• Allergies,  Book Reviews,  Podcasts

    Suffering from Allergies?

    Ann and I were fortunate to interview Tom Ogren.

    Tom is the author of a fascinating ,very informative book about Allergies in the garden.

    This is a must read for avid gardeners everywhere. Especially if you are one of the many suffering from allergies.

    Allergy-Fighting Garden, cover

    You can hear our interview with Tom below or at www.growingtrends.org or on iTunes at Growing Trends

    We would love to hear your thoughts and comments, please spend a moment sending us your thoughts and suggestions.

    Ann & Chris

      Views: 281

    • Downloadable Help Sheets,  Landscaping,  Real Estate

      Outside Home Check List

      Outside Home Check List

      After starting my Real Estate career in England in 1971.

      I left for 25 years to development a multi award winning External Works Design & Build Company in London.

      Residential Properties

      Part of this was spent designing & building high end landscapes on residential properties in Southern England.

      We developed an initial review list of what to look for when considering the potential for properties, along with expected on going aftercare.

      Our construction teams focused on detailed hard & soft landscaping.

      Developing new ‘Designer Drives’ using a  ‘drylay’ system with block, brick and granite materials as early as 1982.

      Natural brick & granite
      Natural Engineering Brick Dive, in herring bone pattern
      Recessed manhole access covers cut into drylay brick paving

      Can you see the second manhole cover  ?

      Canted block edge that leads the eye around the design.
      Practically to let a driver know they were nearly off the driveway.

      Some larger homes benefitted from a less expensive softer appearance as below when we used a bonded ( with fibreglass resin) gravel drive with brick gulley detail.

      Triple brick drainage channel set around a bonded gravel drive
      Bonded gravel with brick gulley edge
      Bonded gravel with brick edge


      Whilst the list is by no means complete, I am planning on creating a section within this website to show the various techniques and ideas for homeowners.

      Porphery setts laid in a radius
      Granite paving to create a Mediterranean Style dry landscape

      I haven’t made any suggestion as to cost simply because each site is different.

      There are many factors impacting costs, not least access, planning and zoning, time of year, scope of works, current material & labor costs.

      I do hope though that this provides help in your overall assessment of the property you are reviewing.

      I will add sections each week with picture examples.




      Just send me an email or complete the form below with the Subject : “ Outside Forms”  adding what you are thinking about doing, I will be happy to make suggestions. 



        Views: 278

      • Book Reviews,  Face Time

        Journey to Dreamtime

        The professor takes Sophie, Dylan and their two pets Monty and Naomi on a wild adventure
        The professor takes Sophie, Dylan and their two pets Monty and Naomi on a wild adventure

        I’ve been writing this blog for a few years now, in addition with my wonderful co-host Ann we have been interviewing the fascinating people we find for our podcast www.growingtrends.org

        Last year I was asked if we might develop a learning aid for children based on how we grow food, develop sustainable approaches to agriculture and cope with modern city life. I agreed because I felt we do need to help this planet of ours every so often.

        After much thinking coupled with the odd glass of wine – I’m fairly partial to a nice burgundy. This along with late night chats with friends and my lovely wife the small light bulb ( well it has to be an LED these days) began to flicker.

        “Why not make the learning an adventure story?”

        Journey to Dreamtime was born, currently available as an eBook it will soon be available as a paperback, you can see more here…www.journeytodreamtime.com


        Now available in a paperback, you can order either on Amazon or from BookLocker

        Please do let me know what you think…. book two is going to be based in America.

        Thank you.

        Views: 50

      • Book Reviews,  Healthy Living,  Podcasts

        The Cancer Survivor’s Garden Companion

        Cancer Survivors Garden Companion1

        Ann and I were fortunate to interview Jenny Peterson, just after her new book was published. Jenny is an amazing, extremely positive lady who is an inspiration for us all.

        A Garden that Heals.

        Pittsburgh, Pa. (October 5, 2015): When Jenny Peterson was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, it rocked her world. Her cancer treatment was hard, emotional and often deeply depressing. But Peterson, a garden designer and Master Gardener, did not let the cancer diagnosis define her. She used her desire to garden and dig in the dirt again to pull her out of the darkness. And she discovered that gardening is good medicine –for the body, mind and spirit.

        The Cancer Survivor’s Garden Companion:

        Cultivating Hope, Healing and Joy in the Ground Beneath Your Feet
        (St. Lynn’s Press, January 2016) tells Peterson’s story and explores the therapeutic benefits of this vital “earth connection,” including inspirational profiles of other cancer survivors, both men and women, whose gardens became their partners in healing.

        With gentle empathy, beautiful photographs and easy how-to steps. Peterson shows others how to create their own backyard haven for healing – a personal restorative garden – with well-grounded guidance about diet, exercise, mental focus and spiritual renewal. Her book adds a fresh voice to the growing fields of horticultural therapy and therapeutic gardens.

        What others are saying about The Cancer Survivor’s Garden Companion:

        “Jenny’s tips for incorporating gardening into your life for mind, body, and spiritual health are ingenious!


