Friday 24 May 2013

Visit Strawberry Hill - Horace Walpole's Gothic Castle

Visit Strawberry Hill - Horace Walpole's Gothic Castle:

Walpole called his castle a ‘plaything house’ and in choosing the gothic style for Strawberry Hill he deliberately avoided the fashionable classical idioms of his time: columns, pediments, order and symmetry.
In collaboration with a group of amateur architect friends he based his designs on the architecture of the great gothic cathedrals and abbeys. Medieval tombs, arched doorways, rose windows and carved screens were models for his fireplaces, windows, doors and ceilings. Books of prints rather than the buildings themselves were his reference point and, instead of carved stone, the rooms and ornament of Strawberry Hill are wood, plaster and papier mache.
Walpole intended a tour of Strawberry Hill to be a theatrical experience. You enter a gloomy hall and pass up a staircase of grey stony appearance before finally entering the sumptuous state apartment – a burst of crimson and gold.

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Chelsea Flower Show 2013: award-winning gardens

May 21, 2013
By Pattie Barron
The Awards are in! The coveted Gold, Silver-Gilt and Silver medals have been awarded to Chelsea's Show Gardens and, perhaps because it's centenary year, there are no lacklustre Bronze medals. In fact, for the first time, 10 show gardens were awarded RHS Gold medals. Everybody is a winner - but who has what? Take a look, and see if you share the judge's opinion.
Best in show and gold medal winner

TRAILFINDERS AUSTRALIAN GARDEN: designed by Fleming's Nurseries
Melbourne designer Philip Johnson creates an exuberant Australian landscape that focusses on water management and natural habitat gardening - that is a real crowd pleaser. Not surprisingly, this won the highest award and is a great note for Fleming's Nurseries final hoorah at Chelsea - they've exhibited nine times at the show in the past, and won five gold medals - though maybe after this accolade, they might reconsider!
Other gold medal winners
THE TELEGRAPH GARDEN: designed by Christopher Bradley-Hole
Christopher Bradley-Hole's beautifully restrained garden, more about architecture and sculpture than plants, not suprisingly won a Gold medal. However the word from the crowd is that as a back garden, you might get tired of the never-changing landscape....
THE WASTELAND: designed by Kate Gould
Unusually, acclaimed designer Kate Gould sponsored her own garden - and it paid off, gleaning her a Gold. The Wasteland depicts a garden that has been created from discarded materials, giving them a new lease of life. Who could imagine that the charming filigree wall was created from old shopping trolleys?
THE LAURENT-PERRIER GARDEN: designed by Ulf Nordfjell
Cool, elegant and contemporary, the Laurent-Perrier Garden unites the classic styles of French and English landscaping with the sure signature of Swedish landscape architect Ulf Nordfjell. A great garden to wander in...but where are the seats?
No surprises here - Roger Platts' gorgeous garden celebrates the last hundred years of England's gardening heritage, and somehow manages to embrace different styles from cottage-garden to prairie planting, without cluttering the space.
A hand-crafted working wooden beehive is just one of the charming and useful features on this quintessential family garden from designer Adam Frost. Designed with a small family in mind, the garden provides the space to emjoy an everyday connection with food - many of the plants are edibles - and with nature.
THE BREWIN DOLPHIN GARDEN: designed by Robert Myers 
Although this is decidedly a crisp, modernist garden, many of the plants used are British natives, showing that you can mix wildflowers with garden cultivars, with great results. Robert Myers' fresh take on a central lawn is worth noting: squares of grass edge a looser centre of topiaried box cushions surrounded by long deschampsia grass. A sure-fire Gold.
THE ARTHRITIS RESEARCH UK GARDEN: designed by Chris Beardshaw 
Chris Beardshaw's love of plants is obvious in this garden, and it is a pleasure among the abundance of green-and-white show gardens to see such a diversity of colour and texture, from the towering echiums to the dainty pink cranesbill geraniums. Surprisingly, many of the plants Chris has used are employed in the treatment of arthritis, eg borage, for its oil.
RBC BLUE WATER ROOF GARDEN: designed by Nigel Dunnett and The Landscape Agency
My personal favourite, this garden is an eco-friendly urban rooftop garden that, says Professor Dunnett, explores the potential of skyrise greening - to bring trees, meadows and wetlands into the heart of the city. Pictured is the central wetland area that captures rainwater run-off.
THE EAST VILLAGE GARDEN: designed by Michael Balson and Marie-Louise Agius 
The ambitious theme of this garden is to reflect the 'designed for living' theme of East Village, E20 - formerly the Olympic athletes village - and soon to be London's newest neighbourhood when it opens later this year. Local references are picked up in the boundary, structures and planting, right down to the curving lines and leaf forms. Meanwhile, those white arum lilies, viewed close-up, are just gorgeous.
Silver-gilt awards
Not all show gardens are blueprints for our own gardens, and this garden, designed by landscape and garden designer Jinny Blom, together with Prince Harry who co-founded the charity Sentebale with Prince Seeiso of Lesotho, aims to educate us about Lesotho's 'Forgotten Kingdom' and Sentebale's role in supporting vulnerable children. Interesting to see how the usual garden building and seating area are interpreted!
THE SEEABILITY GARDEN: designed by Darren Hawkes
The garden's theme is sight loss, and has been created to raise awareness about the effects of visual impairment, but even if you take it at face value, the easy-to-read block planting and interesting feature walls make it a worthy urban garden.
Jamie Dunstan's brave missive is to promote the use of natural materials and crafts as well as highlight the ways in which mankind has exploited nature over the years, becoming heavily reliant on natural resources. The stuff that looks like overlong grass, surrounding the woven willow sculptures? It's winter barley, used, of course, in the brewing industry.
Silver awards
STOKE-ON-TRENT'S STORY OF TRANSFORMATION: designed by the landscape team of Stoke-On-Trent City Council
This unique, ambitious and rather fabulous garden tells the story of Stoke-on-Trent's journey from its rich industrial past to its present incarnation as a modern and vibrant city. That big structure represents a pottery bottle kiln and in contrast, a sunken seated area references the contemporary living spaces being created in Stoke-on-Trent.
STOP THE SPREAD GARDEN: sponsored by the Food And Environment Research Agency and designed by Jo Thompson
This garden is inspired by a powerful message: our plants, trees and wildlife are under threat from pests, diseases and invasive non-native species, which could have a huge impact on our gardens, woodlands and countryside. Although parts of the garden symbolise the devastation that can be caused, this is a space of quiet beauty. The central sculpture, made so you can walk through the centre, was designed by sculptor Tom Stogdon.
Photographs by Bethany Clarke

