As part of Chelsea Flower Show we wanted to talk all things gardening. In this blog Matt Moore from Landform Landscape Gardening Consultants shares his passion for gardening. Landform have been adding the finishing touches to Super Bloom at the Tower of London for the Queen’s Jubilee, and are also involved in 3 gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show (and they have just won a Gold Award for one of them!)
His whole career of some 35 years has all been about curating some beautiful gardens and public open spaces for people to enjoy, relax and gain calm and inspiration so he has a wealth of information to share with us. Here’s what Matt Moore shared with us about all things gardening.
The Benefits of Gardening
Gardening offers such a wide variety of benefits to the body and the mind and it’s also great for the environment. It’s great to be outside in the fresh air curating and nurturing a space for relaxation and pleasure. One can get home from work and sit in their garden, which I must admit I love to do, especially in my gin and tonic spots. I always find gardening keeps me fit and healthy, curating a new-born planting border, digging up some existing turf really gets your heart pumping. I love creating space for entertaining, cooking on my barbecue, a special time with my young family.
It’s great for lowering stress and blood pressure, and even improves your memory. There are studies that it can improve your cognitive function.
It also helps you to eat healthier if you’re growing your own fruit and vegetables and can help take some of the carbon emissions out of the atmosphere. So, it has a lot of environmental benefits as well.
Tips for those just starting out
Gardening has increased in popularity over the last couple of years as people have been spending more time at home. For those just starting out one of the biggest things is don’t be afraid to try things like plant locations and combinations. If it doesn’t work you can always move plants around in the autumn when the plants aren’t growing. If the plant isn’t happy, or if it’s in the wrong place, it’s struggling and it’s not growing you can always move it. I think the other thing as well is when you’re moving to a new house, and you’ve got a garden you should observe it for the first year to see what plants you have and where the sun rises and sets. This then means you can create the appropriate seating areas and you can plan your gardens, plants etc around this. You won’t necessarily see everything growing when you move in as it comes up in the spring so you don’t know it’s there until it pops up.
Favourite Garden Plants
At Nourish London we only use natural and organic ingredients in our products. We also love using a lot of garden plants and herbs for example: Aloe vera, Geranium flower oil, Lavender essential oil, Rosehip seed oil and even Rosemary. Matt shares some of his favourite plants for gardens.
To be honest I love all plants and trees. Every garden and public space are different so wide a variety of plants can be used. My favourite small tree is the Parrotia persica commonly known as a Persian ironwood which has a lovely large beached light leaf, and it has an amazing autumn colour in which the leaf turns yellow then red. I have two in my garden which are actually multi-stems.
With regards to plants, I love prairie type of planting grasses such as Calamagrostis (Karl Foerster), Echinacea, Anthriscus which is the Cow parsley, Alliums, Fennel, Verbena, and I love the Erigeron the small daisy you can put that into little crevices etc. There’s so many more pants which I love but I think the main thing I love is the combinations and the leaf texture and the flower colours.
What to plant in small spaces
Obviously, some of us aren’t blessed with a huge garden particularly those of us who live in London. If you have pots, lavender and rosemary are very good because you’ve got the lovely aroma coming from those. I like large leaf plants as well things like Fatsias, things like that really would work well in small spaces.
My proudest achievement
I’ve been working for Landform for almost 20 years, co-founded with my best friend Mark Gregory. We worked together actually for 35+ years, which is a really long time. We both share that same infectious passion for landscaping. I would say that our proudest achievement would be the recent construction of the gardens around the new hilltop building at RHS Wisley
. Three gardens - the wellbeing, the wildlife, and the production gardens, they’re just so amazing. I love taking my family there and watching them mature.
The Super Bloom
contract was a lead from Wisley. It’s a wonderful thing to be involved with, and we’re just finishing off. It’s been warm and wet the last couple of days so hopefully the wildflowers are growing away nicely.
Getting Children involved in Gardening
Gardening is also a great activity to get little ones involved in - having sunflower competitions is a great starting point. Growing vegetables like green runner beans, carrots, strawberries, pumpkins is also great as young ones love to see these grow because they grow so quickly so they can see them growing weekly and they can reap the rewards at the table as well which is obviously fantastic. For older children planting small trees with interest such as those with an interesting autumn colour.
How can we help bees in our gardens?
There’s been a massive decline in the bee population over recent years which is likely to have a disastrous impact on global agriculture. To attract bees into your garden you can plant plants which are bee friendly such as lavender, rosemary, honeysuckle, abelia, things like that. You can do a no mow may which also encourages our little friends, alternatively you can set a meadow. I have 3 separate meadows in my garden with different plant combinations flowering at different times which attract all sorts of wildlife and small songbirds as well. Meadows are the way forward - you see a lot of councils leave some of the grass long so it encourages wildlife and bees and plant wildflower meadows as well.
You can watch the video interview with Nourish London and Matt Moore using this link below: