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I’ve a new website and blog combined. It’s still early days and we’re gradually moving stuff over. Find it on www.amandashipman.com.  It is a WordPress site but with pages for portfolio stuff and posts for blogs. That’s the place to find me now.  Do have a look at let me know what you think!

Thank you!

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I heard  Rick Darke speak at the SGD conference in October 2010 and he has an amazing way of seeing.   His message is that you learn more from landscapes you see the most. Just use your senses – it’s all right under your nose!  I was inspired to take these photos of shadow patterns and stones we have at home.

Stones

Stones

The stones are from a beach in Dorset and are very satisfying to look at and hold.  We rearrange them from time to time, but this is how I saw them for the photo.

Shadows through glass

Shadows through glass

These next ones are shadows through glass.  I love the way the light is focused and dispersed in such a short space; it ranges from complete intensity to softness.  The patterns are an amazing network of light and dark in seemingly random patterns but they are consistently recreated as the glass is turned.

Shadows through glass

Shadows through glass

Tropaeolum 'Peach Melba'

Tropaeolum 'Peach Melba'

Flowering until the first frosts, nasturtiums always make a good show. This one is Tropaeolum ‘Peach Melba’. The leaves of nasturtiums are distinctive flat, fleshy, frost-tender discs on long stalks like juggling plates, able to balance and twist in the wind.  In damp weather, dewdrops and raindrops settle on the leaves like mercury.  Really pretty!

Tropaeolum

Tropaeolum

Tropaeolum

Tropaeolum

Tropaeolum

Tropaeolum

 

Phormium variegata

Phormium tenax variegatum

 

When we first spoke about underplanting, my clients imagined traditional, low, ground cover plants and were really shocked when I showed them these 1.2m high phormiums on our nursery visit.   They are completely bowled over with the finished effect; these magnificent Phormium tenax variegatum planted between the roots of established sycamore trees, really add drama to the garden.

They’re planted away from the fence and as light to travels down the length of the leaves, it lifts and balances shape and mass of the tree trunks and boundary.

 

Festuca glauca

Festuca glauca

 

We finished off planting this jewel of a garden during the week.  Festuca glauca was planted under Trachelospermum jasminoides in lightweight black terrazzo planters from Cadix, with 4mm white Nordic spar stones to finish the look.  We gave purple leaved Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’ the same treatment in matching black terrazzo pots, moodily set against a dark fence.

 

Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood'

Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood'

 

Autumn is the time when I really notice spiders. I love the cleverness of their webs. This web is by one of the commonest British orb-web spiders, the Garden Spider, Araneus diadematus. It’s constructed by a female spider in two stages; first it is spun with non-sticky silk, with a central inner spiral created for the spider to await her prey, then secondly, she goes back over the outer spiral, eating it and replacing it with sticky silk, keeping herself from sticking by coating her feet in oil.  Quite amazing!

Spiders web

Mission accomplished! Here’s a female garden spider having caught a fly.

The Garden Spider, Araneus diadematus

The Garden Spider, Araneus diadematus

And although markings vary from spider to spider, you can easily recognise her by the white cross on her back.

The Garden Spider, Araneus diadematus

The Garden Spider, Araneus diadematus

Late summer colour

Late summer colour

Late summer colour

I first designed and planted this garden seven years ago and in September, as part of my Event Gardening service, I was asked back to prepare it for a party.  The concept for this south-facing border is for hot colours and jungle-style plants, with this image featuring purple- and green-leaved bananas, Musa basjoo with scarlet shocker Dahlia ‘Bishop of Llandaff’. I continued the show-stopping scene by adding orange Dahlia ‘Gallery Art Deco’, purple Verbena bonariensis and the bruised mahogany colour and distinctive leaf shapes of Cordyline australis ‘Red Star’. It’s full of razzle-dazzle and just gets better and better as the summer progresses!