National Farmers Market Week

Some of you may know that Ann & I have started a daily radio show, we call the show Growing Trends, it’s on at 1pm & 7pm daily at it’s really an extension of this blog, where we talk to people who are connected with our industry or homeowners that have a special interest or just an interesting landscape, or perhaps just a passion for gardens.

This past week we have been really fortunate to find some exceptionally gifted folks, our first was a rose grower, who in addition to working a very busy day as an executive still managed to come home and relax by working in his rose garden until late at night, he has a really interesting twist to this but you will have to wait until we broadcast the interview to hear it.

As our heading says this week is National Farmers Market Week, so Ann & I decided to take an early morning trip to one of our local farmers markets  last Saturday morning. Well ok,  a quick confession, Ann was early, I was late. We were both much later than the first customers who arrived long before 7am to buy the pick of this very fresh crop – some of the farmers were up at 3am to make sure they brought their produce to market!

Parkville, Missouri
Parkville, Missouri

The growers and customers were a very happy group, many were regulars who knew all the growers and would talk with real enthusiasm about the produce they were buying, you will hear this in the interviews.

The Lake's Family

All the growers had a wealth of knowledge and experience, which was one of the main reasons the customers came back week after week, they liked the idea of talking to the growers, understanding their efforts to produce good quality despite the variable weather conditions we all experience, some came because they had tried to grow crops themselves but just couldn’t quite succeed.

Jim's Garlic & Herbs with Beth, Frank & Martha

Everyone felt that they were obtaining value for money, and just loved the freshness, flavorsome and at times unusually shaped produce.

We talked to at least half a dozen or so growers and could have if time had permitted talked to many more, we also talked to a number of customers who were clearly regular visitors to the market.

Fresh Produce

What struck us most was that everyone was there because they enjoyed meeting each other,the customers liked talking to the growers and the growers really liked meeting their customers, it seems that more and more we see this as we broaden our interviews.

Buying Produce

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Growing Trends

Growing Trends a new style of garden Show on

We wrote to some of our friends and colleagues this week to ask if they would listen to our new internet radio show ‘Growing Trends’ on , it’s on air daily at 1pm and 7pm central time. You can also find us on LIve365 if you have the free app, or you can download a broadcast from the site to listen to it as a podcast.

Really it's that large !
The next ‘Big’ media is Digital radio

We made it this flexible, because unlike most radio shows you can hear us anywhere, so the shows time might be great in the USA but a little different in say England 7pm and 1am GMT. – I know we are good but, staying up until 1am to hear Ann & Myself is a bit of a stretch.

Digital Radio, always on, step through and listen now !
Digital Radio, always on, step through and listen now !

What I really wanted to write and say was thank you, thank you for listening, we gained a huge number of new listeners this week, which enabled us to sign new sponsors – yes we need sponsors like everyone else. The sponsors are great, they agree to sponsor us for a modest monthly fee, we in turn give them at least four free interviews a year, and mention them at least once a month when they are not being interviewed.

Listen to our digital library anytime
Listen to our digital library anytime

If this sounds interesting and you would like to be a sponsor, drop us a line we would love to hear from you. If you are passionate about your garden landscape and you would like to talk about it, drop us a line

Have you taken a trip to the woods today?

The Japanese have discovered that trees give off scents that actually have a calming effect on us, listen to Kelly Daniels ( the picture above is one from her gallery – The Kelly Gallery) talking about this in her interview airing at 1pm & 7pm daily.

I read today that antidepressant microbes in the soil have been discovered, called Mycobacterium vaccae, it’s been found to mirror the effects on neurons that drugs provide.

Which reminds me, I was digging in the soil today and I came across this large black disc with grooves all over both sides, I put it to my ear but I couldn’t hear anything…. if you get time do tune in and let us know what you think, or if you have some suggestions, we want to make the show about the all the wonderful people connected to our industry.

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Are you a passionate gardener ?

Ever since we started our radio show, I’ve come to realize how diverse, passionate and simply fascinating today’s gardeners really are.

