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Pulp Fiction

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - 12:59

It’s time for our Halloween blog and it’s a big one.

Now who said Halloween and pumpkin crafts had to be tacky? Yes, there is a whole world out there of serious pumpkin carving fanatics.

And some who may covet there prized pumpkins a little too much…

but let’s take a look at some designer pumpkins and the more ‘tasteful’ approach to Halloween decorations and festivities.

Not dazzled yet?

How about these then?

Now a further popular pumpkin myth is that pumpkin pie is unpleasant or tasteless. Well we beg to differ...

If you follow the domestic goddess of the USA – Martha Stewart’s tried & tested recipe you will be a pumpkin pie convert, we guarantee it.

You’ll find the recipe at the end of this blog.

Now that you have carved and embellished your oh-so-stylish gourd, and have savoured the delights of pumpkin pie how about growing your own for next year?

And we don’t mean gargantuan ones…

but rather some nice, modest varieties that will provide you with tasty treats next October. Baby Bear is best for pumpkin pie, Rouge VIF D’Estampes’ if you want the classic Cinderella shaped pumpkin, Jack of all trades for cooking and carving and Hundredweight if you do want a big boy.

These are great for children to grow and contrary to popular belief it’s all rather easy.

Follow these instructions provided by the RHS. 

Seeds can be sown in pots from April to June. Fill a 7.5cm (3in) pot with compost, place a seed in on its side 2.5cm (1in) deep and cover.


Label, water and place on a windowsill or in a propagator. When roots begin to show though the bottom of the pot transfer into a 12.5cm (5in) pot.

Once seedlings have established, plant outside spacing them 2-3m (6-10ft) apart. Seeds can also be sown from late May to early summer directly into the ground.

Choose a sunny, sheltered spot and improve the soil before planting by digging in well-rotted manure or compost. Sow two seeds on their side 2.5cm (1in) deep.

Once the seedlings have germinated, remove the weakest one.

Looking after plants

Protect seedlings with mulch and feed with general fertiliser or tomato plant food, watering regularly though the growing season.

If you're growing larger varieties use wire as a guide to train shoots as they grow. Remove some fruits before they develop, leaving two or three fruits on the plant. This will encourage the plant to put its energy into producing larger fruit.

As the fruits get bigger raise them up onto a piece of wood or brick to protect them from rotting. Remove any leaves shading the fruit as it needs maximum light to ripen.

If there's a risk of an early frost protect the fruit with cardboard and straw.

Harvesting and storage

Leave the fruit on the plant for as long as possible to mature and ripen. When the stem cracks and the skin is very tough, the fruit is ready to be picked.

Cut fruit off with a long stalk before the first frost. Pumpkins can be stored between four to six months.

Expose the pumpkin to sunlight outside for ten days or keep indoors at 27-32ºC (81-90ºF) for four days to harden.

Keep your pumpkin stored in a well-ventilated place at about 10ºC degrees (50ºF).

Now that the Great British Bake Off is over we have all been turning our hands to some pumpkin creations for our very own Great British Face off.

Let the Pumpkin Wars begin...

(not one of ours)



How did we fair?

And lastly as we are getting into the spooky spirit of Halloween, here are some of our creepy garden finds this week…

...not really, but these are -

found in a courtyard in Oxford, under the patio, and then this in a remote village as we were planting...

Which brings us nicely on to Martha Stewart’s Pumpkin Pie recipe...


1 sugar pumpkin (about 4 pounds) halved or 3 cups solid-pack canned pumpkin.

All-purpose flour, for work surfaces. 7 Large eggs. 1-tablespoon heavy cream. 1 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar. 2-tablespoon cornflour. 1-teaspoon salt. 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon and ground ginger. 1-teaspoon pure vanilla extract. ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg. 3 cups evaporated milk. Whipped cream for serving.

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. If using fresh pumpkin, roast pumpkin, cut sides down, on a rimmed baking sheet until soft, 50-60 minutes. Let cool completely. Roasted pumpkin can be refrigerated in an airtight container overnight.

Reserve ¼ of the dough for making leaf decorations. Turn out the remaining dough onto a lightly floured work surface; divide in half. Roll out each half into a 14-inch round. Fit rounds into two 10-inch pie plates; crimp edges as desired. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.

Roll out reserved dough to 1/8 inch thick. Transfer to a baking sheet and freeze until firm, about 15 minutes. Using a leaf-shape cookie cutter or a paring knife, cut leaves from dough. Freeze until cold, about 10 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Whisk 1 egg and heavy cream in a small bowl; set aside. Brush edges of pie shells with a wet pastry brush; arrange leaves around edges, pressing to adhere. Brush leaves with egg wash. Cut 2 large circles of parchment; fit into pie shells, extending above edges. Fill with pie weights. Freeze until cold, about 10 minutes.

