New Year. New Driveway. Same Great Suppliers.

It’s always a great feeling to end a year with the completion of a project. And a driveway makeover is no less satisfying than a complete garden overhaul, particularly one as stunning as this one that we’ve just finished working on. Here’s the before shot:

One of the most sensitive areas of the garden redevelopment of this property in Wadhurst, East Sussex, was the front access. What started off as a thicket of woodland and rather run-of-the-mill driveway has been transformed into an elegant entranceway that is now deserving of the stunning property hidden behind:

In order to ensure the property is screened so people can’t just see straight up the drive, we planted a selection of mainly evergreen plants to give year round cover. We also included plants that flower at different times of the year to add some interest, including a couple of deciduous cherry trees for gorgeous springtime blossom. We also planted hundreds of bulbs around the edges for a fantastic spring display.

Most of the plants and trees were put in at a mature or semi-mature size, but they will continue to develop and be pruned to create a bigger and more solid screen. Western Red Cedar (Thuja) hedging was planted to match the curve of the granite edgings and will eventually grow to 2.5 metres high. We’re very pleased with how it looks now but in 2 or 3 years’ time it will look even more fantastic as most things take a few years to knit together.

Enormous thanks to the wonderful Provender Nurseries for supplying all the bulbs, plants and mature trees.

As the project had to be completed by Christmas, everything had to be pulled together in quite a short amount of time and Chilstone pulled out all the stops to get the cherry on top, the pedestal signs, completed in time. Chilstone’s Steve Clark said,

“We adapted one of our existing moulds to enable us to create a cost effective pedestal, based on the design that we received from Ali. The pedestal was handmade at our premises in Langton Green and is made from our caststone in a Portland stone finish. The engraving was carried out at our workshop by one of Kent’s leading engravers Nigel Hartfield. We were also able to mock up the engraving design and pedestal to show the client before they made their final decision.”

Well we’d like to thank Steve, Nigel and the rest of the Chilstone team involved in the crafting of the signs. They look amazing!

We’d also like to say a big thank you to Round Wood of Mayfield for supplying all the granite kerbstones for edging the drive. They give great definition to the sweeping curves.

And last, but definitely not least, to Corker Outdoor Living for providing the driveway surfacing.

Thanks everyone – we really couldn’t have done it without you!

12 Gardening Jobs for January

Happy New Year to you! We hope you had a great Christmas.

All is quiet on the garden front as most trees, shrubs and other plants are in their dormant phase.

But there’s still plenty that you can be getting on with in the garden this month. A very good excuse to get some fresh air and exercise after the Christmas overindulge, we think!

Here are 12 jobs to get you started in January:

  1. Shred your Christmas tree for mulch or add it to your compost bin.
  2. The risk of frost is still a concern and will be for a little while yet. Check that protective coverings are still in place on your tender plants.
  3. Give friendly robins and other birds a helping hand through the winter months. Keep bird feeders clean and topped up with appropriate food. To stop drinking or bathing water freezing, pop a floating ball on the surface.
  4. Plant bare-root roses, hedges, trees and shrubs while they are still dormant.
  5. Keep deadheading winter pansies and other bedding plants to extend flowering time.
  6. If you haven’t already, clean, sharpen and oil your tools, especially secateurs and other pruning tools.
  7. Prune apple and pear trees.
  8. If you have plants that you want to move, do it now during dormancy.
  9. Remove old hellebores leaves to expose new flowers as they emerge this spring.
  10. Scrub empty pots with hot water and a mild detergent then rinse well.
  11. Clear weeds, leaves and other debris out of borders to keep them tidy and ready for spring mulching.
  12. Check stored Dahlia tubers and remove any that are showing signs of rot.

Also, start thinking about what you want from your garden this year. If you plan now what bulbs, bedding plants, vegetables, etc. you will need and when, you will avoid the last minute rush to get everything bought and in the ground, resulting in a much more pleasurable and productive gardening experience!