my tongue where the frustrations burst forth. Joy will remind me that it’s all ok because I have so many things to be ‘grateful’ for.

Dave & I copy

The magical thing about having a word is that the word never leaves, I don’t hand it in for a new word at the end of the year and it doesn’t expire it just continues to be. Eventually all of the words  moosh together to become ‘life’.

What’s your word and how will it make your life more fruitful?

I wish you a wonderful new year.

Until next time.

Carmel

Thank you to my friend Nykke Coleman of Paper Elephant Press for the gorgeous image from my wedding day

Black Plants For Black Friday

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It’s Friday the 13th, also known as ‘Black Friday’ – a day when superstition prevails and sense becomes uncommon. Oh, dear! What should the ‘normal’ people do….. Did you know that as well as all of the usual superstitions – don’t walk under ladders, stay away from black cats, don’t break a mirror – there is also a superstition in relation to Friday the 13th. Yes, some people, I don’t know how many, but some people are actually afraid of this day. Apparently bad things will happen so it’s best to call in sick and lock the door.

If your boss doesn’t believe you, make sure that you inform them that you have friggatriskaidekaphobia. Or if that doesn’t fly, try paraskevidekatriaphobia because that one has been around a lot longer. I know they’re crazy long names to use with your sick, “I’m not coming to work” voice. In fact, in comparison to the many, many, botanical plant names that I know (and I can spell them too – thanks to Janet) these beauties have me tongue tied to the extreme.

I have a few superstitions of my own that I shall be brave enough to share. These aren’t limited to any particular day, these are every day out and about superstitions. I don’t know when I first developed them -yes, I have two, no, I have three, the last one I have thankfully grown out of. But I have had them since I can remember, I even passed one onto a friend once. That’s not good sharing.

The outgrown superstition is one that some of you may be able to relate to – it’s the ‘must not step on the cracks in the concrete’. Being the shy child that I was I found it quite natural to walk, head down, avoiding eye contact and all concrete cracks. But in a city where I am invisible whilst being present, taking my eyes off my fellow pedestrians may render me with a dislocated shoulder. I am thankful for the disappearance of this superstition from my life and no I do not know what the consequences were for stepping on a crack.

The second superstition is of man holes – scary things, you don’t know what’s down there and you don’t know if the ‘lid’ is on tightly enough to support your weight. I avoid these things at all costs taking the long way or finding the path of least resistance, either jumping over or placing tippy toe ever so slightly on the cross bar. The cross bar should support me, after all it holds up the ‘lid’! The consequences of this one are far less tantilising than Marilyn standing over a subway vent let me tell you.

And finally, one must not walk under metal street signs. You know the huge signs signalling a suburb direction… huge! If one was to fall it would render me either symmetrical or asymmetrical and I’m not sure what I’d prefer. And don’t get all ‘she’s crazy’ on me, next time you’re walking under a huge sign have a look at the far side of the post, I bet the grass is worn!

Now back to Black Friday, here are some fascinating and beautiful black plants for your eyes. Either flower, foliage or fruit is black or so dark it is deemed black. I don’t have black plants in my garden or inside my home. I think of myself more of a bright sunshiny plant person but these images below could twist my arm ever so slightly.

Black and dainty

Black and dainty

Terrarium with black Mondo Grass

Terrarium with black Mondo Grass

Colocasia escuenta 'Black Magic'

Colocasia escuenta ‘Black Magic’

Shiny Black Texture

Shiny Black Texture

Black & White

Black & White

Black Fruit // Black Tomato

Black Fruit / Black Tomato

Black Foliage / Black Pot / Black Indoors

Black Foliage / Black Pot / Black Indoors

We often think of black being dark, heavy and gloomy but as you can see from these plants they come in bold, striking, delicious and even dainty varieties.

Have you found some black inspiration for your garden and indoor plants? I have. This weekend will be perfect for a visit to my local garden centre.