        What other authors are saying.

        As a cancer coach, I will definitely be suggesting this book to my clients.” – Susan Gonzalez, BSN, CPCC, co-author of 100 Perks of Having Cancer Plus 100 Health Tips for Surviving It, and editor of The Savvy Sister blog

        “Jenny’s beautiful book reminds us all that life can be found in the healing, meditative act of gardening. By lovingly tending a garden, we can learn to nurture ourselves, restoring our mind, body and spirit in the process.” – Ray Anne Evans, Executive Director, Breast Cancer Resource Centers of Texas

        “Jenny’s connection with gardening, garden design, and simply being in nature remained strong throughout her cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. In fact, it was part of what helped her through. And now she is helping others to learn from her powerful experience.” – Naomi A. Sachs, Founding Director, Therapeutic Landscapes Network; co-author, Therapeutic Landscapes: An Evidence-Based Approach to Designing Healing Gardens and Restorative Outdoor Spaces

        The Cancer Survivor’s Garden Companion will teach readers how to use the garden to heal, find hope and feel joy.

        About the Author.

        Jenny Peterson is a landscape designer and Master Gardener specializing in xeriscaping and small urban spaces. She is a cancer survivor who found hope and healing in her garden, even during the darkest days of chemotherapy and radiation. In the process, she made deep connections with the cancer support community, including physicians, nutritionists, bodywork practitioners, psychologists and spiritual counselors.

        Peterson co-authored Indoor Plant Décor: The Design Stylebook for Houseplants (St. Lynn’s Press, 2013) with Kylee Baumle. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her fiancé, 19 chickens, two dogs, two quails and a goat.

        You can listen to the interview here :   Interviewing Jenny Peterson

        If you would like to purchase the book : The Cancer Survivors Garden Companion

        Views: 146

      • Book Reviews,  Face Time,  Podcasts

        Grandy’s Long walk – The Bibbulmun Track, Western Australia

        Grandy's long walk 1


        Ann and I had the pleasure of interviewing Linda Stanley  after she had completed this 1000km walk.

        Linda undertook this walk on her own, it took the best part of 8 weeks to complete and more than three months to prepare for.

        Linda isn’t your average walker by any means,  she suffered some serious injuries  breaking her back in an accident. Being a somewhat determined lady she set about challenging herself  to literally get back on her feet again.

        We interviewed Linda in her new home, a beautiful chestnut farm in Nannup, Western Australia just after the launch of  the children’s book she wrote about her journey.

        ‘Grandy’s Long Walk’ is written for young children, superbly illustrated about her walk.

        Linda wrote the book out of a concern that children today spending less and less time with nature and more and more time in front of the small screen. She hopes to encourage more children to get outside and discover the same senses of wonder and joy of nature that she had experienced on her long walk in the forest.

        You can listen to her telling us all about this amazing journey below.

        We were so curious about this really long walk that during our research we found some youtube videos of other people who travel from all over the world to walk this track.

        Darren is one such person, he created  a video and kindly gave us permission to include it in this article. His video is just a part of the walk, you can view it here Bibbulmun track video   Darren is raising money for Diabetes  you can see his web site here   Darren’s website

        There is also a specialist web site filled with information for those who want to plan their own walk..The BIbbulman Track


        Views: 74

      • Face Time,  Podcasts

        Growing Trends interviews Bill Sosinsky on his recent trip to China

        Growing trends logo

        Hello everyone, we hope you like our new logo ?

        We have some great interviews planned for the next few months.

        Our first is with Bill Sosinsky , CEO of Energime University. Bill has recently returned from a trip to China. He talks to us about how the Chinese are adapting, planning and coping with the enormous growth the country has seen over the past few years.

        Cities of 5 – 10 million people built in under 10 years !

        This type of growth brings staggering infrastructure issues or as Bill says ” This is a big deal !”

        The interview is one of those must listen to events…  we all have seen or heard of the Great Wall of China, a quite amazing feat of building, as seen here.


        I wonder how many of us can comprehend the current building program?

        100 million homes in the next 5- 10 years…!

        That’s almost one third of the total housing in the USA


        Truly a monumental task of ingenuity, engineering and collaboration, Ann and I were just amazed  talking to Bill about the growing issues they are trying to solve.

        We will have two parts to this fascinating interview you can listen to the first part here….

        We would love to hear from you with ideas or suggestions on programs, either fill in the form below or just send us an email to info@grotrends.com

        Ann & Chris


        Views: 102

      • Face Time,  Garden Centers,  Podcasts

        Trends in European Garden Centers

        Ann is in Paris, France talking to Valerie Langendorff, President of a Women’s Garden Executive Club.
        Adjusted rose 1
        Valerie looks at Garden Centers from the ladies perspective in France, her ladies group have identified a number of interesting trends..

        Women make 70% of the purchase decisions.

        Currently 90% of Garden Centers are managed by men.

        They have developed an annual awards program judged by women.

