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Out styled

Thursday, February 14, 2013 - 14:37

When it’s cold outside there is nothing lovelier than retreating inside your warm home with all of its comforts. 

By February though you are probably feeling less enchanted with the hunkering down of winter and are about ready to self detonate.

The glimpses of low sunlight on some days may seem like teases or taunts but they do really herald a whole new Spring season that is just waiting around the corner.

- (the Ostrich pillow is one way of surviving February) -

So are you ready to embrace the next season? Or should you be utilising the constraints of February to do some serious planning and not be clamoring to throw your doors open, just yet?

We have been talking to Liz Nicholls over at the Oxford Times about how to create your Signature Garden Style. And no we don’t mean dead-heading in your stilettoes Demi-style.

- (Okay, we’ll stretch to some gold wellies then) -

The article is available today (14th Feb) if you are local to Oxfordshire. Then online soon, and we’ll let you know when.

- (Sorry, that’s a step too far Doris) -

In today’s Oxford Times Homes & Gardens supplement you can read our steps to help you create your Signature Garden Style. Everyone has a slightly different view of what a garden should be and what it should offer, so we discuss how, by creating a garden of cohesive elements a definitive look will naturally emerge.

A reflection between the interior style of your home and your outdoor space is integral to this,

and by treating your outdoor space as an extension of your home you will create a seamless flow on the first days of Spring when all your doors and windows can be flung open again.

- (uh, not quite what we meant) -

- (that's more like it) -

By following some guidelines you could soon find that you have created your very own unique, sustainable garden that exudes an abundance of original style. You may be thinking that this is all a bit of a romanticised view of gardens but, it is Valentines day... and a garden doesn't have to be about weeds and mud all of the time.

What better could February be for than planning new beginnings, thinking fresh and making preparations?

So go on, tuck up and get cosy whilst you paw through books, magazines, papers & online, and wile away a little bit longer...

P.S. the two winners selected randomly of our book giveway 'Wicked' are Niki Banner and Christopher Belton. Congratulations. Please e mail your postal addresses to and your books will be sent out to you.

The Out styled Source Book: HC Gardens (throughout), The eternal sunshine of the spotless mind screenshot, Giddy Spinster, Ostrich pillow, Christmas Scenes, Harper’s bazaar, Hunter Boots, Leonarda Designs, Orla Kiely, Clerkenwell Sofa, Maine stylist, Do you love where you live, It’s Fine,  Apartment Therapy, Ebay, Style Find It, Martha Stewart, Traverse agency, Mrs B Spoke, Jill Battaglia, Andreas Wonisch, Adi, Lombok, Ecouture, Liz Nicholls, The Oxford Times

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Thursday, December 5, 2013 - 11:49


Menacing and splendidly ghastly, we would like to introduce you to Amy Stewart’s fascinating chronicle of the evildoers that may lurk in your very own garden…

You may think that this blog would have been more befitting to Halloween but as all that snow thawed anything green outside just seemed to leap out at us.

In our colour season so far we have given you a kaleidoscope of candy landscapes in the Eye Candy blog and an ice inspired Vanilla Sky. So now its time for our green inspired post and Wicked Plants seemed like the perfect gem to kick this off with. Plus, in celebration of reaching over a 1000 subscribers we have a few copies to give away.

Amy Stewart, the author of Wicked Plants draws on history, medicine, science and legend to present a compendium of tales of botanical misdeeds. These menacing tales could positively curl your blood and leave you trembling at the site of a salad, or at least leave you nibbling in trepidation.

With titles like “This houseplant could be your last” & “Killer lawn” and a strap line of “The weed that killed Lincoln’s mother and other Botanical atrocities” how could you not feel a little enticed by this tomb of perennial criminal intent?

The Boston Globe aptly referred to it as a ‘who’s who of fearsome flora’.

The misdeeds of the plant kingdom abound in this exquisitely illustrated hard back.

(-Illustrated in white copper etchings by Briony Morrow – Cribbs)

And if you fancy a brush with the dark side in person you can visit the Poison Gardens in the grounds of Alnwick Castle in Northumberland.

The gardens are under 24 hour surveillance for the safety of the public and in order to safeguard the toxic plants against would be thieves.  Some of the plants are even kept in specially fenced areas and large cage like structures. For ticket links to the gardens see the end of this post. Enter at your peril…

A few years ago a deadly tropical plant called the Devil's Snare, (which is usually found in the Amazon!), grew in a couple's Suffolk garden. Phyllis first spotted the shoots in her flowerbed in spring and then the plants were towering ominously over her borders by summer. The plant was used by South American Indians to poison their hunting spears, arrows and fishing hooks. Its poison causes dry mouth, blurred vision, heart irregularities, hallucinations, and eventually coma and death in severe cases.

“Phyllis said she had no idea how the deadly plants got there”

Now with all that macabre content aside its time for some greenscaping inspirations, my pretty

Please enter

green with envy

the green mile

and it's always greener...

or is it?

go green

The Power plant by NL Architects submitted for Tokyo

The Detroit urban soil studies

If you kind of liked this blog we have delivered some other just-colour ones over the last year. Here are the links;

Blue Monday, Pretty in Pink, White Hot, All Orla, Colour Blocking: Mondrian Style

To enter our book giveaway subscribe to this blog or like, comment on or share our page over on facebook. Click the link on the left handside tool bar. The Wicked Sourcebook: Bougly, Webflyer, Wicked Plants Amy Stewart, Kirsty Mitchell, Architizer, Chajnye Plantacii, Futures Greenscape, Hidden Road, Image Sunion, Hendy Curzon Gardens, Ostomsurf, Tejo, Territorial Seed Co, Stalbansreview, The Curious Gardener, Marqueyssac, Alan Fletcher Pencil Tree, Jose Villa, Cockington Green, Adi Curzon, Garden House, Ditze, Nick Hendy, Michael Nichols, Mondrian Miami, Phyll Aure, Imaboletin, Mint Julep, The Cutting Edge News, Open Walls, The Lantern Room, Detroits Natural Lab Soil Studies By J L Howard

And with Tulip season around the corner... did you know that the petals of a Tulip can be eaten in salads? Don’t believe us? See over at the fennel and fern blog. Tasty. 

