Ursula's Cambridge Garden

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


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!



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Christmas round-up 2018

As the last leaves depart from my Fig tree, and much else in the garden, here are just a few images of some projects in the final month of this year.


(Above) New client’s garden – beginning the order out of chaos – this photograph shows end of first session – and 14 bags of detritis cleared!

(Below) Client’s garden – one season’s work creating a well-planted shade bed on the right, and a completely new south-facing bed on the left.  Watch this space to see the hot colours requested springing forth!

(Below) Client’s new planting maturing nicely after one whole year – last perennials to add in the spring to the far bed infront of the screen.

(Below – New client’s front garden bed newly planted behind established Lonicera nitida hedge – again watch this space to see the yellow/blue border come together in the new year.

(Above) Tulips being added to the mixed native hedge planted last November – coming on nicely!

(Below) And my own Cotinus ‘Dusky Maiden’ looking rather lovely back lit by the low winter sun.

Merry Christmas and happy gardening to you all!