A head for heights

Week 16 – A head for heights

Whilst Adam is enjoying the delights of rural Devon I have been getting to enjoy the delights of a building site on Old Street. Lucky me. Actually the view from the roof terrace is pretty good, especially on a sunny day. It is nice to know that it will be even better in a few months once we have installed a large living wall that tracks the shape of the neighbouring building’s gable end. My only slight concern is all the working at height we will be doing – I’d have taken a photo of the view to the pavement but I didn’t dare get that close to the edge of the terrace!


London Calling

Week 9 – London Calling

The full TLA team all met up in London this week to install not one but two living walls. Alan and the Stevington squad brought their walls for a fab courtyard in Highgate whilst I (the current Devon team) brought up my latest offering which slotted straight into a wonderfully modern garden in St Johns Wood designed by John Davies. John’s a fabulous designer who we’ve produced a number of living walls for over the years and you can see his beautiful portfolio of gardens here.

The Beast from the East

Week 8 – The Beast from the East

Snow, sledging and slipping around. I fleeced up the living wall that I’ve just finished (installing next week in St. John’s Wood) and headed for the slopes! Well, our own personal sledging field which sometimes doubles as a farm. Much fun was had by all including yours truly.

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.