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Unit 3, Daleside Trade Park, Nottingham, NG2 3GG

Carpenters to Gardeners - an inspiring trip out

Carpenters to Gardeners - an inspiring trip out

Whilst we are in the workshop or on site a lot at Tormar, we also know that a day out gives us renewed energy and creativity. We reckon that our Melton pod is pretty bloomin’ lovely but felt that we may need a little more garden know-how to ensure the space around the pod looks as just as stylish.

And so, just a stone’s throw away from the workshop in Nottingham, Manchester’s brand new RHS Bridgewater awaited us in all it’s verdant glory to give us as much inspiration as we’ll probably ever need.

Built on the site of Worsley New Hall which was demolished in 1940, the garden visit starts with a huge, sculptural, timber clad welcome building. Deigned by RIBA Stirling prize winning architects, it’s wood frame is designed to echo the structure of the trees surrounding it - not too dissimilar from what was on our minds when designing the Melton. Rather cleverly, the building also collects all rainwater which is then used to flush toilets and irrigate plants.

The Welcome Garden caught our eye in particular. Huge beds had been planted carefully (using a mosaic style layout of grids) with a pared back scheme of purples, clarets, maroons and blues that all popped against lime green leaves and grasses. It takes quite a lot of confidence to use such restraint in a public garden, we doff our hats to to Tom Stuart-Smith, the Landscape Architect for his restrained choices. Planting around the black timber of the Tormar pod may benefit from a considered palette choice too - perhaps super verdant green grasses and architectural shapes such as the Prairie plants used at Bridgewater.

Water was also a dominant theme - from the Chinese gardens and their eastern inspired waterfalls to the stunning Paradise garden’s interconnecting ponds. The heart of this garden holds the 70ft square Lily pond which, on a gorgeous sunny day, made us want to dive in. It’s designed to help visitors slow down, pause and reflect and made us ponder whether water might also be a welcome addition to our garden. The sound of water is scientifically proven to calm and relax us - more than perfect for just outside our work pod.

And finally, what is a garden without flowers - even just a few beautifully chosen ones. We liked that the flower choice was, again, very careful to err away from the classics. Instead we marvelled at giant alliums bigger than our heads (starburst) mixed in with fat foxgloves all set off by swathes of grasses that moved hypnotically in the breeze. There were more bees here than we’d seen in a very long time and given that their populations are ever decreasing, applaud anywhere that gives them such variety and abundance.

As we neared the end of our amble around these truly beautifully designed gardens, our main reflection was that we were eager to come back - even in 6 months time everything will have grown, blended, changed colour and matured and each visit, we’re sure, will provide new ideas. Just as with the Melton, with its natural materials, will weather and become increasingly settled into our outdoor space as the seasons change. Especially now that we’re more than ready to get our gardening gloves on and start designing our garden around it.