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Autumn falls

Sunday, December 2, 2012 - 17:34

As Autumn takes its leave we take a look at a few events of the season.

This year brought us phenomenal colours...

-Central Park-

and then 36 Spitfires were finally found in the Burmese jungle promising to change our skyscapes forever.

"Dozens of historic spitfires set to be dug up after they were discovered buried in the Burmese jungle could be flying again within three years, according to the man who spent 16 years searching for the planes. British farmer David Cundall, 62, spent over a decade and more than £130,000 of his own money working to track down the aircraft, after being told by a group of U.S. veterans they were buried there at the end of the Second World War. In January archaeologists will begin digging for the planes so they can be painstakingly packaged up and transported back to the UK for restoration, and Mr Cundall has said he believes the spitfires - which have been underground for 67 years - will take to the skies once more." For more on this extraordinary story go to the Mail online.    


Then the sky fell and so came the floods here in the UK

Whilst over in the USA the Macy's parade kicked off the season and filled the skylines with wonderous and surreal displays giving a whole new meaning to the concept of floats.

but apparently the confetti that rained down on the crowds were made from shredded police files containing sensitive information including crime reports, addresses and social security numbers.

oh the shame...

So as the November colours faded

and the 1st of December brought with it Jack Frost

we say move over Autumn, it's time for Christmas...

We have some festive surprises this season having found lots more external art, gardens, designs and landscapes from around the globe to inspire us all. We hope you'll enjoy the journey!


Autumn falls Sourcebook: National Geographic, the Mail, The Telegraph, The Times, Hendy Curzon Gardens, London Bookbinders, Vermont Maple. 



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if you go down to the woods today...

Monday, November 19, 2012 - 18:02

Since subscription began for this blog almost a year ago we have featured a lot of trees...

and throughout our projects we have planted many, many this year

in all sorts of shapes, sizes and volumes

and watched them grow

throughout the seasons...

marvelled at their winter beauty

and rejoiced after the thaw and when spring came again.

and here on the blog we have been inspired by and talked about weird and wonderful trees from around the world all year. From pencil trees

to umbrella trees

bats in trees

unexplained trees

pumpkin trees

men disguised as trees

heart shaped trees

cute dogs in trees

skyscraper trees

helmet trees

and where other trees would not grow... lego trees

but best of all (well our favourite) were the blue trees...

and where there is a blue tree there must be a blue tree python...

So although we will never stop our pursuit of the sublime, we are going to round up our recent tree finds here followed by some extraordinary treehouses. What would be your style?

arguably one of the nicest places to go to school...

The Fuji Japanese Kindergarten circles around a mythical tree. Designed by Yul & Takaharu Tezuka

on a final note we would like to share this tree sculpture from China with you

100 trees a day are felled in China in order to meet the demand for chopsticks. This tree, made of 30,000 disposed chopsticks was deliberately broken to make the point and reusable chopsticks were readily given away near to the slain tree.

Next week we have one more autumnal blog and then get set because we are going to get mighty Christmasy over here from then after.

Trees & Treehouses SourceBook: Crystal-treehouse-,Cloudhands , Crystal-treehouse, Hendy Curzon Gardens Ltd,

Dartmoor-treehouse-jerry-tate-architects, Crooked brian

Jaakko-pernu-tree-branches-public-sculptures, Dragons blood tree

Janez Breznik, Dave Rittinger, Lui Bolin, Marianne Kjolner , London-fieldworks

Nendo-bird_apartment,New york times Suquatra, The mushroom kingdom, Patrick-dougherty-art-made-of-living-trees,Pixel birdhouses sprout on London capital trees,

Ring-around-a-tree-kindergarten Tekuza-architects-fuji-kindergarten,

Takasugi-an tea house Chino Japan, The-birds-nest Sweden, The-birds-nest-inrednin

Treehotel-mirrorcube-treehouse, Under-heaven-by-leonard-van-munster

Yellow-treehouse-restaurant New Zealand


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The Dog Blog

Friday, November 9, 2012 - 12:21

One of the greatest pleasures this season is to see our dogs romping through fallen leaves, diving in clusters of them and just generally enjoying the crunchiness of Autumn under their paws. It's a universal joy. We are all quite partial to our collective pets over here so we apologise in advance... if you don't like dogs this blog won't be for you!

ahhh... not funny -

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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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