Whilst still at school, working in the vacations a friend and I would plant new woodlands in England, we planted well over 1 million trees in that period – of course at the time they were tiny 2+ 2’s ( thats two year old twice transplanted). In subsequent years, I’ve designed hundreds of gardens and commercial properties with the team planting many hundreds of thousands more trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials, herbs, bulbs and corms. The most amazing sight , during this time was , seeing a chap in America transplanting trees ( about thirty or forty actually) some weighing over 650 tons, that were 60ft tall, with a 15ft deep x 45 foot wide rootball – now that is impressive, requiring a multitude of additional skills, not least irrigation some 40ft high into the tree itself!

Over the years we have met some truly wonderful people, who have a real passion, for flowers, or just orchids, or roses, or lawns, or even garden structures.

I remember building a gazebo for a client, who then asked for a copper roof, we then had to weather it so it went green quicker.

Or the client who’s passion was a weed free lawn – he would ‘swish’ the dew off the lawn every night before he went to bed !

Or the client who always tried to ‘scalp’ his lawn – the solution was to quietly add some washers to his mower settings and thus prevent the blades being set to low – not sure if he ever figured that out.

Or rose grower who tended his roses at night using a miners type lamp..

Or a lady who spent more than 8 hours everyday in her absolutely stunning perennial garden.

The one thing in common was that they derived a huge amount of peace and relaxation, working in the garden in touch with nature, it was like the ultimate stress release.

One of our radio show interviews touched on this when we discovered that research shows that woodland trees give of a chemical that we find calming as we walk through a woodland.

The point is they all had a passion that drove them to achieve results most of us would struggle with in all walks of life

In other words they got the maximum achievement out of each and everyday, and the garden helped them recharge their batteries just as a good nights sleep does !

I’ve always believed in attention to detail, striving to find the easiest yet pleasing on the eye finish to areas, using where ever possible natural materials, such as bricks, timber, wrought iron ( if you can find it), etc. to complete projects. When it comes to planting you cannot beat using a color wheel to develop contrasting colors schemes and have them blend with one another to create a complete picture.

If this all sounds familiar and you have a passion for gardening, no matter where, drop me a line and we will try and interview you for our show. It can be as short as a hello or as long as an hour, that’s really up to you.

In the meantime do tune in, as it’s digital radio you can listen anywhere, you will find Growing trends on daily at 1pm & 7pm central US time, or if you prefer using an app were on Live365.


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Climate changes

If this year is anything to go by we are definitely experiencing some changes to our weather patterns. We have more rain than I can remember, I know this because the power has gone out an amazing 13 times in the past 6 weeks ( yeah I hear you say why are the lines not buried, and how can a squirrel knock out power to a whole town, well the same way a dump truck can when it tips it’s load, or too many birds take a break on a power line and it shorts out).

Back to the weather, instead of 90f plus temps they have been 75f and at night instead of 75f they have been 55f, it’s almost English weather, except over there the temps have been much higher.

We have also had nearby, a huge increase in Earthquakes ( by this I mean hundreds of small quakes) this year, many place the blame on this, to the new habit of ‘Fracking’ , which I’m sure isn’t helping.

We’ve a serious issue with lack of bees to pollinate the crops , it’s not just the honey bees the wild bee population is suffering as well, as is the bird population, which probably means  that the insect population is affected as well. In sure mother nature doesn’t like it when us humans mess with what was once a very balanced eco-system.

Some areas of the country are experiencing record droughts, which if it continues will have a far reaching impact on food production and where folks chose to live.

So with all this turmoil around us, a couple of friends and I decided it was time to change how we grew herbs & veggies…

So today we are launching Hort Cuisine something we have been working on for a few years now, it’s a rather fun way to grow at home.

It starts with our Hort Cuisine patented grid system

Hort Cuisine 4x4

Here’s an example Hort Cuisine, herb garden

herb cube

and here’s the beginnings of a Hort Cuisine ‘Knot Garden’

left top lavender edge

here’s the Knot Garden sector planted

Potager 1

We are going to make smaller ‘Balcony’ sized versions too

Potager 1 x 2

Which should be an ideal size for balconies.

In the next few days you will see just how easy these kits are to do yourself at home.







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Growing Trends our new Radio Show

About three months ago, Ann ( my Co Host on Growing Trends) & I were given the opportunity to Host a radio show, we were basically given the chance to create our very own show, we wanted to be a little different, so after much thought and deliberations ‘Growing Trends’  was born, we would both love to hear what you think ? What we could include in the shows?