Bake pie shells 10 minutes. Remove weights and parchment; bake 5 minutes more. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

If using fresh pumpkin, discard seeds. Scoop out flesh using a large spoon; transfer to a food processor. Process until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer pumpkin to a large bowl. Add brown sugar, cornflour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, nutmeg, remaining 6 eggs and evaporated milk; whisk until combined.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Place pies on a rimmed baking sheet. Divide pumpkin mixture evenly between shells. Bake until all but centres are set, 35 to 40 minutes. Let pies cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into wedges and serve with whipped cream.

Our final find is a stylish front of house wreath… and to keep the vampires from your door…

Pulp Fiction Sources: About dallas, big pumpkin, Martha Stewart, Hendy Curzon Gardens, bluepumpkin, doilypumpkin, glitterpumpkin, George graphics, pumpkin-pie-520, Telegraph, Temple community garden, whatapumpkin, calabazas3, halloween5, gatonegro, unknown, orangedoor, paintedpumpkin,, pumpkincandle, vampire-pumpkin, the examiner,



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A cosy night out

Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 16:39

Now that all is Autumnal and the shift in seasons has afforded us a largely dry spell, your outdoor season can be extended if you have two fundamentals covered: warmth and light.

And no we don’t mean that you have to commit such a fashion faux pas to stay toasty outside…

but rather that you can opt for a much more stylish solution: fire

With very little effort you can enjoy the atmosphere of the outdoors long in to the evenings and the season.

A simple way to achieve a source of heat in the garden is to purchase a portable firepit. There are many on the market ranging in price. From La Hacienda toWeber is an old reliable favourite.

If using a portable pit always consider its placement and the surface that hot ash and embers will inevitably spill on to. If you are edging to a more permanent heat source we have been searching the globe and have found some inspirations.

- The sculptural to the sublime -

And for the ultimate in outdoor living… bespoke fireplaces

Now you have the heat factor covered, how does you garden glow?

With the advent of LED technology, lighting effects can be applied to garden settings with minimal fuss, at affordable costs and with long-term energy efficiency.

We are struggling to remember the last time we designed a garden without lighting.

We are very much of the ‘less is more’ approach when it comes to designing lighting schemes for gardens, and much of these schemes are influenced by techniques and effects used in Balinese gardens and landscapes.

In Autumn, then Winter your garden lighting comes in to its full effect.

Not only for extending your home by illuminating your outdoor spaces on gloomy nights and dreary days – but by coupling subtle lighting with a heat source, your garden can continue to be a place to relax and entertain in, throughout Autumn.

Then in Winter you can create your own winter wonderland...

Considered heat and light sources in your garden not only extend your Summer, but they bring forwards your Spring season too. There’s often still a chill through to May so with a ready outdoor living zone you can begin your alfresco dining regardless of temperatures.

After a truly unremarkable Summer in the UK we hope that this blog posting has provided a silver lining.

- Interactive Cloud exhibit made of 6,000 light bulbs by Caitlind Brown -


Let there be light… If you liked this blog you might like white hot, with lots more lighting inspiration.

cosy night out source book:, nerfo,, unknown,,,,,,,,,,, clare jones-leake,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Caitlind browne, Doug Wong. Research by Sophie.

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all Orla

Saturday, September 22, 2012 - 10:28

“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple...” 

― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

As Summer slowly fades and the colours of Autumn begin to emerge outside, we are looking to a new season of inspiration. This week we are case studying all things Orla Kiely in the garden.

Orla Kiely, the hugely successful Irish Designer and the Queen of retro prints has branched out in to interiors, fashion and home wares.

Orla everywhere

She’s dressed our Kate, adorned London transport,

re-worked the Union Jack

and even designed a car

The CItROËN DS3 by Orla Kiely

Last Autumn we found ourselves drawn to Orla’s prints when we were styling and designing gardens, both newly constructed and projects still at the drawing board stage.

The limited palettes of Orla Keily’s designs complimented Autumnal gardens and the graphical patterns evoked thoughts of Spring and Summer. As the light shifted to its Autumn hues the presence of Orla’s patterns in garden contexts seemed to lift lounge and dining areas and promised bright new seasons. We were then elated when we discovered the Orla Kiely exhibit in the Artisan Living area of the Chelsea flower show this year.

Orla was finally in the garden.

Or was she?