        Ladies nights are arranged in the Garden Center

        They have an award for the most women friendly Garden Center.

        They have discovered that women like innovation more than men..

        You can listen to this fascinating interview here or on iTunes

        Views: 84

      • Face Time,  Garden Centers,  Podcasts

        If I were opening a Garden center today

        Garden Centers have evolved over the years, there are Independent Garden Centers often in a local neighborhood, there are larger groups with multiple locations.

        Many of the big box ‘Do it Yourself stores’ have larger and larger ‘Garden Center’ sections.

        The question recently has been where are they all heading.

        So Ann asked Sid & John – “If I were to open a Garden Center today what would be your recommendations?”

        Sid Raisch

        CEO of Horticultural Advantage (www.AdvantageDevelopmentSystem.com) , providing business expertise and extensive leadership training to small to medium horticultural businesses, primarily retail garden centers and selected wholesale suppliers.

        John Stanley.

        International retail guru is what people call me. Specialising in helping retail businesses to grow their bottom line and expand their market base. I work in 26 countries with retailers of all sizes. My expertise ranges from conference speaking to hands on management consultancy. My specialist retail areas are in perishable retailing – anything that will not last long without loving care on the shelf

        Garden Center

        Sid and John discuss future trends for gardens, garden centers, and our urban environment.

        This fascinating , very informative interview is going to have you thinking.

        Send us your thoughts to Growing Trends




        Views: 100

      • Book Reviews,  Face Time,  Podcasts

        Growing Trends : How we look at Food Tourism today

        Ann and I interviewed John Stanley of John Stanley Associates  recently about his new book, he jointly wrote with his wife Linda,

         Food Tourism – A Practical Marketing Guide.

        Food tourism

        The fastest growth in tourism today is the culinary sector.

        Listen to John as he explains the overall direction of food tourism, including how he sees future development.

        A few snip bits:

        Do you grow soil?

        25% of the food we buy comes from 2% of the farmland around our cities, which is being swallowed up by development.

        Farmers used to make 38 cents on every dollar now its down to an average of just 6 cents

        Eating local seasonal food saves you around 25%, and is actually healthier for you!

        You can hear this really informative interview here (click below) or on iTunes at Growing Trends

        Views: 49

      • Book Reviews,  Face Time,  Podcasts

        Heaven is a Garden – Jan Johnsen

        A few years ago I read a paper about how grasses ‘moved’ to music, then I read about the effects of harmonious sounds on plant growth.

        Just using white summer bedding is very effective in such a large garden

        Why do I mention this?

        Well a few weeks ago we were talking about Tesla and his discoveries, which led us to talking about vibrations, sound waves, force fields etc., then a strange thing happened.

        Ann and I interviewed a wonderful lady landscape architect Jan Johnsen, about her new book “Heaven is a Garden” we talked a little about how at a very young age she discovered during a science fair competition – which against all the odds she won – the effects early morning birds singing have on plants. The sound waves, which are similar to a violin stimulate a plant to open its stomata taking in carbon-dioxide to help it grow quicker.


        Jan has written a book called Heaven is a Garden, it’s a really fascinating and informative read.  Jan has ‘connected’ the dots so as to speak, between the natural world and our emotions. How the Four Winds are important when laying out a space,the careful use of curves, and my favorite Golden Rectangles and the Divine Proportion. – Phi is the mathematical proportion ( 1 : 1.618) we see in every natural form. Using this proportion ensures a sense of harmony in any outdoor space that contains it. I’ve always tried to use these proportions in my designs.

        Jan then talks about Trees – natures rechargers as she puts it… The Celts  shunnache,  the Hindu tree devas, and Greek dryads are really references to light energy? The Chinese call this energy chi…the Japanese consider the health giving properties of trees the basis of a medical therapy called ‘ Forest bathing’, it helps reduce stress.

        Jan then discusses the magnetic attraction in a Zen garden – rocks in these gardens reflect a deep understanding of the geomagnetic properties of stone and its impact on a place.

        Finally the benefits of color in a garden.

        Be inspired by Jan Johnsen's Book
        You can listen to our truly fascinating interview with Jan Johnsen  or if you prefer on iTunes at Growing Trends  or just click on the arrow below to start the interview

        We would love to hear from you if you like this interview

        Ann and Chris,


          Views: 139

        • Face Time,  Podcasts,  World Wide WEsponsibility

          The Growing Potential for Algae Part Two

          When we started this latest series of interviews with Bill Sosinsky and Joe Ravet we soon realised how important Algae is to life on our planet.

          algae 3

          We never realised how interesting or how much interest these interviews would generate.

          algae 5

          Here’s the second part, it’s fascinating, informative and what the future holds for us all.

          algae 6

          Have a listen then drop us a line with your thoughts we would love to hear from you.

          You can hear our latest interview here – just click on the bar below or on iTunes at Growing Trends

          We would love to hear from you with ideas and suggestions, just drop us a line at info@growtrends.com


          Views: 115