Until next time

Carmel

Images

Leila’s // Shop Terrain // Momo Living Online

Green Life Studios // Skonahem // Feral Kitchen // Making It Lovely

A Christmas Decoration You Can Make!

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My friends will tell you that I’m ‘creative’. I love coming up with an idea, getting all of the bits and pieces I need and assembling them to make whatever it is I set out to acheive. Unfortunately these days I spend more time in admiration of what other people are creating than I do on my own ‘creativity’ – give or take a few trinkets. Any time of year is perfect for making and creating but there is something about christmas that gets the creative juices flowing. In the past it has been the wonderfully inspiring Christmas Edition magazines. But now there’s Pinterest, Instagram, many more magazines, and blogs, blogs, blogs. If you can’t find something to make/create on the plethora of social media chanels than you must be looking with your eyes shut!

It’s time to open your eyes, because I can now say that this blog, yes, the wonderful Gardens And Polka Dots has contributed to the aformentioned plethora of creativity… Yep, I made a Rosemary Christmas Wreath.

Most of us have Rosemary growing in our gardens, but if it’s not growing in your garden someone you know will be growing it. Like any plant Rosemary likes a prune, it promotes vigorous new growth and keeps the plant from getting to big and messy looking. Our Rosemary needed a prune so I decided to turn the cuttings into a beautiful Christmas Wreath. It was easy, it smells delicious, it got me away from my desk and out into the garden and the wreath will last for a very long time.

Tools

What you will need:

Seceteurs // 10cm to 20cm peices of vibrant green Rosemary // wire coathanger – made into a circle // ties // ribbon

Tie

Start with your first peice of Rosemary and tie it loosley to the coathanger circle (if you missed the ‘make coathanger in to circle’ step you’ll have a funny looking wreath, you may not even be able to call it a wreath). My coathanger was round but there is a very obvious ‘edge’ to it, but who wants store bought perfection anyway!

Twist the Rosemary around the coathanger and tie the end piece to the coathanger. Continue this with different pieces, allowing each to over lap. Eventually you can start sticking Rosemary ends into other peices and they’ll stay put. Keep going until you end up with something like this…

Paper Daisies

I wound white satin ribbon about the hook of the coathanger, this way it becomes invisible. But you can use any colour ribbon or any type of material or string – be creative!

I thought the green needed a little extra zing so I picked a few Yellow Paper Daisies from the garden and weaved the stems through the Rosemary. These Paper Daisies will last (ha ha, Everlasting Daisies) for many weeks which is why I chose these flowers over any other from the garden. If you have water reliant flowers in your garden it is probably best to wait until Christmas day before cutting them and decorating your wreath. But if you can’t resist decorating your wreath just keep an eye on the flowers and change them over when necessary – just don’t run out of cut flowers before the big day.

Paper Daisies Close

Looks like sunshine

I also cut some bronze orange Kangaroo Paw for my Christmas wreath, I just love the vibrancy of the orange with the green of the Rosemary and the yellow of the Paper Daisies. This flower will also last for a long time but I am giving it a helping hand and have it in a vase for the time being.

Kangaroo Paw

It’s being to look a lot like… a home made creation!

Wreath Both

I feel it unnecessary to point out this blaringly obvious point but I will. When Christmas is done and dusted and all the beautiful decorations come down your Rosemary can continue life as BBQ accompaniment, just pop the wreath near the BBQ and pull off sprigs as you need. There you go a vegetarian helping all you carnivours with edible delights.

And that my friends is my contribution to Christmas creativity.

I hope you enjoy the lead up to Christmas, enjoy the anticipation of the celebration that is family, friends and summer or winter, depending where you are.

Until next time.

Carmel

A Visit To Mayfield Garden

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One of the nicest ways to spend a weekend is to pack a bag, grab your respective other, in my case Dave, head on up to the Blue Mountains and pick up your newly married friends on the way. What ensues is a laughter filled weekend which includes a gorgeous timber cabin, home cooked meals, red wine, market wanderings, a few cheeky purchases and a stroll around an open garden.

