Connecting with your landscape.

Pool layout2

Recently Ann and I have been out on safari helping clients design & plant new landscapes.

It’s always nice to  ‘keep your hand in’ as they say.

This time we tried a somewhat different approach.

herb pot 3

We took the clients to various nurseries  helping them choose the plants we were suggesting they would use.

frontage plants

Then we set out the planting on site helping them to plant, by using tried and trusted techniques we had learned over the years it helped to reduce transplant shock , giving the plants a great start. The clients learned a new way to plant.

It was really great fun, everyone enjoyed the experience, even the neighbors popped over to help.

We’ve already started to plan the next event… this time we are thinking of showing school children how, the last time we did this, some twenty years ago, every plant in the school project was planted at least five times.

Quiet garden in Primary School
Quiet garden in Primary School

The garden won a multitude of awards , there was no vandalism, with everything establishing well.

A Quiet School Garden
A Quiet School Garden

It’s time to teach our children’s children how to enjoy the calmness of a garden, to connect with nature and to learn so much more about our planet.


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Outdoors : Growing Trends – Do you suffer from Allergies?

It’s allergy awareness week in  England . A subject that has become more and more important to my family over the past few years. My grandson Callum was born with severe allergies , which appear at the slightest opportunity, so … Continue reading

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Country : Growing Trends – Introducing Energime University

World Wide WEsponsibility Bill Sosinsky, Founder, Co-Owner, and CEO of The Energime Family of Companies including Energime Sustainable Technologies, Energime Power, Energime Energy Efficiency and is the Chairman of the Board for The Energime Foundation. Bill is also the Founder … Continue reading

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Country: Growing Trends – Bees & Beekeeping

Patti is one of those rare ladies, an expert bee keeper and a fascinating speaker. Listen to her explain the intricate lifestyle of the honey bee, it's truly fascinating and very educational. We visited Patti at her lovely country home … Continue reading

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Country: Growing Trends – Weston Red Barn Farm

We called in to the farm early one morning, just as the sun was rising, to talk to Steve before his busy day had got into full swing. A trip to the Weston Red Barn Farm is like visiting a … Continue reading

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Fall & Spring Program

Our internet radio show Growing Trends has attracted listeners from across the globe, we’ve been really amazed how many people comment and listen – thank you all so much, it really is a lot of fun to produce.

We would love to hear from you with your ideas & suggestions on the shows content.


We’ve interviewed some amazing people, from many different walks of life, with many differing interests in our outside environment – from a keen homeowner gardener, to a commercial grower, to an environmentalist to an estate gardener, to a very knowledgeable bee keeper, to an expert consultant. All have fascinating insights into the hugely diverse world of horticulture and our environment.

We are making some programming adjustments to our fall schedule to better reflect this diverse interest.

You can still listen daily at 1pm & 7pm on, or download direct from the site as a podcast, or just visit our own web site and click on the ‘listen here’ page.

Our new segments.

Time to Eat – Everything about growing your own food


.Gardenesque – All about gardens & landscapes.

The softer low timber wall looks at home here.

World Wide Wesponsibility – A little more serious about sustainability and how we can be good custodians of our planet.

City center Green Roof

Face Time – Interviews with experts on topics of interest.

Let's dance !

Have an idea for an interview ? send us an email and we will be in touch..

"We need more plants"

Drop us a line with your comments & suggestions, or even a request for an interview.. you can complete the form below or just email us Ann & Chris at

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Have you taken the kids to a park recently?

This classic park surrounding the simply stunning Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art , in Kansas City is a great place to start – as long as the temperature are being kind !

Anyone for Badminton?
Anyone for Badminton?

The museum has a new exhibit which kids would really enjoy, as long as they are accompanied, it’s a glass Labyrinth.

Picture credit to Chris Smart
Picture credit to Chris Smart

Alternatively if you were across the pond  in say Paris, France  you could visit a more modern looking park. I think this is  Parc de Villette

Park  in Paris
Porte de Villette, Paris

or perhaps a more tropical park in say Honolulu.

A stunning park in Honolulu

Sometimes just the local school has a pleasant surprise in store, as this school in south London achieved.

A school quiet garden
A school quiet garden

Most parks are designed and built to a much higher engineering standard, so they can last a long time without needed costly repairs.

Over the years we have designed & built a huge array of children’s play areas, mostly in parks or on community housing sites, occasionally in a school, the one above was a really fun project, quite a few years ago now.

