Decoration, Garden Design, Garden Furniture, Gardening, Geoff Stonebanks, How To, Planters, Plants

My multi-award winning garden, Driftwood, is located by the sea in Sussex, on the coast between Brighton and Eastbourne. Over the years it has seen 14500 visitors and raised £76000 for charity. Last year it featured on BBC Gardener’s World and was a finalist in Gardeners’ World Magazine, Garden of the Year Competition too. Every year it is a challenge to create a variety of garden rooms that looks a little different, so the many returning visitors see something new and fresh. In order to create a flexible and fairly easy to change garden, I’ve always used terracotta containers of all sizes. I’ve probably got a collection of over 150 now. I’ve never been keen on plastic ones, they just don’t look at home in the garden, whatever the colour. OK I hear you say, the advantage is that they are not as heavy as the real thing, but there really has never been any competition for me, despite the weight! Now roll on the years, I’m 64 this month and I’ve been forced to reconsider how I create a different look in the garden this year. I’ve been using a trolley in recently to move containers around , but even that has started to get more difficult, especially in a garden on a slope with several steps to negotiate.

driftwood garden

So, this year I decided I needed to try and ease the burden, by investigating some lightweight pots that still looked like terracotta. The obvious place to check on line was Primrose, as they seem to stock everything anyone could need for the garden, and I have purchased quite a few things from them over the years. 

Two areas of the garden that rely very heavily on the use of containers, are these central steps in the garden and the patio area at the back of the house, which resembles a wall of plants on either side, like corridor of plants!

On investigation, I found what looked like the perfect solution! The fibre clay containers seemed to fit the bill perfectly for the steps, as I needed to find ones that were the right size to sit perfectly on the brick steps. They look absolutely at home, even before they have been filled with annuals for the summer season. These containers are all 30 cm tall and will work well, creating the waterfall effect I need to achieve. Look at last years results to see what I aim to create.

Fibrecotta Troughs

On the other hand, at the back of the house, one of the features I had within the wall of flowers was an old Victorian wooden cart which sat under a large potted camellia. On moving it to tidy up last month, it disintegrated and I’m left with the 2 axles and a side panel. I therefore needed to fill a large space, so two fibre clay containers, the tall one 64 cm tall and the lower one 37 cm tall. They look amazing in the space already . Granted, these are so big they will probably never be moved but all the others are perfect for ease of movement each year as needed. I also needed 3 troughs to sit on tiered shelving as part of this area of the garden. The 3 from Primrose fitted perfectly, which will also make life a lot easier. Just imagine how they will look when we open the garden gate to our first visitors on the 11th June. The garden is open 14 times for public days this year but also by arrangement from 1st June until 3rd September. If you live around Sussex, or are planning holidaying in the area this year, why not come and visit the garden yourselves. Full details can be found at www.driftwoodbysea.co.uk 

Look out for the next blog this Summer, so you can see what the containers look like when our visitors view them in the Summer.

Geoff StonebanksGeoff Stonebanks lives in Bishopstone, near Seaford in East Sussex and spends all his time gardening and fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support. Using his multi award-winning garden, Driftwood, he has raised over £76,000 for various charities in 7 years, £40,000 of that for Macmillan. The garden, which first opened to the public in 2009 has featured on BBC2 Gardeners’ World, Good Morning Britain and in many national and local media publications. In his spare time, Geoff is also the National Garden Scheme’s Social Media & Publicity Chair as well as an Assistant County Organiser & Publicity Officer in East & Mid Sussex.

Gardening, Geoff, How To, Wildlife

My Tiny Plot

1-tinyplotGillian Carson talks through some great ideas for how to make the most of every corner of your garden or allotment, from home growing (and eating!) to creating gorgeous photo spots. She has some great recipes to try out such as banana cake and simple red currant jam, which offer some great inspiration when deciding on things to grow yourself.

Emma the Gardener

2-emmagardenerEmma Cooper shares a variety of fantastic garden related content from photos, videos, reviews to even her very own books. She has a great enthusiasm for sustainable living and gives advice on how to achieve this, with a particular focus on edibles.

You Grow Girl

3-growgirlThis blog started by author Gayla Trail, provides a great insight into the many different sides to gardening, all with a splash of humour. From tips on what to grow, gardening inspiration, recipes and other creative garden goodness, this is definitely a blog not to miss.

The Gardening Shoe

4-gardenshoeNorfolk-based garden enthusiast, Sarah Shoesmith, is a wildlife friendly gardener who posts a great variety of articles. With help from her two chickens Hippy and Herby, Sarah produces a mixture of general advice, gardening trends, tongue-in-cheek humour and beautiful photography.

John Grimshaw’s Garden Diary

5-johngrimshawJohn Grimshaw is Director of the Yorkshire Arboretum and gives personal accounts of his day to day life through the use of his blog. As a botanist and an author, he displays a great knowledge of plants and gardens, showing off many areas of rural England through fantastic high quality photography.

