garden arches garden design garden furniture garden garden arches garden paths garden photography garden ponds garden pools garden seat garden seating gardening gardens National Garden Scheme NGS ornamental trees and shrubs outdoor sculpture pathways sculpture trees village gardens water in the garden Yellow Book Gardens

Ruthall Manor – well worth the wait.

We go for years intending to visit a garden but sometimes circumstances dictate otherwise. This is what happened with Ruthall Manor, a Shropshire Yellow Book Garden. After years we finally visited earlier this year in June. The wait was so worth while!

First impressions count for a lot when you visit a garden, and a good garden can quickly reveal its qualities and general level of care. Atmosphere, special places and surprises will reveal themselves later and more slowly. A good garden will keep on giving.

Ruthall Manor soon made us feel warmly welcomed and involved in the plantings and design. It had the added bonus of some original interesting sculptural pieces beautifully positioned within plantings or out on their own as centres of attention.


Pathways, arches and gateways encouraged us to explore further, around the next corner, through a hedge or border or into the next garden area.


I thought that the best way to share as many pieces of sculpture and artifacts as possible I would create this gallery for you to enjoy.  The variety of pieces was so large that we just did not now what to expect around the next corner.

In the end of course good plants well chosen, cared for and partnered thoughtfully are what gives a garden its true quality.

So Ruthall Manor was certainly worth waiting so long to go and visit. What an enjoyable afternoon!


garden design garden furniture garden photography garden seating gardening gardens

Are you sitting comfortably? – part four of a very occasional series.

So here we are back with another selection of garden seats. Twenty more special places to sit and rest!

Sometimes you come across a garden seat with a design that sets it out above the rest. These “Eye Seats” in the Piet Oudolf garden at Hauser and Wirth’s Gallery in somerset fit perfectly in that category. They shared their patch of grass with sleek black loungers.

2014 10 04_5442 2014 10 04_5443 2014 10 04_5441 2014 10 04_5440

Just occasionally when wandering around a garden you discover a seat that fits into its space comfortably like a favourite slipper. In the community gardens at the Bishops Garden at Wells Cathedral in Somerset we came across a little collection that sat beautifully in a glade of old trees. Elsewhere in the main part of the palace garden we found two very different seats, one traditional wooden bench and a modern very sleek cast concrete bench with carved calligraphy.

2014 10 04_5564 2014 10 04_5563 2014 10 04_5553 2014 10 04_5548

When we visited the gardens designed by Tom Stuart-Smith at the family home, Serge Hill, we were interested in the positions in which he placed seats. Each was put where you could best relax or sit and contemplate, a few were very isolated and given a lot of space.

2014 06 22_0675-2 2014 06 22_0732-2 2014 06 22_0745-1 2014 06 22_0757-1

These two seats are in the tiniest garden possible. In fact the garden is just the seats on the path outside terraced cottages in the Yorkshire village of Haworth, famous for its links with the Bronte family. Several of the street side cottages here wrap pots and containers overflowing with plants around the steps from the front doors.

2014 11 01_7028 2014 11 01_7027

These seats are in a completely different environment, the vast open gardens at Trentham. They are situated in Piet Oudolf’s “River of Grasses”.

2014 11 04_7147 2014 11 04_7149

Can you spot the wooden bench in the photo below also taken at Trentham. It is hidden away in the amazing Hornbeam arbour here wearing its golden autumn coat.

2014 11 04_7175

When we visited the National Botanic Garden of Wales on a wet November day we spotted these beautifully designed chairs. They were well suited to their situation but it was far too wet to try them out for comfort.

2014 11 21_7837 2014 11 21_7843 2014 11 21_7832