The idea was to have a theme for the closed in ‘quiet’ area, so the architect suggested a ‘Kentish Riverbank’ , so we developed a dry river bed using kidney stones set in a flowing pattern, added a jetty to lin the ‘Oast’ house from the ‘Kentish Barn’ , included a loading ramp – to enable wheel chair access and created a few sail boats with trees for masts and sails. All the planting was native to a Kentish riverbank along the dry river, with more architectural plants around the edge.

We added a ‘hump back bridge’ in natural stone & a fallen oak tree, from years back when there was a very large storm.

A Quiet School Garden
School Garden

One of the art teachers had the kids create a whole series of ceramic fish which we set into the river bed,  they make excellent brass rubbings !

Ceramic Fish for Riverbed.
Ceramic Fish for Riverbed.

Children love to interact with nature, they also enjoy movement,as well as some risk, you will notice though that here we kept away from moving objects as this was a ‘Quiet Garden’ .

City parks in recent years have tended away from moving pieces of play equipment, mainly due to the liability from accidents, they use a more static type of play equipment, although the classic swing is still in evidence in many parks to this day.

More awareness of other dangers has lead to many play areas being fenced in, to protect the children playing.

Visiting a local farm is yet another wonderful experience “Pick you Own’ farms can be a wonderful treat for the kids..

Fruit picking
Fruit picking

Here in Weston, Missouri we have a classic old style farm that is just enchanting.

Early one morning , Weston Red Barn Farm
Early one morning , Weston Red Barn Farm

Ann & I, interviewed Farmer Steve last week he will be on our show very soon, to tell you how busy he is kept with  all his animals and field of fruit and pumpkins not to mention around 15,000 kids visiting his farm each year !

You can hear our other interviews at   Growing Trends  on

Or you can visit our show web site at  to read more

Enjoy your weekend, thank you for reading our blog, we would love to hear from you.

Ann & Chris

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When did you last walk in a park, or a garden?

Ann & I thought it would be fun to explore in a little depth the opportunities to re-connect with nature and the ways we can all achieve this within our busy schedules.

Recent reports have shown that even a simple stroll in a woodland has beneficial results, as the trees give off a scent that is very calming to us all – the Japanese even have a word for this.

Green entrance 1

We also know that the soil contains beneficial microbes that act in a similar way to anti-depressants – perhaps this is why so many gardeners are happy dedicated folks ?

Our promenade starts at home…. with a stroll around a garden.

Taking a contemplative stroll in a garden is very relaxing
Taking a contemplative stroll in a garden is very relaxing

By adding the artificial stream we created more interest as you walked around the garden.

We added a small stream to flow alongside the path
We added a small stream to flow alongside the path

Many of the gardens we have designed and built contain a pathway to walk around the garden, they are wide enough for two people to walk side by side, usually constructed of a long-lasting, hard wearing semi flexible surface, ( we avoided concrete as its everywhere in the urban environment, and we have found that natural materials almost always look better)

Here the pathway is made of bound limestone and leads around the garden, directly from the brick terrace.
Here the pathway is made of bound limestone and leads around the garden, directly from the brick terrace.

Here the path acts as transition between the shrub beds and the more formal lawn, further over was a fenced in swimming pool.

Path along lawn edge
Path along lawn edge

The amount of traffic, will to some extent dictate the types of finish materials best suited to the task – all will need a sub-base preparation that can withstand the intended loads. ( a reminder for designers).

A lunch break walk, or special trip to the museum , brings a different style of path.

The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art , Sculpture Park
The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art , Sculpture Park

This beautiful pathway was repeated on the other side of the parkland setting

This heavily trafficked walkway above , is constructed of large rectangular pieces of natural stone, with a suitable load bearing base beneath, it is designed for many years of use.

Anyone for Badminton?
Anyone for Badminton?

Some of us are lucky to have offices with roof top garden for us to relax in for a few moments, this one was attached to the staff restaurant in central London.

Wooden pathway on Roof Garden
Wooden pathway on Roof Garden

This Roof Garden walkway is constructed of pre-treated wood and then stained, it’s laid on a spreader system, to allow the loads to be evenly distributed across the roofs entire surface ( one of those engineering requirement when working on a roof). We stained the wood green to soften it’s impact and to add to the whole ambiance.

Back home for a moment , this stepping path acts as a beautiful transition from lawn to path to pond

A little more adventurous, next to a small pond.
A little more adventurous, next to a small pond.

Walking to the rose arbor from the house….

The rose arbor was connected to the house by the pathway.
The rose arbor was connected to the house by the pathway.

