Mindblown: a blog about philosophy.

  • Lavender Hedges

    Lavender Hedges

    April is a good month to think about planting your Lavender hedge. Hardy or tender, white through to deep purple, compact or tall & tough, there are hundreds of varieties to choose from (Downderry Nursery and The Lavender Garden  have an excellent website to help you choose).  Lavenders will thrive in a sunny, well drained…

  • Winter pruning a Fig tree

    Winter pruning a Fig tree

    An old fan trained fig tree, growing against the south facing wall of a Victorian coach house near Itton in Monmouthshire. February a good time for its annual winter prune. In the UK fig trees fruit on last year new growth, having formed pea like embryonic buds that are poised and raring to go for…

  • Renovating a Victorian Walled Kitchen Garden

    Renovating a Victorian Walled Kitchen Garden

    Edwards Garden Services is currently involved in the design, maintenance, restoration and renovation of the grounds and landscape of  a Grade II listed country villa overlooking the River Boyd between Bristol and Bath in South Gloucestershire. The Victorian property features a walled kitchen garden. Rough 1/3 acre, the kitchen garden has been neglected for a…

  • Leaves, lawns & petrol blowers

    Leaves, lawns & petrol blowers

    A Persian Ironwood, Parrotia persica & Handkerchief Tree, Davidia involucrata,  (a common name that does not really do it justice) looking spectacular in one of the gardens we look after in the Forest of Dean. If there is one job we carry out as gardeners that creates as much controversy as any, its clearing autumn…

  • Careers


    A Career In Gardening? Either looking to expand your horticultural experience or looking for a new challenge, Gareth works in a collaborative way with other gardeners, tree surgeons, landscapers and designers in the region so is always happy to hear from people who might be considering a career in horticulture. A good opportunity to contribute…

  • Beekeeping


    Part of the gardening for wildlife, ecology, habitat management and meadow work Gareth and his team carry out, beekeeping is one of the services provided. The ‘original’ apiary at Aust in South Gloucestershire.  What started as three hives soon expanded into a decent size apiary with swarms and division to manage the thriving bee colonies.…

  • Wildflowers


    Meadows and hedgerows. Grassland management for lawns, glades, orchards and fields. An experienced field botanist and ecologist with many years experience of maintaining gardens and landscapes, Gareth can provide both expert advice and practical help in creating and managing grasslands for wildlfowers. Brushcutters, mowers, tractors, leaf-blowers, rakes and pitchforks, an armoury of tools for the…

  • Historic Landscapes: Renovation, Restoration or Rewilding?

    Historic Landscapes: Renovation, Restoration or Rewilding?

    Part of the on-going estate management at a property nestled between Bristol and Bath, Gareth and his team are focusing on the wider landscape whilst the restoration (renovation?) of the listed Victorian villa carries on apace. This site overlooks the River Boyd in South Gloucestershire, an area know as Golden Valley. Evolving out of European…

  • Pruning an Established Apple Espalier

    Pruning an Established Apple Espalier

      Trained fruit trees, probably one of a gardeners favourite jobs. These old apple espaliers perfectly illustrate the techniques and pitfalls when maintaining trained fruit trees, whether espaliers, cordons or whatever shape takes your fancy. Planted in the late 1890’s these trained fruit trees at Barrow Court in North Somerest were once regarded as one…

  • Constructing a Wildlife Friendly Pond

    Constructing a Wildlife Friendly Pond

    A focal point to a landscape design project in North Somerset was the construction of a wetland habitat (or contemporary water feature depending on your point of view). The pond features a striking hardwood decking overhanging the waterbody, with lighting and contemporary materials. The sloping profile suits plants, animals and habitats of different depths, with…

  • Potager Style Planting Scheme

    Potager Style Planting Scheme

    Walled garden in Monmouthshire. Potager style planting scheme. Productive and ornamental with beans, tomatoes, salad, herbs and greens amongst a flowering herbaceous display. Rudbeckia ‘Hula Dancer’ looking good with the Veronicastrums amongst some strong Achillea ‘Walter Funcke’, Salvias and grasses. Should have been more assertive splitting up the clumps to develop a dotty matrix, but…

