A Fuchsia garden

Stunning weather in Gullane today and we are off on holiday soon…definitely garden season…gardening is a passion that has always been inside – for many years deep inside me, because I was bought up in a flat in Central London and then moved to a similar, top floor flat, in Glasgow…

I am spoilt because my husband is an able landscaper and kind of likes to do things his way (I think the saying is ‘Doug’s way or the Highway’) so I have been left, even when we bought our first house together, feeding my passion by ‘reading gardening books’ and ‘imagining myself gardening’…

However, I am now, by very good fortune, able to write about gardens for my work. We have just had a feature published, again in House Beautiful magazine, in the current issue, August 2014, about a beautiful garden in Dundee. The owners bought a stunning modernist home, at an early stage from a developer, and have really put their personal stamp on it.





With the help of brilliant garden designer, Tracy McQue they have created a garden that is a work of art, mouth watering colours, fun shapes and soft, practical textiles for outside, all combine to make an outside space that they use and enjoy all year round.

An artists home

All this talk of collecting art to make a house a home, obviously leads me to want to show you a home belonging to an artist…Jane Raven is a glass and stone artist and an avid collector.

Her Edinburgh home, which Douglas photographed for House Beautiful magazine is peppered throughout with beautiful paintings, drawings and ceramics…








Jane’s glassware is stencilled and sandblasted by hand. Having shown her work in galleries around Scotland, she now has clients in countries as diverse as Argentina, America, The Caribbean, China and Australia.



Although a complete departure from glass, Jane’s stone work complements her glassware range perfectly and includes beautiful, initialled pebbles and personalised wedding, anniversary or christening stones. She is Sarah Raven’s twin sister, the well known garden writer, creatively obviously flows through the whole family!

jr08 jr09 jr36

The Edge

Here is a new home and some! I was saying in my last post that Artwork is such a wonderful finishing touch to a home. This house is a work of art though…it hardly needs art to finish it off…







The Edge is a stunning home designed and built by its owners on the edge of a cliff in Dumfriesshire. It is in the latest issue of Good Housekeeping magazine – do buy it to find out more…






It is for sale actually with Strutt and Parker…have a peek and think about it…when I spoke to Carole earlier this evening she was working away on her laptop, with a red squirrel looking in on her and that sea view in front of her. The house wants for nothing, it is regularly used for fashion shoots and film locations. Here it is used as a location for Marble

Carole and her partner are adventurers though and he loves to sail, so New Zealand is beckoning…

The Big Reveal…

Can’t keep putting it off…we have actually taken some pics of our garden building…





Quite an effort – first of all deciding to build it, then building it…taking photographs of it just about finished us off, I am not sure which bit was the most difficult??

Probably the deciding bit, if I am honest – that went on for years.

I have to say the building bit was a joy – loved having our builders – Robert Heinsar and all the boys – didn’t want them to leave actually! And thrilled with the results…beautifully designed by Rick McQueenie, REM Associates, Architectural Consultant, he was our neighbour at the time and kept us all sane (just!)





Farrow & Ball supplied the beautiful paint for the doors and windows, to match in with our house…the French Gray very effectively softens the modernist look we have gone for.

The full story has just been published in the Toun Cryer p.110, the full account is quite frank. I slightly wish I had been more, err, guarded about how tricky we found it all, I just don’t think Doug and I are very dynamic, but I should also say that it is absolutely true about what a success the whole project was in the end, we are both absolutely delighted.


Back to DIY and Ronseal, we really have just about finished our house and we really are working on the garden now, which I find an absolute joy…it is so much less stressful and so much more fun than doing up a house – you don’t have to live in it for a start.

patio before

Our garden, before we actually started gardening!

patio befores 002

Crumbs, the progress we have made is just incredible…



Please don’t say that you preferred it before!
It looks a bit bare in these pics, taken last summer…the planting has recently become a bit more intense…



It is not quite ‘there’…would actually like it to be more dense than this and more coastal….I am looking for more silvery leafed plants and more grasses…

The great thing is there are no rules…you can do anything – you can paint the walls and fences blue, you can stick furniture in – it does not have to be ‘garden furniture’, it can be any furniture that you don’t mind getting wet! You can spend a lot of money on a garden of course – you can go the ‘outside room’ route and get major building work done if you want – and that is not money thrown away: a user friendly, stylish garden definitely adds to the value and saleability of a house. Alternatively, you can just ‘potter’: you can grow veg, scrounge cuttings from friends – try a plant swap with tea and cake every now and then – great fun!