July 25, 2014


Boyd on board for Greenfingers -

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Young Designer of the Year 2014 -

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Grant of a Royal Charter to the Institute of Horticulture -

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Silver-gilt for BALI show garden at RHS Tatton Park -

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

2014 RHS Flower Show Tatton Park Awards announced -

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bath Carers’ Centre Gets BBC One Show Garden -

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

WorldSkills UK: APL WorldSkills UK kicks off at RHS Tatton -

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

North York Moors National Park now relying on volunteers -

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Design contest announced for Olympicopolis in Stratford -

Monday, July 21, 2014

New Chief Executive sets sights on growth at Trustmark -

Monday, July 21, 2014

RHS qualifications survey -

Friday, July 18, 2014

Perennial funds additional horticultural trainee at Cambridge University Botanic Garden -

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Poisonous pretty flower returns to the UK -

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Green-tech welcomes Ian Rotherham as Sales Director -

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Alitex team raises money for The William Wates Memorial Trust -

Monday, July 14, 2014

Hambrooks win Silver Gilt Medal at Hampton Court Flower Show -

Monday, July 14, 2014

2014 Office Plant of the Year is named -

Monday, July 14, 2014

Stonewall Garden wins gold at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show -

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Wessex New FRX-150H hydraulic Out-Front Flail Mower from Wessex -

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Homing in on Garden Machinery with HSS Hire -

Friday, July 11, 2014


THe Massachussetts Garden - Catherine McDonaldOne of the major inspirations for the Massachusetts Garden (Sponsored by the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism) is a series of ‘dune shacks’ peppered along the Cape Cod Coastline that were traditionally inhabited by artists, poets and writers including Henry Beston who wrote the seminal text on the area, The Outermost House. This book is now considered an American nature literary classic, written after Beston spent what he called “a year of life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod”. Spiritually shaken by his experiences in World War One, Beston retreated to the outer beach at Eastham in search of peace and solitude.

It was these dune shacks that made such an impression on designers Susannah and Catherine when they visited the region in 2013.  Susannah immersed herself in Beston’s book and developed an understanding of the cultural significance of these shacks. Jackson Pollock and a host of other important American artists often visited the area when in search of some inner peace and tranquillity.   She felt that any representation of a Massachusetts coastal landscape would not be complete without a ‘dune shack’.

Meanwhile, Catherine set about investigating the plant life of the region and looking at what might be possible to grow in the UK that would be representative of this area of Massachusetts.  Susannah knew immediately that hydrangea and Rosa rugosa would both feature strongly  as they were so highly visible on this coast and it would be these that would form the key plants on the giant leather panels that she and her team would have to begin designing and stitching.

Susannah’s celebrated leather appliqué work will receive its grandest showcase on the Massachusetts Garden.  A 10 metre long panel leading to the dunes features various hydrangeas including h. limelight and h. Marechal Foch in hues of white, cream, blue, green and pale pink.  Shaped dune panels along the 10 metre sea wall feature a Provincetown dune landscape scattered with leather Rosa rugosa rubra. The sea wall is 3 metres high with a large photographic banner behind the leather sand dunes depicting a Cape Cod sky.

The leather is cow hide base and intricate appliquéd petals high quality nappa, kid and calf leathers. The panel base is of marine ply and upholstered in the leather by master upholsterer RD Robins & Sons who also build Susannah Hunter’s ‘modern antique’ pieces of furniture – Ottomans, footstools, screens and classic chairs.

The panels are currently being made by a team of five highly skilled women based in Susannah’s Bloomsbury  atelier, more than 25,000 handmade petals are required to complete the frieze!

The Dune Shack has been designed by award winning Scottish architect Julian Hunter and is inspired by the Cape Cod wooden beach shack similar to ones that Susannah and Catherine saw on their trip.  The shack is positioned towards the rear of the garden, half a metre off the ground and measures 3.5 x 2.5m and is made predominantly of sawn softwood timber.  The timber used and the techniques employed to make it are traditional and authentic.

Quotations from ‘The Outermost House’ will be etched into several of the timbers.

“Nature is part of our humanity, and without some awareness and experience of that divine mystery man ceases to be man” 

 “Touch the earth, love the earth, her plains, her valleys, her hills and her seas; rest your spirit in her solitary places”

 “to-morrow’s morning will be as heroic as any of the world”    “Creation is here and now”

“Of the three elemental voices, that of the ocean is the most awesome, beautiful and Varied”

The interior will be furnished in a minimal beach shack style, the only flourishes of colour will be Susannah Hunter leather appliqué scatter cushions with hydrangea and Rosa rugosa flowers.  The deck area will tip a nod to the coast with Massachusetts lobster pots and nets.

A path of crushed seashells winds through the grassland area leading to decked steps and a decked path that continues through the grass to the Dune Shack. The land is gently contoured from the end of the grassland area sloping down towards the sand dunes and the Shack and rising up again to the rear and sides. The traditional battered post fence is made of chestnut.

In front of the leather panel representation of the theatrical and dramatic sand dunes, on the approach to the sea beyond, land contouring creates the start of the softness associated with sand dunes. Contouring also continues under the building to allow for planting beneath it. Approximately half of the garden will be dressed with soft sand, typical of a beach shack garden.



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