-Orla Kiely-

She was certainly getting outdoorsy, 

with luxury glamping gear,

stylish garden tools,

wellies for potting around in,

planters for potting up,

flasks for outdoor refreshments,

retro radios for some garden tunes


and even soaps for washing up at the end of a day of hard garden graft.

Then the trail ended,

and it was apparent that Orla was just ‘dabbling’ with the outdoors.

Or was she teasing us?

Inspired by nature, Orla Kiely’s prints can comfortably sit when they are placed in outdoor settings.

Perhaps of late there has been a danger of over saturation of Orla Kiely’s designs on the market. With the release of the book series to inspire a new generation,

and one for the grownups,

then every home ware item you can think of embellished by her prints in stores and online, and particularly since she has recently signed up to create an affordable homes ware range for US retail giant Target. Regardless of all this we would like to see an expansion of the Orla outdoor range here in the UK.

We have found that when applying the prints to garden contexts that less is definitely more.

Just as you would accessorise your interior, a hint here and there of Orla Kiely patterned accents alongside other blocked colours is the most effective way of introducing them.

Minimalist gardens, courtyards, balcony gardens and outdoor lounges provide the perfect foil for these details.

Once the Orla Kiely patterns are present the introduction of bold flowers like Shasta Daisies or blocks of one colour borders compliment the look nicely.

Tea on the terrace anyone?

The retro feel is not for everyone or every garden but we hope to start seeing some more Orla Kiely in the garden. Perhaps at least some parasols please Orla? The Orla Kiely ranges are available to view online here  divided in to three accessible areas depending on where you live. UK/worldwide, USA & Japan. Heals is the official retailer here in the UK but others such as John Lewis and many online retailers stock ranges. The flagship Orla Kiely shop is in Covent garden.

(31 Monmouth Street 
Covent Garden 

Orla’s new season ranges promise more nature inspired prints and scrumptious colours. Here’s a clue to her biggest and boldest new entry to the brand…

The new Orla Kiely Fox print. Autumn / Winter 2012 sneak preview

all Orla Source Book: Hendy Curzon Gardens, Mukla, Heals, John Lewis, Amazon, Jane Foster, Print Pattern, The Telegraph, unknown, Not on the Highstreet, Designbit. For Orla Kiely books click on our Amazon widget on the left sidebar of this page. And as for those cakes… Nibble & Scoff. Want to comment on this blog? Please do so over on our facebook page.

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Sunsational September

Thursday, September 6, 2012 - 19:27

September has arrived and once again it has delivered some much needed warmth and sunny rays here in the UK. It's set to stay that way too.

We absolutely  September. It marks the start of a new season for us and that means for you too. Some think of it as the end of Summer but we see it as the start of new beginnings. So sit back, sup up some sun and start planning your garden's glory for next year. Here's some things we have been planning and some of our found inspirations over this first sensational week of September.

F&B's Downpipe is setting the tone for a new front of house project in the works and we have two Courtyard gardens scheduled for construction this September. One Baroque, and one Industrial style. Courtyard gardens are often viewed directly from the internal house and tend to have multiple viewpoints on to them from different rooms. It is essential that they are a direct extension of the internal style of the home and act whole heartedly as outdoor rooms. No room for the faint hearted here, these two gardens are extremely different but both are brave and bold in their choices and signature styles. 

The guys have been busy planting up an Oxford central garden this week and then laying masses of prairie turf out in a country garden. These beautiful bespoke cloches pictured just arrived at the office today for a quintessentially English Cottage garden project (but with our twist on that genre), kicking off towards the end of September. We popped them in to our office Mini Meadow to get a feel for them. They are huge! But there are bigger ones coming...

Here are some things that we have found inspiring or just plain pretty on our travels in the crispy September sunlight over the last week.

A Hydrangea called Phantom found at Burford. How can you not love that? And also this lovely chap taking a little rest... 

feeling the azure

- Echinacea petals-

We have almost finished James & Ana's garden in Witney and are looking forward to adding it to the portfolio. Olives play a big part in this little gem of a garden.

We are very much looking forward to the next 'chapter' of work: adding existing client's gardens to the portfolio and fundamentally looking after you all and your gardens, the confirmed designed projects coming in to fruition over Autumn and Winter, and also meeting new clients and designing your gardens. Here's a little cheeky chap we had the joy of meeting last week...

As September continues to hot up and Autumn sets in we hope you will take this journey with us. No, it's not Summer but Autumn is divine and we will be showing you why week to week. And anyway, Autumn doesn't officially fall until the 28th of October here in the UK so let's all embrace our very British Indian Summer whilst it lasts.

Next up: a nice crispy jaunt through this delicious season with a bit of Orla inspiration in the garden.