We’ve been having a ball talking to the most amazing folks in their spaces, they are in our midst and yet we hardly ever see them in this  light,  we all rush around in our daily lives, heads buried in smartphones or tablets, completely disconnected with the nature that is all around us.

Our guests are all connected by either their garden or the landscape where they work, some are keen gardeners, others technical experts in their field, all are in tune with nature, it’s as if it’s a constant healing process.

“A little oasis in the middle of suburbia.”

belinda impressionist

( Belinda & Terry’s Garden)

All find time to re connect almost daily with their space, we feel so privileged to be able to hear all their stories and bring them to you usually in their own homes.

Sometimes the recordings will be a little quirky, it’s because we are not in a studio. Some are far away, and we have to rely on the internet, which gives an odd echo from time to time, but talking to folks in Australia, England, South Africa, brings us all together.

“Chestnut growing down under!”

2013-11-15 18.45.34 HDR

( John Stanley’s Australian outback)

We caught up with John in Australia early one morning.

“In my global work I see new trends in merchandising, display, social media marketing, general retailing, culinary eco-tourism and lifestyle retail”

we will catch up with John again shortly in the meantime.

“Finding happiness in a garden – how it’s done at the Kelly Gallery”


(Kelly Daniels – The Kelly Gallery)

Kelly was just inspirational , almost magical, her photography is enchanting.

You can find us on the internet at , or download the phone app Live365 or you can  download Growing Trends as a podcast from the website.

Our upcoming schedule is both varied, fun and very different, here’s a few pictures taken on locations we visited..just wait till you hear the stories…

( half-pint McGee !)

half pint mcgee

“A simple stunning memorial garden”

kauffman memorial garden 1

” A sculpture park extraordinaire”



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Weekend Landscape & Garden Projects

if you need some inspiration for a small landscape or garden project read on….

We’ve been designing & building dream gardens for homeowners for 40 years now, winning awards, being creative and watching various trends come & go, customers desires and generally  listening to clients wishes.

Some have been quite modest…  as below.

aftercare 2088

others rather more ambitious..


Almost all the clients, wanted to complete some of the work themselves. The part they most wanted to do was the planting, either spring, summer or fall bedding, bulb planting, or perennial , shrub and herb planting. Recently we have seen an interest in vegetable growing.

Being folks that listen to our customers , it’s how we win awards, we also understood that we would have to make it much easier for folks, than a traditional planting plan we started out a few years ago to develop a new easy way to layout a planting scheme- we consulted other experts , eventually settling on one method with two products ( one a normal version the other an eco friendly version). inspired we then applied for a patent.( this in itself should be the subject of a blog all on its own)

Last week I am very happy to say we picked up our patent for the “Weekend Garden Kit”, which I have to confess  was exciting,  a big thank you for all who helped us, of which there were many.

Here’s how it works.

Weekend Garden Kit

This simple to use system enables you to place the plants & features in the correct position without the need for time consuming setting out or measuring.


By using a grid system , we can add the position on the pot label, it makes the whole process much faster, and less likely for error. – they actually come as part of the kit.


so to set this out all you need is the special landscape fabric and where to plant or place the feature.


The result should then be this


To make this even easier we developed a free app called “PicaGardi” available on iTunes, Google play and Kindle to enable you to see ‘How ‘ an idea might look in your own project before you buy, take a look it’s fun and free and works on Phones and Tablets.

You can download it  here

App front page clean rev mar1st

You can either select a picture from your ‘Gallery’ or take a new one with the ‘Camera’ button, then press ‘Ideas’ to see and idea float across the screen, tap it, pinch, scale and place to see how it would look on your project.

Phone app clean

If you would like to make some comments or suggestions or just receive more information please fill in the form..


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Edibles continued….

Continuing from our last blog, we move to a slightly larger herb and veggie garden. Using our newly patented Weekend Garden Kits.


We’ve also added some african marigolds to help keep pests away, our next one will include some nasturtiums to further help protect naturally.

This garden uses one of our recently patented Weekend Garden Kits, which helps save a huge amount of time, reduces significantly weed growth and helps preserve moisture levels.