For Poisonous Garden tickets go here The Poison Garden


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Vanilla sky

Saturday, January 19, 2013 - 18:56

and then it snowed... and Britain once again ground to a halt. It's as if we gamble every year on the chance that it won't snow. Will it, won't it? Yes it will.

Our lads worked tirelessly through the first part of last week in freezing conditions like true troopers.

by Thursday they felt it...

so we officially took Friday as snowday from site, wrapped it up and headed for our homes.

Much of the country was indeed snowed-off. So were you and what did you do? Were you prepped and ready? We always try to prepare and factor it in but we think Dan may have taken our warnings a little too seriously...

- Yes Dan does take his job very seriously. Preparations for snowday were stringent. Apparently he slept quite well in his igloo. -

Well we promised some colour this week so let's get to work.

We have kept the theme in keeping with the weather and looked for colour inspirations that embrace the frozen palette (hence the blog title).

and a little vanilla...

We look forward to warmer times. Snow = bored now. Haha snowbored, it's all just snow boring and we dream of an escape...

Until the big thaw we hope you can take some pleasure from all the snow, making snowmen - get creative! Sledging, snowball fights, taking in the colours of the frozen planet and tucking up indoors.

and just remember

whichever you are (or both) don't ever forget

never ever eat the yellow snow.

The Vanilla sky Source Book: Hendy Curzon Gardens, Art & Landscape, Daniel Semaine, Richard Peters, MyModern, Huffy Destroy, The Guardian, The Times, Ice Sculpture by Dale Chihuly, Gardens Reloaded, The Shining screenshot, Guiness, Hazrat Inayat Khan, Gothico, Dogs Unchained.

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Eye candy

Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 16:56

Welcome to the first post of 2013. Happy New Year. Now that the festivities have ended and the greyness of January descends we are going to be focusing on colour here.

All month we hope to lift your spirits by drawing inspiration from the wider landscapes around the globe, and by discussing methods of colour blocking in your garden.

Before you know it Spring will be emerging and until then we hope to help you to look forward to the possibilities for your garden in 2013. We will be looking at winter gardens

and how we design all of our projects to look good in these bleak months (and that includes the importance of the absence of colour for a period of time), but until it snows in the UK and settles, we are all about the colour here for the beginnings of 2013.

We are just bursting with ideas.

And no, we don’t mean Willy Wonka inspired chocolate lakes or ponds

but we do like to be influenced by naturally occurring landscapes alongside illustrious artists offering the extraordinary and the sublime.

-Kirsty Mitchell's Wonderland series expands and goes from strength to strength. For more see the link in the Eye candy Source Book below -

So with that said what will 2013 spell for us and our clients?

All 2012 projects come in to their own for our clients with many surprises in store. All will be monitored and photographed Winter, Spring and onwards through the seasons this year and be shared to the online portfolio.

We continue to build and plant a diverse range of confirmed projects – no two gardens or landscapes are ever the same – and this year’s HC Gardens designs are testament to that.

Alongside these projects we are designing and building one of the main show gardens at the Blenheim Palace Flower Show in June. Overall we just continue to look forward to the untold twists and turns and the challenges that another year will inevitably bring. So here’s to a bright, outwards outlook for gardens in 2013.

candy colours

think pink

- the unexplained Tree Hillier pink Lake, Australia -

seeing red

- Red Ribbon Tanghe River Park, China -

-Strawberry fields Forever by Anibal -

The Eye candy Source Book: Neofundi, Campuri de orez terasate, Deviant art, The Clever Sheep, Hendy Curzon Gardens Ltd., Mago Korokenchiku, BBC News, Lonely Planet, The Independent, Richard Moss, The fifth corner, Fennel & Fern, 8tracks, Victoria Johns, Addacover, Aniabal, Kirsty Mitchell for more click here - Wonderland

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it will be all light on the night

Friday, December 7, 2012 - 17:04

Welcome to our first festive blog. To kick off the season we are quite simply bringing you some inspirational exterior lighting installations. Prepare to be dazzled.

so all the shopping trolleys didn't end up in the lake then

nice to recycle

oh to go inside one of these amazing installations...

or to be one

Next week: a very merry blog indeed.

We have got some very big festive Front of House styling inspirations to share with you including our own...

(not really. We will practice restraint and good taste at all times)

Pop back to get all your home front Christmas styling inspirations here.

Home time. Happy Friday!

it will be all light on the night Sourcebook: Christmas-tree, Koelberl-Doeringer51, Schneekirche snow church, Snow-church-lead, Tree-WH, Shopping-cart-holiday-tree, Newyork Christmas, Inhabitat MK-illumination-warmwhitetree, pinterest, Digital-origami-in-la-rinascente, Christmas-reindeer, Pac Man, Plasmamania, The Times, Disney Paris, The Mail.



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