  • Pruning a Grapevine

    Pruning a Grapevine

  • Landscaping Meadow Options

    Landscaping Meadow Options

    The same annual flower mix as the year progressed (no grasses)

  • Hedge Planting in the Usk Valley, Monmouthshire

    Hedge Planting in the Usk Valley, Monmouthshire

    Bare root hedging season progressing well. The Usk valley in Monmouthshire is a stunning landscape to be working in. This estate north of Usk features meadows, woodland and lake in the wider landscape. February 2020 we are planting a mixed native hedge alongside a paddock. The 5 acre field is managed for wildflowers. The 5…

  • Garden Art

    Garden Art

    Garden sculpture in the Forest of Dean, not a bad setting whilst doing a late meadow cut. Some good Common-spotted Orchids dotted around the meadow as well.

  • Avenue of Liquidamber

    Avenue of Liquidamber

    Planted last winter, coming into good autumn colour.

  • Camassia leichtlinii naturalised in a meadow

    Camassia leichtlinii naturalised in a meadow

    Previously a routinely mown expanse of lawn. Developing areas with wildlfowers – these Wild Quamash (Camassia leichtlinii) planted last autumn looking good now.  

  • Planting a Tree Lined Avenue

    Planting a Tree Lined Avenue

    Part of an on-going landscape design and restoration project we are working on near Bitton, South Gloucestershire. Within  the 11 acre setting for the listed Victorian country house, a newly planted avenue of Liquidamber. After a year or more of scrub bashing, mowing paths through old meadows and bramble and generally getting to grips with…

  • Bespoke Compost Bins

    Bespoke Compost Bins

    Form and function. Maybe I’m a bit over the top when it comes to compost bins but you cant deny what a thing a beauty this is (my own design). Always read the instructions.

  • Dividing Snowdrops

    Dividing Snowdrops

    Lifting and dividing Snowdrops on the green has proved pretty successful for us. This bank was only planted up last spring: Bees on an established clump:

  • Renovating  Yew Hedges

    Renovating Yew Hedges

    Unlike many evergreens, Yew, with its abundance of dormant buds sitting in wait within the old wood, responds well to cutting back beyond the existing canopy. The almost mythic propensity to regenerate itself, producing some of our oldest living specimens, thousands of years old. In spite of the best intentions of routinely trimming your Yew hedge,…

  • Renovating a Neglected Lime Avenue

    Renovating a Neglected Lime Avenue

    Edwards Garden Services is currently involved in the design, maintenance, restoration and renovation of a significant landscape overlooking the River Boyd at Bitton in South Gloucestershire. The awkward question of how to restore or renovate a neglected lime avenue has recently been tackled. Neglected lime avenues can be difficult to renovate as a good avenue of…

  • Yew Hedges in a Victorian Garden

    Yew Hedges in a Victorian Garden

    Edwards Garden Services has recently finished the hedge cutting of the complex of Yews at Barrow Court in North Somerset. The original hedges were planted in 1896, part of the formal layout of this Elizabethan inspired Victorian garden. Other Yew hedges on site are still the original plants and we have been involved in their…

  • Planting Autumn Bulbs

    Planting Autumn Bulbs

    Wick, South Gloucestershire, planting bulbs for spring flowering. Naturalising Daffodils in a large expanse of lawn should provide a good display this spring.  Some areas of this lawn are naturally more prone to waterlogging so white Camassia’s and Snake’s-head Fritillary were selected as good species to naturalise. Not too late to be planting Tulips and…

  • Welcome to Aust, a Forgotten Landscape.

    Welcome to Aust, a Forgotten Landscape.

