The devil is in the detail

Week 6 – The devil is in the detail.

I thought I’d share my latest plan. This is how it all starts. I hand draw all my vertical planting plans. This is the first draft showing my go to backbone plants. Not shown are the special plants that are sprinkled on top like hundreds and thousands on a birthday cake. These exotic rarities (such as the Saxifrage stolonoifera ‘Ginkgo 98’ PB) are not always spotted by clients but I like to hide a few surprises in amongst the greenery nonetheless. The devil is, as they say, in the detail.

“The devil is in the detail” is an idiom that refers to a catch or mysterious element hidden in the details, meaning that something might seem simple at a first look but will take more time and effort to complete than expected and derives from the earlier phrase, “God is in the detail” expressing the idea that whatever one does should be done thoroughly; i.e. details are important. When it comes to our living walls – I agree completely.

It’s busy up Bedford way

Week 3 – It’s busy up Bedford way.

I’m back at our new and improved (and much loved) ’living wall production facility’ in Bedfordshire and Will, Alan and our newest recruit Peter (Alan’s brother) are hard at it. We already have over 100m2 of living walls to plant, with another 100m2 booked in. That’s a lot of plants (approx. 8000) and a lot of planting (approx. 200 days) so it’s going to be a busy start the year!

It’s still the holidays!

Week 2 – It’s still the holidays!

It’s still the holidays! Well, that’s not strictly true (but it feels like it).

Olive and Frankie started their new school, Blackawton Primary on Tuesday 2nd. Their old school (the much missed Coleridge in Crouch End) had over 900 children (120 per year) and Blackawton has 120 in the whole school. It’s a big change in so many ways, but so far so good. New friends are being made and everyone is making us feel very welcome. At the weekends we are in adventure mode, finding new places to explore and enjoy. East Portlemouth is a stunning spot. A golden strip of sand runs along the edge of the estuary as it opens out to the sea, with the town of Salcombe perched on the cliff edge opposite. This time of year it’s very wild and very windy, but that’s not going to stop us… however hats, scarves and gloves are essential.

In the ‘deep lanes’ of devon, the natural world is all around us, hard to ignore and apparently dormant. However, beneath the surface things are starting to stir. The first snow drops and primrose are opening and I’ve noticed some sheltered trees are already starting to blossom. January is the ‘dawn’ of the year and it’s time for my creativity to rise and shine.

2018: A new year, a new adventure

Week 1 – 2018: A new year, a new adventure

So I’ve some fairly biggish news to kick start 2018, I’ve moved to Devon.

We (myself, Helen and our two children Olive and Frankie) moved on December 28th… which I can now officially confirm, is a pretty nuts time of the year to move.

It’s been a long time in the planning. Or should I say more accurately, I’ve been thinking about it for decades, talking about it for years and when it finally came to it, planned the move for about oh… what must have been at least… several weeks.

We have moved into what can only be described as huge Georgian farmhouse just outside a village called Blackawton in the South Hams (3 miles from the sea). Since arriving it’s been wet, wild and windy and it’s absolutely brilliant. I love weather. Any sort of weather and down here you get weather, and you can feel the weather. You feel the wind and the rain and when it shines, the warmth of the sun on your skin. At night it’s really truly dark and the stars twinkle, which sparks my imagination and helps put things into perspective.

In the past I have read people write the words ‘I’ve found my home’ and arriving in Devon that’s how I feel.

Work wise, I realised that (having successfully tested the idea of planting our new modular living walls in Bedfordshire and then shipping them to site) I could set up a new ‘living wall production facility’ anywhere I wanted. And I did want to, in Devon. Which brings us up to date. I am now in the process of setting up the new nursery and living wall ‘factory’ and I for one am feeling excited, confident and eager to start testing out new plants in the next batch of walls.

Oh yes and my new years resolution, besides trying to get fit, is to attempt to actually write 52 blog posts. Last year I stumbled along to week 45, which wasn’t bad, but this year I am determined I will make it to the finish line.

I will keep you all posted.

Positively Lyme Regis

Week 40 – Positively Lyme Regis

According to a new study published in Psychological Science (a journal of the Association for Psychological Science) “positive mood has been found to enhance creative problem solving and flexible yet careful thinking”. I personally find that positivity is the main driving force behind my creativity. However, maintaining a positive state of mind is not always that simply whilst navigating the choppy waters of modern life. Time spent near the coast (often with my family) is one of the ways I feed my positivity and thus my creativity. Pembrokeshire, Norfolk, Dorset and Devon are my usual go-to destinations. This week it is Lyme Regis in Dorset. What a fabulous seafront and what a fantastic bit of late autumnal sunshine we had.

Summer Camp

Week 35 – Summer Camp

It’s coming towards the end of the holidays and everyone’s feeling a little sad as it’s been an amazing summer of outdoor fun. We’ve camped more this year than ever before, all in all about 14 nights. That’s a long time to spend in a tent. This week we’ve pitched up just outside St Davids, Pembrokeshire. It’s called Pencarnan Farm and I’ve been promising the kids for years that one day we would camp here… for obvious reasons… the view is simply stunning and there’s lots to do! Swimming in the sea, body boarding, kayaking, fishing off the rocks, digging in the sand, rock climbing, coast walking, fishing, eating ice cream, cooking fresh fish over an open fire, watching the sunset, sitting under the stars, spotting shooting stars and eventually falling asleep in the fresh air… then waking up to the most amazing dawn view of mist rolling down the valley and out to sea. Amazing. Thank you Wales, it’s been great… again.

Checking on progress

Week 32 – Checking on progress

I’ve just popped into our nursery to check on our latest living wall. I’m delighted as it’s looking good. In just a few weeks time we will be installing this in it’s new home in Belsize Park. Both Alan and I agree, it’s one of our best yet. I think Alan is going to miss it…