Woolwich Crossrail to get green light - Transport - News - London Evening Standard

Woolwich Crossrail to get green light - Transport - News - London Evening Standard:

Find a garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013 / RHS Gardening

Find a garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013 / RHS Gardening:

The Mindfulness Garden
Epic 3D Film Trailer

Tuesday 21 May 2013

The Queen: Portraits of a Monarch | Royal Collection Trust

The Queen: Portraits of a Monarch | Royal Collection Trust: "The Queen: Portraits of a Monarch
Windsor Castle
Friday, 23 November 2012 to Sunday, 09 June 2013

Queen Elizabeth II is one of the most depicted women in the world. She has sat to numerous artists, from Cecil Beaton and Pietro Annigoni to Lucian Freud. Her portrait likeness, so widely circulated, has also inspired artists such as Andy Warhol, whose screenprint portraits of Her Majesty have been recently acquired for the Royal Collection and are displayed for the first time at Windsor Castle."

The Queen's Coronation 1953 | Royal Collection Trust

The Queen's Coronation 1953 | Royal Collection Trust: "The Queen's Coronation 1953
Buckingham Palace
Saturday, 27 July 2013 to Sunday, 29 September 2013

This summer marks the 60th anniversary of one of the most momentous occasions in 20th-century British history – the Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. To mark the anniversary of the event, a major exhibition for the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace will bring together for the first time since Coronation Day, a spectacular array of dress, uniform and robes worn by the principal royal party. Works of art, paintings and objects used on the day will also be on display to recreate the atmosphere of that extraordinary occasion.

Image: Cecil Beaton, © Vict

'via Blog this'

The Laurent-Perrier show garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013 / RHS Gardening

The Laurent-Perrier show garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013 / RHS Gardening:
The Laurent-Perrier Garden

Find a garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013 / RHS Gardening

Find a garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013 / RHS Gardening: "Trailfinders Australian Garden presented by Flemings
Sponsored by Trailfinders, Fleming’s Nurseries, Victorian State Government, Phillip Johnson Landscapes"
Trailfinders Australian Garden presented by Fleming’s

The Brewin Dolphin Show Garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013 / RHS Gardening

The Brewin Dolphin Show Garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013 / RHS Gardening:
The Brewin Dolphin Garden

Find a garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013 / RHS Gardening

Find a garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013 / RHS Gardening:
Stop the Spread

Gallery: Queen expected to visit Chelsea Flower Show | Metro UK

Gallery: Queen expected to visit Chelsea Flower Show | Metro UK:

The Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke of York and Princess Beatrice will all be in attendance to preview the five-day festival, the most famous flower show in the UK.
Among those awaiting the royal visit will be Prince Harry, who will show his grandmother around a garden created by his Lesotho-based charity Sentebale.
Also attending before the flower show is open to the general public at the Royal Hospital Chelsea in west London are Helen Mirren, Joanna Lumley and Jamie Oliver.