    A new base for Edwards Garden Services, the village of Aust in South Gloucestershire, a perfect home for Gareth balanced between his Bristol and Welsh roots. A village in the heart of the Lower Severn Vale, always associated with a route across the estuary, now an iconic Grade I listed building, otherwise known as the…

  • Being a Plant Guardian – Pittosporum dallii

    Being a Plant Guardian – Pittosporum dallii

    Plant Heritage (or the National Council for the Conservation of Plants & Gardens) is the worlds ‘leading cultivated plant conservation charity’. In addition to overseeing National Plant Collections and the Threatened Plants Project, Plant Heritage runs the Plant Guardian Scheme through which rare, threatened or just unfashionable plants are conserved, propagated and shared – safeguarding…

  • Maintaining a Victorian Shrubbery

    Maintaining a Victorian Shrubbery

    Edwards Garden Services has been working on the restoration and maintenance of this Grade II registered Victorian shrubbery since 2011. From the intial work focusing on restoration – the grove was a dense thicket, impenetrable and dark, the individual specimens lost on the undergrowth, work is slowly changing to a balance of routine maintenance. Variously…

  • Tales from the Riverbank

    Tales from the Riverbank

    Immortalised in poetry, the River Boyd runs for some 7 miles between Dodington and the River Avon at Bitton, it’s ‘watery sway washing the cliffs of Doynton and Wick’. The Boyd’s industrial heritage is now part of its natural history; the wiers, sluices, mill races part of the landscape inhabited by crayfish, mink, owls and…

  • A Hedgerow of Apples

    A Hedgerow of Apples

    A dozen or so heritage varieties of apple, grown on semi-dwarfing rootstocks, trained as cordons –  a great alternative to fences. I grow this particular trained hedgerow along a front garden boundary between two properties close to Eastville Park, Bristol. The trained fruit trees are pruned just twice a year – summer for fruit, winter…

  • Renovating a 1937 Water Lily Canal

    Renovating a 1937 Water Lily Canal

    An 18th century garden in Abbots Leigh, North Somerset. Within this older garden, and in the shadow of a 250 year old Cedar tree is a garden within a garden – a late Arts & Crafts enclosure, dating from 1937, defined by a central linear water feature. Some 20m in length, 1.5m wide, 1m deep…

  • Herbaceous Perennials instead of Bedding Plants

    Herbaceous Perennials instead of Bedding Plants

    A feature bed, central to a wide forecourt. The box border is a bit large and we will potentially reduce it at some point, but the immidate question was how to ‘decorate’ it? A seasonal change of tradtional bedding wasnt fancied aboth aesthetically and financially so we decided to plant perennials and roses (Queen of…

  • Planting a Pleached Hedge and Woodland Border

    Planting a Pleached Hedge and Woodland Border

    An 18th century walled garden in Wick, South Gloucesteshire, part of one of the old mill complexes on the River Boyd. A bit of a blank canvas with regard to planting but restored as a garden, not a car park or mediterranean themed landscape with swimming pool. Which makes a nice change. You have to…

  • Veronica spicata ‘Alba’

    Veronica spicata ‘Alba’

    Part of a new border we planted two years ago. We’d actually originally planted the edges with Nepeta but it proved too vigorous and was swamping a cottage garden mix of Eryngium, Polemonium, Sidalcea and Liatris. The early season Nepeta made the planting too blue, so out it came and these Veronicas seem a good…

  • Establishing a New Lawn

    Establishing a New Lawn

    Or, the importance of good preparation. I could write a detailed research paper on the history of this new build lawn. The pitfalls of establishment and process of recovery. When to give up and start again or persist with getting it healthy and long term sustainable. The landscape gardeners who put the lawn down were…

  • Seasonal Border Maintenance

    Seasonal Border Maintenance

    Gone are the days of ‘putting the garden to bed for winter’ (I’ve always disliked that approach). Even if we are not poking around the borders in the depths of winter, it is there, to be seen, and to be enjoyed both by us and the birds and bugs foraging amongst the seed heads and…

  • Organic Lawn Maintenance

    Organic Lawn Maintenance

    Organic Lawn Maintenance – or the Devon Red and Green Woodpecker Edwards Garden Services provides sustainable lawn maintenance programmes, across Bristol, BANES, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire. The British lawn, just another crop monoculture, weed and pest free, a quality product targeting maximum yield from those all-important lawn grass species. For the organic gardener, to achieve…

