Rebecca Smith - Garden design & consultancy

Instagram Best of 2015

I don't know if you have seen this app on instagram (Best of 2015) but this shows the nine most 'liked' photos I posted in the past twelve months. I think this is brilliant - it shows the best bits of my job in one place. It also shows how many gardens I visit in the course of the year. It is always refreshing and educational to see how others have created their outdoor space. I feel it is incredibly important to keep your eyes open to see new planting ideas or hard landscaping inspiration. Here is a small selection of the places I have been in 2015...

From left to right:

Architect Ian Adam-Smith's own garden at his home in West Sussex. Ian has been responsible for rearranging and rebuilding three houses with my husband and myself over the past 20 years and always brings a sharp eye to the job. His private garden is a delight of topiary and classic English traditional planting offset with lovely detailed seats, pathways and hidden vistas which make a tour round the garden a real treat. 

Nectaroscordum tripedale photographed at the Chelsea Flower Show display of Dutch bulb specialist W.S. Warmenhoven. I planted this bulb, a member of the allium or onion family, in three gardens this year and cannot wait to see them up and flowering come May. 

The Walled Garden at Polesdon Lacey, a National Trust property near Dorking in Surrey. This was the home of the famous Edwardian hostess Mrs Greville, who hosted Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, on her honeymoon. The garden is a delight as is the house, especially the luxurious Edwardian bathrooms of marble and chrome.

The Walled Garden at Castle Howard in Yorkshire, made famous worldwide through the two films versions of Brideshead Revisited. My daughter and I visited there in June on our way between the Open Days at the universities of York and Durham. The Walled Garden is still growing vegetables but there is also a wonderful rose garden to see as well. The produce from the garden is sold in the excellent Farm Shop. 

The garden of Alton-based artist and garden designer Jo Carter and her sculptor husband, who prove that there really is no need to have a lawn. Their garden is open through the National Gardens Scheme in June and August or by private appointment. It is a beautiful oasis of colour and scent, and the occasional sculture will be found under the exuberant planting. 

A sea of blue and white crocuses at RHS Wisley in Surrey in February lights the gloom of the afternoon. Planted en masse like this is an eye-catching way of announcing Spring will arrive!

Glorious reticular irises at the Jacques Amand display at the RHS Plant and Potato Fair in London. Now called the Early Spring Show for 2016, the show focuses on late-winter flowering plants and is a fabulous way to see the best nurseries and growers. 

Another perennial favourite from the recent Chelsea Flower Show, W & S Lockyear's display of wonderful primula auricula which is always appealing to both the public and the judges, winning their second gold medal at Chelsea this year. The nursery, which holds the National Collection of Doubles, is located near Purley in Croydon but have to be seen at shows as they do not have a website. 

And finally, a photo from my own garden which is still under construction. This gate leads into the orchard which was the first thing we planted when we moved to Wyck Farmhouse four years ago. The gate and the surrounding yew hedge have been in place for two years now and the hedge is slowly inching it's way up and I am hoping it will be higher than the gate posts this year. Green fingers crossed. 

2015 Best Nine

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