By purchasing the kit early, you can use it to almost effortlessly remove weeds in your plot area – this is achieved quite simply by, marking out the area and then covering with a generous layer of old newspapers, place the weekend garden kit fabric over the newspaper and use the pegs provided to keep in position. After about 4- 6 weeks all the weed growth beneath will have been stopped and the earth should be almost clear.

Simply remove the newspapers, and any debris, reset the weekend garden kit, and plant as directed for the chosen layout.

The one above took less than 2 hours to plant  you can see how here.

[polldaddy poll=8179900]

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Edible Landscaping


Today there are many more who would like to grow their own Herbs & Vegetables, the desire is not just from homeowners with traditional gardens, but also those living in flats & apartments, using either a balcony or a kitchen window.

Those without any space are looking at allotments & community gardens when they catch the ‘bug’

Demand is ‘growing’ all the time, from all over the world.

Schools are finding that they need to include growing in the curriculum showing children how to grow edibles which leads to more interest in cooking, which then creates a much healthier lifestyle and a huge demand for fresh food.

So what are the best ways to grow?

This is an interesting question and I suspect the real answer is – It depends !

It depends where you are in the world

It depends on where you want to grow

It depends what you want to grow

It depends how much light, heat and water you have available.

It depends how much time you want to spend growing.

It also depends on what resources you may have to use.

Initially it depends how much skill you have, interestingly while you will quickly learn ‘How to’ , mother nature has a habit of throwing you a curve ball now and then, so somethings you expect to do will with will suddenly suffer and others will thrive.

So let’s take a look at the methods of growing first as we could spend simply ages trying to find the best places and times to grow.

Small :-

Can be as small as a pot , grow bag or individually planted between existing plants in a landscape.

herb pot 2

Medium :-

Multi pots, planters, or raised vegetable garden

herb 1a


Fenced in Garden, Roof garden, Commercial enterprise.

wattle edge to garden1

What would you like to start?

[polldaddy poll=8177807]




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Growing Trends

I thought it would be fun to share with you, our interview schedule.

We are on air at 1pm & 7pm daily at or you can download as a podcast for later listening.

Our first interview was with Belinda & Terry, this is their lovely garden.


and a more romantic version, the pool is so inviting….

belinda impressionist

and the famous ‘Zen’ deck, now sanded and restored to its glory…

belinda zen deck

Our next interview was with John Stanley of John Stanley Associates in Australia, we didn’t talk about his garden as it’s a tad larger than most as you can see – what a view !

2013-11-15 18.45.34 HDR


What we did talk about was trends in edibles  and concerns over  bees, you can hear both on Craving Talk, we are due to revisit John in Perth again shortly.


Coming up soon is :-

Kelly Daniels lovely garden,

kelly Gallery garden

and here is some of her superb photography.


Then we have:

Dwayne Hoover the Horticulturist at the  Kauffman Memorial Garden in Kansas City we caught up with Dwayne early one morning – 6am to be precise, the team was starting to put together the summer bedding.


Then it’s Jenny’s turn  and her Fairy Room at the Celtic Ranch along with ‘Half-pint McGee’, who will soon be your little heart throb…….


Then it’s the turn of the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City,


and the lovely sculpture park. You have to be strong to play badminton here !


and my favorite the Henry Moore collection…


this next amazing sculpture is some 56ft tall..


to read more about our rather different programs visit

[polldaddy poll=8159522]





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The Hedge


Often used to create a boundary between sections of gardens, or to lead you around a garden, or to act as a privacy barrier, a hedge can be a very useful garden tool.

We’ve even used ones for security – by choosing a suitably thorny subject it can make it impossible for someone or something to get through it.

Here the hedge is used as an entrance into a garden, creating some privacy and yet leading the eye to the main terrace doors.


A hedge can be grown using any plant material that will withstand clipping , so the list is quite large. At the smaller end you have the traditional box hedging often used in kitchen gardens, or to surround ornamental flower beds, as seen below.


To create a less formal barrier, you could use forsythia – but remember that forsythia flowers of last years wood, so pruning and shaping should be restricted to just after flowering if possible. Hornbeam, Beech, Rose , Escallonia, Cotoneaster, Laurel, Yew, Leylandii, Thuja all make a nice  hedge .


of course the height you desire makes a difference in choice


The height is also dictated by how often and by what method is used to keep the hedge clipped. As can be seen below, this hedge would take many hours to keep it in this condition.




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