This Week’s Guest Blogger is Rebecca Paddock a professional gardener

‘Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life’ – Unknown. I am aware of how just how lucky to be able to use that quote to describe my work. My love for gardening spills over into all aspects of my life, when I’m not working in a client’s garden I will be pottering around my garden or holed up in my beloved but messy potting shed.

The Night Garden – I loved designing and creating this area. By night a haven to toast marshmallows over the fire pit, drink hot chocolate and look at the stars and by day a quiet spot to have a cuppa.


I spent a vast majority of my childhood outside, covered in mud. I would build herringbone paths through my Mum’s flower beds, make screens by lashing bamboo together. My Dad was a professional gardener and I would sometimes join him at his client’s gardens. Trapesing through delipidated orangeries with overgrown vines, walking through bluebell laden woodlands, playing in outbuildings and wading into lakes to see how far we could make it before the water poured over the top of our wellies. It was incredibly magical and sparked a real curiosity in my mind that remains even today.

Greenhouse – repurposed our old shed into a growing space.


I love creating spaces within my garden, evoking memories from an adventure or holidays, somewhere to grow delicious homegrown produce, to a space that allow me to connect with calm and to remember to just breath. Being creative and designing is one of my great loves and a new border often starts with a heap of research, sketches, and extensive plant lists. I’m really looking forward to getting back to studying in 2024 at Capel Manor College to learn more about Garden Design.

Mixed Rose bed


At home I’ve been working on a mixed Rose bed design which I began planting up this year, using a pink and white planting scheme. I was inspired by Jenny Barnes (IG @niffbarnes) and was blown away by her incredible rose sculpting. I’m going to emulate this style. with star of the show being the stunning and beautifully fragranced but very prickly ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ climbing rose. Sculpted around a tall garden obelisk. Two ‘Geoff Hamilton’ roses accompanied by mixed planting consisting of Veronicastrum Virginicum ‘Album’ and ‘pink glow’ which will provide height at the back of the border. Hydrangea petiolaris climber for the north facing trellis. Achellia ptarmica ‘the pearl’ (a Gertrude Jekyll favourite apparently) Achellia millefolium ‘pastel’, Phlox paniculate ‘david’ and ‘famous white eye’, Geranium alba, Stachys ‘summer crush’. Cosmos ‘seashells’ and Gypsophila ‘Covent Garden’ to fill the gaps.

Tropical inspired border.


‘Make do and Mend’ features heavily in my home garden, the kids’ trampoline has been remodelled and turned into a growing arch. The swing frame is now destined to be a fruit cage, the humble pallet makes great seating, I even stripped back my old shed and used the frame to build a bespoke greenhouse. For me looking outside the box is far more fulfilling than trying to meet expectation.

Sometimes the garden exceeds my aims and sometimes it falls way short, but I find that gardening be it in a clients’ garden or my own garden, removes me from my modern life, rushing from one place to the next, the pull of social media, the pressure of Mum guilt. The great outdoors is my support network and I couldn’t imagine a life without it.

To find out more about Rebecca’s work her Instagram account is rebecca_gardening

This Week’s Guest Blogger is Linda Minchener who is passionate about plants, gardens and garden design.

We moved here to our third house and garden, approximately halfway between Gloucester and
Cheltenham, almost 26 years ago. The plot is ⅔ acre and the garden wraps around the house. It’s
taken time to get to grips with it, mainly because three weeks after moving in we had our fourth
child, and my husband, who still works full time at 69, has often had to work overtime and away
from home.
Our soil is clay, but there has been a garden here for ~120 years, so it’s been well worked,
although we have created new borders which initially were quite hard going. We have a gamut of
urban, railway and rural weeds since we’re on the edge of urbanisation and very close to the
mainline to London, including patches of nettles, which apparently is a sign of soil fertility,
buddlejas, brambles, bindweed and ragwort (an “illegal” weed as it’s toxic to equines and cattle
so it’s dealt with promptly).
Usually Winters here are relatively mild, but this last one managed to kill or damage quite a few
plants, mainly penstemons and ornamental sages, but that won’t stop me growing these beauties
again. I must remember to take cuttings though!
Other favourites are roses, mainly David Austin’s but also “Compassion”, “High Hopes” and
“Mountbatten”, peonies, daphne, dahlias, oriental poppies, hellebores, honeysuckle, jasmine and
herbs, many of which are grown in terracotta pots by the back door.
I love visiting gardens, and shows such as Malvern and Chelsea, for inspiration and perhaps to
buy plants, but I love it even more when people comment on how lovely the garden is, especially
after our daughter’s wedding here last Summer. It makes it all seem worthwhile

photo credit Marcus Ward


Our daughter and son-in-laws garden which I co-designed

Note the 4-sleeper high raised beds which are brilliant if you are able to stand to garden but can’t bend due to back problems

photo credit Victoria Minchener

If you’re new to gardening, perhaps with a disability, I encourage you to take it up – you can grow
fruit and veg to feed your stomach, and flowers to feed your soul. It’s also good exercise with lots
of fresh air and will help your mental health. It teaches you patience, and that it’s (often) okay to
make mistakes. Also, gardeners are usually generous with their knowledge, plants, seeds and
excess harvests, and generally long lived.
Grow the plants that appeal to you and which suit your conditions. The late, great Christopher
Lloyd famously got rid of his rose garden and replaced it with an exotic one. Conversely, we
ditched our veg patch and are turning it into a rose garden. Learn to recognise weeds and deal
with them before they flower and set seed! Finally, take a few moments to listen to the birdsong
and look at the sky, and encourage wildlife and pollinators to visit. Remember, bees don’t just
need Summer flowers but Winter ones also, and birds need long-lasting berries and seed heads.
Both need safe, shallow fresh water too

Some winter flowers for bees

Clockwise from top left: Lenten rose hybrid (Helleborus x hybridus),
Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’, Cyclamen corm, Viburnum x
bodnantense ‘Dawn’