Geoff Stonebanks’ gardening advice: My new garden


THE last couple of weeks have been very challenging at Driftwood. It has been very strange watching the garden being torn apart by a mini-digger.

A follower on Twitter posted “the destructive bit is terrifying – but then comes the creative bit.” How true those words really are, I’ve spent over 15 years creating the space and in one morning, almost a third of it has been transferred, wheelbarrowed gingerly down my steep drive by a couple of the team into three skips. I’ve not had any formal plans or ideas put together, I’ve just created this vision, in my head, of how the end state will look. I’ve engaged a local landscaper and his team to bring that vision to life. At present, the garden looks like a bomb site with nearly 100 assorted containers of plants and shrubs that have been dug out of the area impacted, all waiting patiently to be rehomed in the new-look area.

READ MORE: Geoff Stonebanks gardening column: new patio preparation

We’ve just had delivery of 50 vintage railways sleepers. I don’t envy the team manoeuvring them from the roadside, up the drive and into their new home at the back of the house! Once that is complete a stunning new Indian sandstone patio will be laid, then as the Twitter follower said, the creative bit follows. I’m hoping the weather hasn’t turned too cold by the end of the month to allow me to plant it up before the first frosts but I’m not sure that will be the case. Fingers crossed.

October is a good time to trim your hedges, so that they are crisp and tidy for the winter months. Sharp edges will look very impressive when coated in frost, or maybe a light dusting of snow, in winter too and if we are to believe the long-term weather forecasts, there will be plenty of it this winter. I tend to cut my internal garden hedges with secateurs through the summer months, to ensure they look their best for visitors, however at this time of year they get a real good cut back to a low level giving them plenty of opportunity to look good again by next June, when the garden opens again for the public to see.

If you want to go out and visit a garden, Borde Hill is open and has a Halloween Whodunnit Spooktacular running from the 16th until the 31st. You’re invited to join a spooktacular costume party at Foolish Mortal Mansion. Don your creepiest outfit and go along if you dare. Full details on their website, take a peek and remember you have to book ahead online to gain entry.

Read more of Geoff’s garden at


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