All images: Hendy Curzon Gardens. Objets in the gardens via Abigail Ahern & Rockett St. George, + client's own stuff. All gardens: Hendy Curzon Gardens. Special thanks to our neighbors for kindly accepting our bespoke cloches delivery on our behalf as we were all out of the office and on site! (Except Soph)


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Landscapes Reloaded

Monday, August 27, 2012 - 20:20

We find ourselves inspired and influenced by many surprising things. Sometimes they are small, simple or even incidental. Other times they are big and bold and thwack us about the head like we have been hit with a baseball bat. Either way, being jolted by the unforseen is what keeps us all evolving. Popular trends can tend to influence choices but it's the unexpected when it throws us a curve ball that ultimately gives us our drive. This drive then motivates us to think outside the box, even if it is a tiny box.

Here is a collection of some inspirations from around the globe of designers and artists who are using the wider landscape as their canvas. Some stand poignantly, others are more whimsical, but most commonly they all seem quite brave. These subjective ideas are expressed through a diverse range of mediums and techniques and are all applied with sheer confidence. 

Word above the Street presents The Water Tower Project, a landmark public initiative in New York focused on raising attention to water as a precious resource.

In Spring 2013 NY rooftop tanks will be transformed in to works of art, redefining skylines across five boroughs.

Neil Dawson Horizon, designed to look like a giant piece of paper floating in the New Zealand countryside.

Lean with it series by Paul Octavious

Jose Parla and french artist JR collaborate to create murals in Havanna, The Wrinkles of the City project

Lifesize Lego forest in the Australian outback, artist unknown

Lego bridge in Germany by MEGX

and with all that Lego we now need some coloured pencils...

Ahhh... a coloured pencil tree by Dave Rittinger for a new public park project in Philadelphia. The pencils are made from the limbs of dead trees.

Fiesa Sand Sculpture Festival 2012

American Depress by Ron English in collaboration with Kid Zoom, presented by Grand Scheme

Liu Bolin

Liu Bolin says his art is a protest against the government who shut down his studio in 2005 and a comment on not fitting in with modern society. Inspite of problems with Chinese authorities Liu's live landscape works are appreciated worldwide.

Paola Navone: The Secret Garden for Barovier & Toso at Orto Botanico of Brera

The giant azure nests installed in the gardens comprised of over 10,000 naturally felled hazlenut branches.

One nest housed a guest star appearance by interior designer Paola Navone's infamous chandelier

whilst her iconic table lamp 'Marino' paved the walkways on mass, leading to the nests.

hey - what you looking at?

Inspired by the greater landscape...

Google earth rugs by David Hanauer

goes well with...

Metamorphis bookshelf by Chilean born artist Sebastian Errazuriz

The piece was inspired by Sebastian's grandmother's ivy covered garden

"The dark branches that crawled along the walls were so thick that I would use them as natural shelves for my garden toys."

The Tree table by Chilean born, London raised, New York based artist Sebastian Errazuriz

goes well with...

Sebastian's duck tablelamp.

Following the phenominal sales of these pieces at Southebys Sebastian has returned to the roots of his inspiration (see what we did there?) and branched fully out in to installation art and sculpture in the wider landscape.

 It was “The Tree” that secured Errazuriz’s homeland prominence. In June 2006, two weeks before the World Cup soccer games in Germany, he planted a 45-year-old magnolia in the center of Santiago’s National Stadium, a location the late dictator Augusto Pinochet notoriously used to imprison and torture political dissidents.

“When we dug the hole, we were afraid we’d find bones,” Errazuriz remembers.

It took two years to secure the proper permits, and he nearly went broke in the process. But eventually the stadium, which is currently used for concerts and sporting events, was opened as a public park for a week. On the last day, a match between Chile’s star teams was played around and against the tree trunk.

“It was an attempt to reunite everyone,” Errazuriz says. “It’s a place where heroes usually stand. Now everyone was welcome.” 

and from the UK

Damien Hirst's London Olympics arena Union Jack is destined to become iconic

and in New York JR & Liu B join forces for some urban landscape art and a game of spot the Liu.

whilst elsewhere in NY...

by legendary artist KAWS

After an original unveiling at Harbour City in Hong Kong followed by a trip to Aldrich Contemporary, the KAWS Passing Through Companion finds yet another home outside The Standard New York. The 16-foot statue is set amidst a busy urban setting which compliments the Companion’s body language of “shame.”

KAWS companion sure does get around... and soon it will be floating through the skies for the Macy's NY Thanksgiving parade.

We hoped you enjoyed some of these reloaded landscapes and they didn't have this affect on you -

and we will leave you with two poignant exterior pieces by Sebastian Errazuriz

-Life swings - 


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