Imagine the Most Beautifully Scented Rose You Have Ever Smelt And I Promise You This Rose Would Match It

Imagine the most beautifully scented rose you have ever smelt and I promise you this rose would match it

In this case the open garden is Mayfield Garden, located near Oberon in the Central West Tablelands of New South Wales on the western side of the Blue Mountains. Mayfield Garden is one of the ‘largest privately owned cool climate gardens in the world’. Purchased in 1984 by the Hawkins family, the garden has evolved to represent a grand English garden in the Australian climate. Nestled within a working farm, the extensive garden is made up of garden rooms that are joined by meandering paths and large expanses of lush green lawn. While the garden is very much a work in progress with areas still under construction and plants yet to fill out to their mature potential, there are some wonderful spaces within the garden. For example, you can wander through the Birch trees, explore the Pine trees, smell the divine roses and listen to water cascade over the many water features and water falls.

The Water Garden

The Water Garden

To say this garden is big is an understatement, it’s huge and requires around three hours to see it all. We took 2.5 hours with the only stops reserved for smelling roses and taking pictures and I was happy with that.

The House

The house

It was a joy to wander through the garden, map in hand but still not know what to expect at each destination. Within minutes of entering the garden you realise that this garden is more than just a hobby, it is a passion, filled with bold statements and attention to detail. For example, the aviary is an almighty bird enclosure containing its own mini garden. The chicken coop – well it’s more like five star chicken heaven thank you. Those chickens must be the happiest chickens on the Central West Tablelands – if not, dare I say it, the earth!

A Chicken Coop For The Happiest Chickens On Earth

A chicken coop for the happiest chickens on earth

Chicken Heaven

Chicken heaven

The highlight of Mayfield Garden for me was the grass roofed ‘Studio’. A gorgeous timber cabin up on a hill away from the main house with Birch trees planted on one side and sweeping lawn on the other. We imagined what sorts of arty endeavours might take place in the studio from painting and sculpture to stone masonry and artists retreat, who knows. What we did fancy though was ourselves perched on the veranda with a cold glass of anything we like looking out over the sun kissed countryside.

The Highlight Of The Garden - The Grass Roofed Studio

The highlight of the garden, the grass roofed studio

The Studio - The Roof Is A Field Of Green

The studio, the roof is a field of green

Exquisite Timber Work On The Front Door Of The Studio

Exquisite timber work on the front door of the studio

If you also had the opportunity to visit Mayfield Garden you may have been disappointed with the number of roped off ‘No Entry’ areas within the garden. I understand the need to keep prying eyes away from the family house that is reasonable and expected. But to advertise a garden maze and parterre then have no access I must admit was disappointing. I have mentioned that the garden is a work in progress and the maze planting still has a bit of growth to go before enclosing the occupant within, however the child within fancied a wander through the maze and she wasn’t allowed anywhere near it. The Parterre was also roped off too. Maybe it was because there wasn’t a skerrick of plant to be seen within its borders, who knows. Hopefully by the next open garden the Parterre will be richly planted, the maze will be amazing and visitors can explore both.

The Maze - No Entry

The Maze from the outside

Behind The Pleached Hedge - The Parterre. No Entry!

Behind the pleached hedge is the Parterre.

Aside from these disappointments, I did enjoy my wander around Mayfield Garden. I look forward to revisiting one day and seeing how the garden has matured and whether the grand ideas of Mr Hawkins have come to fruition. But only if I can get lost in childhood excitement within the maze.