Constructed of large wooden pieces, this treated timber, then stained black stepping path has pea-gravel between the pieces so we could add scented herbs , which release their essence as you step on them, the edges of the shingle are stopped off with bricks set between the wooden pieces. Creating a soft, but effective pathway.

Some years ago at a Dutch Floriade we came across this superbly, educational pathway.

A somewhat unusual pathway
A somewhat unusual pathway

Designed so that users could observe nature on the floor of the pond, it was both inspirational and educational.

Almost all gardens benefit from a method to transit from one space to another, here we created a gravel path that took the place of a traditional lawn, serving two main purposes, it significantly reduced aftercare, and reduced watering, yet looked as if it was meant to be here.

By breaking up the gravel path with two angled lines of paving and setting a pergola between the illusion of a larger space was created.
By breaking up the gravel path with two angled lines of paving and setting a pergola between the illusion of a larger space was created.

This garden was only 10ft wide by the shed !

This roof garden, was the subject of an exhibition, so a great deal of work was required to create a suitable pathway around.

Sometimes it is necessary to go to great lengths to create pathways
Sometimes it is necessary to go to great lengths to create pathways

The roof top garden was tracing the history of London’s gardens from the middle ages to the present time – well some 20 years ago.

Here’s how it finally looked..

Museum of London
Museum of London

I’ve no idea how it looks today !

Finally, if you want very low maintenance, it’s best to stick to hard surfaces, like this granite sett pathway..

This granite sett pathway is extremely hard wearing  and yet very rustic looking.
This granite sett pathway is extremely hard wearing and yet very rustic looking.

If you want a softer look , using natural bricks ( as long as they are frost resistant) is another alternative to consider.

Brick makes a very attractive pathway
Brick makes a very attractive pathway

or perhaps for the busy executive, a pathway that’s covered by a pergola on either side…

The pathways are on either side of this beautiful lawn
The pathways are on either side of this beautiful lawn

Hopefully we have inspired you to step outside and wander down to your nearest park, playground or just enjoy outside.

Find out more, listen to the amazing folks that create, tend, are passionate about or just have built these beautiful relaxing gardens, our show is all about the people

To hear our internet radio show Listen here   or our web site visit  Growing Trends Web Site

We would love to hear from you.

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A new name for the Blog – Growing Trends


We changed the name of our blog today to ‘Growing Trends’. Growing Trends is our internet based radio show, that is all about people.

The home owner that is passionate about their garden, who has a specialised skill or knowledge or style of garden landscape. It’s about the experts that design or help create them, or one of the many consultants that bring new ideas to each continent every year. lastly it’s about products and materials and how to best use them in your landscape.

We need your help especially if you are one of those passionate people with a beautiful garden landscape , or to ask those friends of yours who have those amazing gardens to contact us so we can try and interview them, for the show. it doesn’t matter if they are in another country, we can use skype to interview. If you want to see the program schedule it’s available on the website at

We would also ask for pictures of these lovely landscapes, so we can add them to our growing library, please do include any credits so we can include them as well.

In return we are going to try and post here many more of the beautiful projects we have been fortunate to work on over the years, along with the anecdotes and experiences, after all it really is all about the people  !


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A new trend or just more observant ?

I don’t know about you but, it’s sure been a busy week. Here in the MIdWest the temperatures have been unseasonable , with lower temperatures than normal and lots of rain. This has had a bit of a calming effect on plant growth, with some unusual results – for instance it hasn’t been a particularly good season for of all things Rosemary.

My roses are just returning to flower after a prolonged intensive care program, which afforded harsh pesticides, insecticides and miticides use. 

“She” – who much be obeyed, had given due notice that she would not be amused if they continued to look like a cross between a spiders web and a spotty leaf.

This week was also National Farmers Market Week, so we interviewed some really interesting growers at a market, we then interviewed an amazing couple who have literally planted thousands of unusual trees on their mini estate – loved the Larch, and a Zelkova, and a magnificent specimen Oak.!

All this interviewing had us thinking – well the brain cells were stimulated a tad more than normal. We realized we were noticing a trend that I suspect is becoming more prevalent, in which people are missing the contact they once had with their suppliers. The market was just bustling from early in the morning, with regulars, who really wanted to converse with the many producers, all the wonderful folks we’ve been interviewing all really enjoyed talking about their garden passions. 

We could see time and again, that there is a need to engage folks, and that youngsters are part of this, they are seeking information on a  one to one basis, sure you could find this on your phone or tablet, but  thats only half the story, the big stores are impersonal, some even intimidating, what we are seeing is a return to the more, small personal specialist. It will be interesting to see if it continues. Big may not be as beneficial as it once was !

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