Secret Garden Club

6-secretgardenKerstin Rodgers began a secret restaurant in 2009 and shares her experiences, knowledge and small recipes through her blog. It is full of DIY gardening tips and planting advice with a focus on growing your very own edible garden. If practical learning is more your thing, Kerstin and Zia of the Secret Garden Club run workshops which can be booked through the blog.

The Patient Gardener’s Weblog

7-patientgardenerHelen Johnstone started her blog in 2008 to simply record how her garden developed while taking on an outdoor overhaul. Since then it has become a hugely varied blog with Helen keeping close tabs on comments and interacting with users. Posts on general gardening, weekly updates, Helen’s other interests outside of the garden (such as sewing and crochet), and her ever popular End of Month Views have certainly made The Patient Gardener a regular visit for many keen gardeners.

Floret Flowers

8-floretThe family-run business, Floret Flowers, was founded by Erin Benzakein when she and her family moved from the city to pursue the simple life in rural Washington. While the Benzakein family tend to the flower farm, the company’s online blog is managed by Susan Studer King. This blog is updated very regularly with content mainly consisting of seasonal flower trends, weekly updates, harvesting and flower care tips. The blog itself has a very professional and polished look which is complemented by the wonderful photography, most of which is taken by the Benzakeins themselves.

Garden Betty

9-gardenbettyLinda Ly is a blogger based in Southern California who goes by the pseudonym Garden Betty. Her blog began when she moved from the city to a coastal suburb of Los Angeles and outlines her experiences from garden novice to avid greenfinger. The blog is littered with DIY gardening tips, recipes and high quality photography, all of which has been incorporated into her best-selling book, which was released in early 2015. Linda keeps a great presence on the blog and can be seen regularly interacting with the users in the comments sections.

Urban Gardens


10-urbangardenIf you have a real love for gardening but limited space, Robin Plaskoff Horton of Urban Gardens could be just what you need. Her blog shares some of the weird and wonderful in urban garden design, ideal for city dwellers in tight spaces.

GeoffGeoff works within the Primrose marketing team, primarily on anything related to graphics and design.

He loves to keep up with the latest in music, film and technology whilst also creating his own original art and his ideal afternoon would be lounging in a sunny garden surrounded by good food, drink and company provided there is a football nearby.

While not an expert, his previous job involved landscaping so he’s got some limited experience when gardening.

See all of Geoff’s posts.

Bulbs, Flowers, Gardening, Gardening Year, Geoff, Grow Your Own, How To, Infographics, Planting

You can have a colourful garden with flowers blooming all year round – just use our simple guide!

Knowing what to plant, when to plant it and where it grows best can be a tricky business. But if you want a colourful garden for every season, all you really need to get dug in are the flowering times. So we’ve created this infographic as a handy visual guide for when flowers bloom. Simply pick the plants for each season that will suit the conditions best in your garden. Then you’ll be sure to have luscious planting whichever time of year!

When Flowers Bloom Infographic

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GeoffGeoff works within the Primrose marketing team, primarily on anything related to graphics and design.

He loves to keep up with the latest in music, film and technology whilst also creating his own original art and his ideal afternoon would be lounging in a sunny garden surrounded by good food, drink and company provided there is a football nearby.

While not an expert, his previous job involved landscaping so he’s got some limited experience when gardening.

See all of Geoff’s posts.

Bulbs, Flowers, Gardening, Primrose Gardens, Sally

This week’s theme is Brilliant Blooms; we are going back to basics and focusing on the pure beauty of flowers. We have been loving your photos on Primrose Gardens and all the hard work you put into making them look spectacular, what could complete a  garden more than flowers in full bloom?

From the bright and friendly to the unusual and peculiar, here are this week’s flourishing flowers:

This beautiful Gazania is growing blooming marvelously in Summer Gardens
This beautiful gazania is growing marvellously in Summer Gardens
Nancy's Garden said that this Cacli only bloomed for one day - we are very happy that she caught it on camera.
Nancy’s Garden said that this cactus only bloomed for one day – we are extremely happy that she caught it on camera for us.
We love the unusual colouring of these Lilies in Potty's Garden.
We love the unusual colouring of these lilies in Potty’s Garden.
Madingley Gardens posts wonderful close-ups of flowers but these Lilies where a particular favourite of ours.
Every week Madingley Gardens posts wonderful close-ups of flowers in his garden, but these lilies are a particular favourite of ours.
 Dewy Dianthus-raspberry parfait in Junie's Garden.
Dewy Dianthus-raspberry parfait in Junie’s Garden.

Primrose Gardens allows you to create a beautiful pictorial record of your garden where you can show off your garden to family and friends to enjoy over the years. It’s also a community of garden enthusiasts and the perfect space to discuss tips and tricks, as well as getting plants identified!

Sally primroseSally works in the Marketing team here at Primrose.

She spends most of her spare time looking into the latest developments in social media. Sally loves travel and wants to step foot in every continent in the world. When not travelling the Globe or working, she likes to relax with a bit of DIY.

She is a novice gardener and doesn’t claim to be an expert, anything she learns she will happily pass on.

See all of Sally’s posts.

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