The Walled Potager

The Walled Potager

Inside The Walled Potager, Espaliered Edible Fig

Inside the walled potager, espaliered edible fig

Inside The Walled Potager, The Garden Beds

Inside the walled potager, the garden beds

Liriodendron tulipifera - Tulip Tree

Liriodendron tulipifera, Tulip Tree

A Landscape Of Green And Maroon

A landscape of green and maroon

Divine Climbing Roses

Divine climbing roses

Tiny Pine Cones

Tiny pine cones

The Crocket Lawn, With Not A Blade Of Grass Out Of Place

The crocket lawn, with not a blade of grass out of place
Water Cascade. Built By The Romans? No, But It's Built To Last

Cascade. Built by the romans? No, but it’s built to last

The View From The Top Of The Water Cascade

The view from the top of the cascade

Beautiful Detail On The Pergola

Beautiful detail on the pergola

The Beginnings Of A Pleached Hedge

The beginnings of a pleached hedge

The Bridge - It's a Very Large Bridge

The bridge, it’s a very large bridge built with Blue Stone

The Red Bridge In The Water Garden

The red bridge in the Water Garden

I hope you enjoyed your tour through Mayfield Garden, perhaps one day you’ll get the chance to visit and see it in all it’s grandeur.

Mayfield Garden, 350 Mayfield Road Oberon, is open in Autumn 2014 on these dates; April 26th & 27th. May 3rd & 4th.

Until next time.

Carmel

Bushfire Planting

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I love summer. From the moment the breeze gets a nip to it and the deciduous trees start to present their autumn colour I am looking forward to warm weather, summer dresses and cooling off in the ocean. Warm weather makes me feel alive, it always has. Since I was a teenager competing in swimming competitions in northern New South Wales, Spring and Summer were for activities and winter was for hibernation. I have never orchestrated it to be this way, that’s just how it is… I don’t like the cold.

Summer...

This year however, I am feeling a little different about summer and what summer means to this parched land I call home. Recent temperatures would suggest that summer has already paid us a visit. Ironically, today, I am sitting inside wearing a jumper, jeans and Ugg Boots. But last week we watched as our television screens showed our friend’s neighbourhoods perish under the force of spring bushfires that ravaged many areas around Sydney.

The debate will continue as to the cause of many bushfires but it is certain that there are a number of preventative measures home owners and communities can take to keep themselves and their homes safe. This would be the perfect opportunity for me to give my opinion on building style and materials, location and aspect, the latest and greatest technology in fire retardant applications, but I’ll leave that for you to research and establish your own opinion. What I will say though is that the plants you have in your garden can and most probably will influence the effect that a fire can have on your home.

Glenn Murcutt - Glenorie, NSW

But why does the Australian bush burn so well? The land is dry, particularly at the moment, but also the species that make up the majority of the plant communities are ‘flammable’. They contain oils that are combustible, think Eucalyptus sp., Melaleuca sp., they both contain oils. These oils allow the trees, shrubs and groundcovers to easily catch alight from embers, distributing the fire quicker and more easily. All plants will burn, but some will ignite and burn quicker than others and the ones you don’t want around your house are the quick burning ones.

And, dare I say it, the Australian bush likes to burn – that’s how it rejuvenates and renews. Some seeds need fire and extreme heat to encourage germination and continuation of the plant community.

Succulents have fleshy, moist leaves, they wont catch alight easily.

Succulents have fleshy, moist leaves, they wont catch alight easily.

In a suburban landscapes there is a great deal of fire fuel, for example, dried mulch on garden beds, fallen vegetative debris around our gardens, thirsty, dry plants, clogged gutters and tree branches over hanging roof tops. The need to tidy this ‘fuel’ in suburbia is aesthetic but in bushland it is vital to the protection of homes.

Some may feel that it is too late now, the fires have already been, it is too close to summer. Not so, don’t have any regrets as summer approaches, engage a garden designer/horticulturist to help you begin the process of protecting your home. They will advise you on screening plants to help reduce wind speed and falling embers, vegetation that will assist in reducing radiant heat, provide you with a maintenance plan for your garden and much, much more.

Yes, I am still excited about summer but I know that our land will burn and unfortunately for some, it may be a little too close for comfort. I wish those living in fire prone areas all the best during this fire season and for those piecing their lives together from the rubble of what was once was their home, I wish you courage and strength.

