Get To The (Focal) Point – Part 1

One of the many tricks a garden designer has up their sleeve is the use of garden focal points. Focal points can:

A water feature is a great focal point

A water feature is a great focal point

What is a focal point?

So what constitutes a focal point? Well pretty much anything! It’s a feature which draws the eye and could be anything from feature pots to sculptures, water features to arbours, birdbaths to feature trees. Anything goes. Just think about the location, the shape, the size and the journey to get there. Here are a few of the features we have used in some of the gardens we have designed or ones we have introduced into our own:

Feature gate

This Japanese inspired gate was designed especially for our clients and sets the mood for the garden beyond.

A Japanese-style bespoke gate creates a mood and the bespoke sculpture at the end of the path provides a focal point and encourages the journey into the garden

A Japanese-style bespoke gate creates a mood and the bespoke sculpture at the end of the path provides a focal point and encourages the journey into the garden

Feature plants

Choosing plants and locating them carefully can make them focal points in a garden. Here we used standard photinias to create an entrance to the new patio.

Standard photinias frame the entrance to the patio and form a focal point at the end of the path

Standard photinias frame the entrance to the patio and form a focal point at the end of the path

Feature tree and stone

In this garden we used a feature tree to create height and add interest. A stone which was unearthed during excavations was kept in the garden and used as a free focal point!

Here, both the feature tree, Euonymus europaeus, and the unearthed standing stone are focal points in the garden

Here, both the feature tree, Euonymus europaeus, and the unearthed standing stone are focal points in the garden

Arbour

Here we created an arbour and bespoke bench to provide clients with a lovely spot to sit in the shade on a sunny day.

A bespoke arbour can be a lovely central feature of a garden]

A bespoke arbour can be a lovely central feature of a garden]

Themed focal points

In this Japanese garden we used traditional Japanese focal points including a lantern, water feature and koi bridge.

A Japanese lantern, water feature and koi bridge set the mood in this garden

A Japanese lantern, water feature and koi bridge set the mood in this garden

Sculpture

We found this rusty rose made from corten steel in a local shop and we think it makes a wonderful focal point in the border, popping up between the herbaceous perennials.

Herbaceous planting will envelop this rusty rose so that it pops out of the border

Herbaceous planting will envelop this rusty rose so that it pops out of the border

Willow balls

These hand-made willow balls make a wonderful garden focal point. They can have lights installed inside them too to make a wonderful effect in the evening.

A willow ball with lighting set inside creates a wonderful focal point at night time

A willow ball with lighting set inside creates a wonderful focal point at night time

If you would like some advice on focal points in your garden, please get in touch.

To see more focal point ideas click here.

Thank you for reading.

All at Vialii

Rhubarb Chutney Recipe

Hello again everyone and welcome back to my blog. One of the things my BFF Euan (1) has taught me is that food is important and very yummy! I have also learnt how to barter from Mummy (she used to work as a Buyer so is a very good negotiator). With these two skills to hand I recently did a wonderful deal with my lovely Auntie Alison over some rhubarb chutney…

Euan came round to play at our house a couple of weeks ago. We have a beautiful back garden which M&D (2) designed and built. In a corner of our garden we have a big clump of rhubarb. It really loves our garden and grows so quickly that M&D can’t keep up with it (a bit like me!) I therefore decided to cut a deal with Auntie Alison. I said I would give her a big bag full of rhubarb in exchange for some lovely chutney. Auntie Alison is a very good cook so I knew I was on to a winner. I even threw in a couple of turnips as a sweetener to the deal. She totally went for it! Yay!

Our fab rhubarb patch

Our fab rhubarb patch

So, when I went to visit Euan in Glasgow last week Auntie A had a jar of Rhubarb, Date & Ginger Chutney all ready for me. Whoop whoop! So, if you have too much rhubarb in your garden and you want some lovely chutney here is the recipe. Remember you must always get your Mummy or Daddy to help in the kitchen…

Rhubarb & Date Chutney

(courtesy of the clever people at BBC Good Food)

Ingredients:

Method:

Put the onions in a large pan with the ginger and vinegar. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 mins. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the rhubarb, plus 2 tsp salt to the pan and bring to the boil, stirring. Simmer, uncovered, for about 10 mins until the apples are tender.

Stir in the rhubarb and cook, uncovered, until the chutney is thick and jammy, about 15-20 mins. Leave the chutney to sit for about 10-15 mins, then spoon into warm, clean jars, and seal. Label the jars when cool. Keep for at least a month before eating. (3)

Hope you enjoy making it as much as I love eating it! I like it best with some yummy bread and a chunk of cheese.

Try out these other amazing rhubarb recipes:

Rhubarb Friands

Rhubarb and Lemon Cake

Lulu

1. Normally I don’t much like boys but Euan is pretty cool. For a boy.

2. To my lovely new readers, M&D = Mummy & Daddy

3. Pah, a month?!! There’s no way we could not eat this for a month! We are already half way through our first jar and I will soon be doing my Oliver Twist impersonation!

Sssshhhh. Lulu’s Secret Blog…

Mwahahahaha! My name is Lulu and I’ve taken over this blog from my mummy & daddy. They don’t know that I’ve commandeered it, in fact they don’t know that I know anything about blogging. You see, I’m only 17 months old and they clearly underestimate my technology skills so I’ve decided that I’ll be keeping this blog up to date from now on.
Hi, I'm Lulu and this is my blog

Hi, I’m Lulu and this is my blog

So what’ll I write about? Well, mummy & daddy (from now on I’ll refer to them as M&D) run two gardening businesses and love everything to do with gardens so from a very young age (I’m a big girl now, did I tell you I was 17 months old??) I have been out & about in gardens whether it be visiting them, tending to them or even designing them! The long & short of it is I’m beginning to garner quite a nice set of green fingers (and not just from my crayons) so I thought I’d use this blog to share the things I enjoy doing or the things I learn. I’ll show you pics of the gardens we visit (M&D are always taking pics of me so I’ll have plenty to choose from!) and tell you fun ideas for things to do with your mummies & daddies & friends in your garden. Sometimes I will give you advice and tell you things that only experts like me normally know but mummy says it’s important to share so that’s what I’m gonna do.

Anyway, I’ve introduced myself now and I hope you find what I post of interest. If you like things here then please share this with your friends. Just don’t tell M&D what I’m doing…

Lulu