  • Raspberries – Winter Tasks

    Raspberries – Winter Tasks

    Autumn fruiting, summer fruiting, mid-season raspberries. How to grow, when to prune? Its just about coming to the end of bare-root planting season but just about time to plant some soft fruits. This time of year I’m more usually making sure all the pruning, tying-in, feeding & mulching has been completed.   Autumn fruiting raspberries…

  • Coppicing Dogwoods for Winter Colour

    Coppicing Dogwoods for Winter Colour

    Dogwoods (Cornus), Willows (Salix) give the best winter colour on young stems so an annual (or less for some such as Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire) coppice or pollard is recommended. Late February through March, just as the buds are beginning to swell, before the plants stored reserves have been expended on growth that will be cut…

  • Pruning Roses

    Pruning Roses

    Winter pruning of roses is in full swing. There are a bewildering array of types of roses, from hybrid teas and floribundas (pruned hard to a lower framework encouraging flowering stems on new growth) to ramblers, shrub and climbers, each benefiting from specific pruning techniques. The best approach is to see on what wood (old,…

  • Renovating a Beech Hedge in Sneyd Park

    Renovating a Beech Hedge in Sneyd Park

    An overgrown Beech hedge in Sneyd Park, Bristol. One of a number in the road identified by the local council as needing reducing as the footpath was becoming narrower than the hedge. February is the time for renovating a dormant beech hedge – also before the birds are nesting. They can be slow to recover…

  • Pruning Wisteria

    Pruning Wisteria

    Winter pruning Wisteria is one of my favourite jobs. Untangling its vigorous summer growth, pruning summer-shortened shoots to a more compact flowering spur, cutting back leaders to build up a good, well branched structure.   The flowering buds will soon be fattening up, distinguishing them from the narrower growth buds   Whilst Wisteria in flower…

  • Managing a Box Blight Parterre

    Managing a Box Blight Parterre

    The Grade II registered garden at Barrow Court, North Somerset features a parterre currently hedged by half a kilometre of Box hedging.  Box blight has been present in this historic parterre for many years and has been managed with varying degrees of success over this time. In spite of our best efforts, the box blight…

  • Grass Cutting in Abbots Leigh (Wildflowers and Wiggly Walks)

    Grass Cutting in Abbots Leigh (Wildflowers and Wiggly Walks)

      Whilst an immaculate croquet lawn with geometric stripes is always achievable, sometimes a maze and a wiggly walk through a wildflower meadow is more in keeping.  

  • Planting a New Orchard

    Planting a New Orchard

    A gently sloping field, just under half an acre, facing south west, in Abbots Leigh in North Somerset, a village just across from Bristol’s Clifton Suspension Bridge. It would have been difficult to think of anything other than planting an orchard here.  A traditional orchard in the SW would often have its individual trees spaced…

  • Maintaining a Box parterre

    Maintaining a Box parterre

    Trimming box in the depths of winter? Not exactly by the book (crimes against horticulture I hear people shout). Not only the timing, we also use machines to do the trimming! The reason – box blight and half a kilometre of hedging. We (Jim and myself) decided to shift to winter cutting some years ago…

  • Garden & Estate Management

    Garden & Estate Management

    Edwards Garden Services has many years experience managing and maintaining gardens, from historic registered parks and gardens of national significance to urban courtyards in the heart of the city of Bristol. Garden Management Plans Tailored annual budgets Conservation Management Plans Garden survey & assessment An understanding of the history of the garden, from its original …

  • Restoring a Victorian Shrubbery

    Restoring a Victorian Shrubbery

    The Grade II registered garden at Barrow Court just 6 miles south of Bristol is one of the finest examples of the revival of a formal style of gardening that marked the progress of garden design in the 19th century. The Victorian search for a historical legitimacy, a true Englishness, was realised at Barrow Court…

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