Arne's journal

Autumn colours

I love the rich colours of this time of year.  The beech topiary at Allt-y-bela is looking stunning at the moment.  Following the unusually mild October, autumn colours have arrived late and suddenly, looking all the more spectacular against the green foliage of the woodland that is just turning yellow.

It was lovely to be able to enjoy the autumn glow this weekend and with my spring bulbs safely in the ground our attentions focused on chopping logs, raking leaves and making crab apple and medlar jelly and sloe gin.   We now have a log shed ready full of logs to stoke the fires inside the house throughout the winter.

I also got on with raking leaves for leaf mulch, which is one of my favourite jobs at this time of year -such a wonderful smell.  I emptied out my compost from last year onto the step-over apples in the kitchen garden and now there is plenty of space for the leaves.

Just before darkness and the frost arrived I gathered the last big armful of Dahlias from the cutting garden, which look so vibrant in the house.   Having collected those blooms I now feel like the garden can enter its winter sleep.

Pleached crab apples provide a frame around the herb garden to the front of the kitchen at Allt-y-belaAutumn colours of the topiary at Allt-y-belaAutumn colours of the topiary at Allt-y-belaPleached crab apples at Allt-y-belaclose up of the crab apples

November produce

William spent Sunday afternoon busy by the Aga cooking up batches of crab apple jelly and making sloe gin. Crab apple jelly is easy to make and absolutely worth it. It's a delicious alternative to chutney with cheese and cooked meats and I also love having a good stock to give away to friends.

At the same time as the jelly and the gin William prepared the most delicious fresh pasta dish for us and our houseguests.  This is how he did it.

William's Wild Mushroom Tagliatelle Recipe

Prepare the fresh pasta in a Kitchen Aid or Magimix by throwing in curly kale ripped off the stalk, with fresh Bantam eggs and strong flour. 

Keep adding the flour until it's ready to roll and then thread through a pasta maker until in strips of the desired size.

For the sauce simply roughly chop garlic, red chillis and wild mushrooms, toss through the pasta with extra virgin olive oil and serve immediately with freshly grated Parmesan.

Jars lined up on the kichen table at Allt-y-belaMedlars - before the potWilliam pouring in the sugar before sealing the jarsAllt-y-bela chillies used in chutney and pastaWilliam's homemade pasta

Blue palms in Miami

On a recent trip to Miami I found some amazing palm trees (Bismarckia regia) for an ongoing project in Kuwait. They have the most beautiful blue leaves with ebony seeds providing an arresting contrast to the blue. I never thought I could get excited about palms but I am discovering a completely new palette and really enjoying the challenge of working in a completely different climate with such exotics. We will plant Aeonium schwarzkopf beneath the palms, the foliage of the succulent leaves picking out the dark seed pods of the trees. I have a specimen thriving in a terracotta pot on my terrace table at home.

Bismarckia regia view from base of the trunkBismarckia regia stem detailBlack seeds of Bismarckia regiaChoosing the right tree

Minnesota wild prairie planting

I always love to discover where the plants I use so often in planting schemes in Britain thrive in the wild. A recent visit to Minnesota showed favourite herbaceous border plants growing wild in prairie planting there. Baptisia and Echinacea were thriving and I saw Amsonia tabernaemontana growing four feet tall! All were found at the beautiful and surprising Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, situated about 10 miles outside Minneapolis. In addition to the native prairie and wildflower gardens, a series of wetland gardens connected by streams reveals a collection of the State flower of Minnesota, the lady's slipper orchid. The garden is both beautiful and exciting and the visit provided real stimulation with plenty of ideas to use in projects I have in progress.


Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Lady's slipper orchid, the state flower of Minnesota

Stefano on Schwartz

Stefano Marinaz, Designer and Project Manager at Arne Maynard Garden Design, reflects on the Martha Schwartz city park in front of the US Courthouse buildings in downtown Minneapolis. But it's what the garden conceals which he finds most interesting.


It's so refreshing to see an inner-city space landscaped to suit both the buildings around it - in this case the Minneapolis US Courthouse - and the people who use it. Martha Schwartz's established urban space in Central Minneapolis does just that - but the most interesting thing I found about the design was the car park it hides underneath it. Trees have been planted to great effect - native Minnesotan jack pines - despite the car parking space directly beneath the area - and the grassy mounds, which form the main design element, are intended as security features for the courthouse. So the effect is both beautiful and functional.


The park itself is well documented, having been designed in the mid 1990's by Martha Schwartz as part of the new US Courthouse development. Budget restraints meant that an area originally intended as a fountain is now a display for public art, and the simplicity of the minimalist design makes for easy maintenance, again, keeping costs low. But for me the grass, kept long for a lush and natural effect, gives this space unexpected life. Log benches provide welcome rest points and people are able to walk or lie on the grass meaning the space is well used by office workers at lunchtime. The sculptures pictured here are by Tom Otterness.


Our inner-city studio in central London creates magnificent garden projects for clients across the world - if only our urban surroundings were as inspiring and refreshing as those in Central Minneapolis.


Martha Schwartz

Minneapolis US Courthouse

Tom Otterness

Central Minneapolis with courthouse buildings behind Martha Schwartz's urban parkView through Schwartz's park in Central MinneapolisView through Schwartz's park in Central MinneapolisTom Otterness sculpture in Schwartz's Minneapolis courthouse garden