Ursula's Cambridge Garden

Professional gardener and plantswoman writing from my small urban garden in a great city

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Merry Christmas 2019

A moment for reflection on the simplicity of the winter garden before Christmas – ‘put to bed’ for the holidays as we gardeners say.  My clients’ gardens are all ready for the festive season in the stark simplicity and elegance of winter.


There’s been a lot of bulb planting this Autumn….

And tree planting…

(Newly planted fig tree Brown Turkey)

And of course an awful lot of leaves…

But now it’s time to clean away all the garden tools for the Christmas break…

Wish everyone a Merry Christmas..

And eagerly await the arrival of more of these in January 2020…..



Merry Christmas!





Spring rushing in…

There is never quite such an exciting moment in the garden as early May as the Spring begins to race on to summer, and the Fern crosiers arrive and all the bulbs begin powering up the borders.

It’s also a good moment to show the contrast with ‘before’ and ‘after’ with projects, so here are some examples from my clients’ gardens.

Garden #1 –

Before (Dec 2018 on arrival) – bindweed, overgrown chaos, slug-ridden and neglected…..

And now five month’s later with new plantings – the south-facing bed’s shrubs revived with new underplantings of catmint, salvias, aqueligia, alchemilla mollis and lavender, the left hand shade bed completely newly planted with shade loving ferns, pulmonaria, brunnera, Euphorbia robbiae.  The circular tree bed seen on the left has been planted with hellebores and the right hand raised beds newly planted with herbs, agapanthus, cistus and salvias.

Garden #2 –

An old neglected sandpit, on arrival in 2017…


Now transformed into a raised herb bed you can sit next to – southfacing, filled with nice gritty compost as a new home for edibles flowers and leaves (Rosemary, Bay, Sage, Fennel, Strawberries, Lemon verbena, Nasturtium, Borage, Pot marigold, Mint, Lavender)


New hedge planted in November 2017 with bulbs about to be planted November 2018 –

And blooming –


Garden #3 –

Building works in 2014, and the very start of the garden….


And now with building works, garden, and planters complete…


Garden #4

Before in Autumn 2018, neglected garden but with a very good backbone of established shrubs and trees.  Here cutting out the south-facing bed ready for planting with hot coloured sun-loving plants.

And now this Spring, with tulips powering up in April…

And Allium and Geums, together with newly envigorated Cotinus taking over in May…

And native English bluebells and Heucheras planted in the shade bed, north-facing, along with Pulmonaria, Epimediums and ferns.

Garden #5 –

Before, the weeding and preparation begins in Autumn 2017…

And now in April 2019, with new trees (Amalanchier and Prunus serrula), new hedge and all new plantings throughout.


Garden #6 –

Top garden cleared of extensive debri in Spring 2018…..and laid out for first wave of plantings…

And now in April 2019….

And finally some shots of my own garden today…..

Happy Gardening!




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One year on….

Welcome to February 2019!

Here are some current projects for clients, one year on…..

February 2018 above, and now in February 2019…

February 2018….

and this week in the February heatwave!


This time last year…

and today…

Last February was the beast from the East…in my own garden…

and February this year…

My new stained glass tower from Hayhoe Designs basking in its new spot with Coronilla and Euphorbia, in 20 degree heat!


Happy gardening.



Happy New Year January 2019

(Above) The paired-back beauty of January bleakness…Magnolia buds against a leaden sky at client’s front garden.

Here are some further highlights of January so far!

One of my client’s Hamamelis (witch hazel) in rather glorious full flower, after being re-potted last Autumn.

The dazzling, warming yellow of Mahonia, one of the January greats…

A worm’s eye view of my client’s snowdrops…

Perfect frosting edging to my Epimediums leaves in my garden….

Close up detail of magnificent Garrya elliptica flowering in my client’s garden – another star of the month….

Euphorbia characias wulfenii ‘lion’s mane’ heads doing their rather wonderful winter thing in my front garden..

The lovely Sarcoccoca ‘Dragon’s Gate’ with super red berries and fabulous scent, in my front garden.  It’s easy to see why Roy Lancaster leapt at this find of his – it’s a very refined version of a great winter evergreen no garden should be without.

Happy gardening all!