One of my other great passions in life is my garden.  We moved to this house in 1998 and inherited from the builders a completely blank canvas so the garden had to be created from scratch.  What a fantastic challenge for an artist (who secretly fancies herself as a bit of a garden designer!).

My job was the designing while hubby Gordon did all the spade-work. 
Stacks Image 125
Stacks Image 44
Stacks Image 39
Stacks Image 58

A small amount of lawn was created to act as a foil to the plants.  It's not a large garden by any means but we seem to have managed to squeeze in a lot of plants!
Much of the garden is given over to deep borders and patios and a gravel path runs all the way round.  I wanted to be able to go for a wander through the borders, among the plants, and never have to come back the same way.
Stacks Image 121
Stacks Image 8
We added some matt black trellis panels and two pergolas which were also painted black.  These were necessary for shade (even in Scotland!) as well as being important structural features.
Stacks Image 159
Stacks Image 151
Stacks Image 153
Stacks Image 165

A favourite garden designer of mine (and the one I was most influenced by) is John Brookes. I bought one of his books in the 90's and immediately knew the style of garden I wanted to create and couldn't wait to get my hands on this brand new project. He taught me that a garden is more than just a space for growing flowers!

My other favourite garden designers are the amazing Ulf Nordfjell, Luciano Giubbilei, Chris Moss and Tom Stuart-Smith.
Stacks Image 200
Stacks Image 211
One of my design objectives was to create drama from the juxtaposition of light against dark and dark against light and to allow one plant to rise up through, or entwine in, the foliage of a contrasting one alongside or behind it. 

Stacks Image 187
Stacks Image 185
Stacks Image 183

Emphasis was put on foliage colours that would punch out against contrasting foliage …..

Stacks Image 173
Stacks Image 204
……like this fantastic White-Barked Multi-stemmed Himalayan Birch tree (left) against the dark evergreen glossy Prunus leaves....... and the dark purple and golden leaves of these two glorious Japanese Acer trees (above).

The paving for this little round patio (below) was deliberately chosen for it's bright sunlit effect against the dark glossy green vertical backdrop of ivy and the little curved Box hedging.  The black metal dining set and the matt black horizontal frame of the pergola are both important influences on the effectiveness of this composition.

Stacks Image 244
Stacks Image 246
Stacks Image 283

A seating area close to the house allows for the use of interesting pots and containers, perfect for this little spiky exotic-looking collection (below). 
Stacks Image 252
Stacks Image 228

Also a good area for displaying individual specimens like Box cubes in these lovely tall granite planters (below).
Stacks Image 254

...... and other little areas around the garden have been put to good use for those lazy hazy days when the sun finally decides to come out!
Stacks Image 273
Stacks Image 268
Stacks Image 277
Stacks Image 299
Stacks Image 324

The garden is probably at its most colourful in May and June when the Acer leaves have appeared and the young foliage of the evergreen Pieris Forest Flames (left), which are dotted around the borders, turn fiery red before gradually turning from pink to cream and finally dark green.

At the same time various Rhododendrons are taking it in turn to burst into full bloom creating large swathes of deep crimson and various shades of pink around the borders.
Stacks Image 348
Stacks Image 355
Stacks Image 306
Stacks Image 308
Stacks Image 310
Stacks Image 341
Stacks Image 339
Stacks Image 330
Stacks Image 332
The eye-catching tall deep pink Rhododendron pictured below is one of my favourites.  She's called Cynthia and she is absolutely stunning - so vibrant beside the matt black trellis and the pale silvery grey of the wooden decking. I just can’t stop photographing this one!
Stacks Image 334
Stacks Image 369
Stacks Image 380

Another one of my favourite Rhododendrons is ’Nancy Evans’ (left and below) which starts off with deep orange/red buds that gradually open to a lovely subtle shade of burnt yellow.

I love the soft contrasting palette that’s created in this border by the deep purple of the pansies and the dark red of the Acers.

Stacks Image 382