Until next time

Carmel

Images:
SUMMER pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=summer
Glenn Murcutt WWW.ARCHNEWSNOW.COM/FEATURE/FEATURE18.HTM
SUCCULENTS pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=succulents

The Garden Designer In Me

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You know when you’re out somewhere, mingling and meeting new people there’s the, ‘hi, how are you?’, ‘how do you know so and so?’, ‘where do you live?’ and the best one of all ‘what do you do?’ As you can imagine my answer is Garden Designer, because, well, that is what I do. Invariably it is met with responses such as ‘ooh’, ‘wow’, ‘awww that’s great’ and my favourite, ‘you should come around to my place’. People seem to like that there is a profession out there tittled garden designer and so do I. A little bit more chit chat follows, with me contributing that, ‘I have my own garden design business, it’s called Serendipity Garden Designs’, blah blah blah. I can see the person mulling this over in their head and I think what they are imagining is me, strolling through gardens all day long, doing the odd bit of hands in soil action, putting up a few pergolas, laying a lovely meandering path then sitting down with a glass of what ever I want at the end of the day, happy and ready to do it all again the following day. While I wish that the first and last were true, I have to admit this is not at all what I do. Someone recently said to me after the ‘what do you do’ question, that I should be used to getting up early. My response, ‘Ummm no, I’m a garden designer, not a landscape contractor’- silence.

Elevation A - A1

So, if I don’t get up early and by early I mean at your place of business at 6.00am and I don’t have my hands in the soil all day long, what it is that I do at Serendipity Garden Designs? Well, I create beautiful outdoor spaces for you, your family and your visitors to enjoy day after day, week after week, year after year. Gardens that are timeless, invigorating, peaceful and nurturing. Gardens that respect the surrounding landscape and sit quietly within their environment. I am the architect of your outdoor space, the interpreter of your garden dreams and the cog in the wheel that communicates what will be done and how it will be done to the landscape contractor that builds it.

Concept Plan

The process from overgrown urban jungle to creating your own garden oasis goes like this;

  • I spend time with the client and ask lots of questions like, what do you do? what do you enjoy? how do you spend your spare time? I ask about their family, what inspires them, what their dreams are, what they enjoy most about their house and current garden, what they would like to improve and what their dream garden looks like. It’s also the ideal time to talk budget and get a sense of how much time they are prepared to spend maintaining their new garden.
  • Once I get a sense of the garden owners I spend time in the garden observing it’s current state, the views in and out, the topography, aspect – where light and shade fall, soil, drainage, architecture of the home, vegetation that is doing well and not so well and significant trees both in the garden and surrounding it. I let my imagination go.
  • After bidding farewell to my new clients I head on home, armed with information, direction, photographs and a wee spring in my step. This part is the creative, exciting, dreamy part of the process, when I get out my drawing pad and my pencil and I draw lines and shapes, jot down ideas, get inspired and find myself with a drawing suitable to call a garden.
  • I then draw the design in CAD with the help of a site survey or architectural drawings and develope the ideas further. I select the hardscape materials, the plants and ensure through the entire process that the direction I am taking is in keeping with the brief of the clients and the environmental conditions, keeping in mind how the space will feel, how it can be used and its longevity.
  • Once all of the i’s have been dotted and t’s crossed I gather up the concept plan and all the supporting material and present the plan to the client. I walk them through the design step by step, the philosphy, the materials, the plants and give them a sense of what it will be like to be present within their garden once it is complete.
  • If the client requests changes to be made at this stage then I make them.
  • Now, let’s get this thing built! If the drawings require council submission I do that and if not I engage a landscape contractor to built the garden. I watch carefully to ensure the design and the building are one and the same and rejoice with the clients once the garden is in and they are sitting happily within it with refreshing drink in hand.
  • It sounds easy doesn’t it? And usually it is. It is a process where by all parties involved must be on the same page, that the dream ending is the same for everyone.

So, that’s what happens at Serendipity Garden Designs HQ.

Until next time.

Carmel