Cynara Website Design

Design Methods

I am a self employed website designer with a strong interest in horticulture. For the last 2 years I have been working on the website for Cotswold Garden Flowers (, who are based in Evesham, which I designed from the ground up. I also provide general technical support, including keeping the email system running smoothly.

I aim to design simple fully functional websites, which do not over-power you with 'eye-candy'. One of my strong points is that I don't beleive in spending (your?) money unnecessarily. I follow the old engineers aim of designing things that are 'cheap, simple and reliable'.

What Is PHP?

PHP is a scripting language, that enables websites to be 'dynamic'. At a simple level it helps with the design and maintenance of complete websites. As sites get more complicated and include databases, PHP is able to extract the information from the database and put it up on the screen. More often than not, the website database used with PHP, is MySQL

What Is MySQL?

MySQL is a database that is commonly used on website, usually together with PHP. For the horticultural trade, using a database for your stock/price lists makes good sense, as it saves all the messing about recoded webpages directly. The database is loaded/updated with a nice easy tool called phpMyAdmin.

As an example of a database used on a website, have a look at the encyclopedia page on Cotswold Garden Flowers website - This database has the details of about 10,000 plants, what you see on the page is generated straight from the database, so if you change the database, the corresponding webpage changes. This database has a field which indicates if the plant is for sale by mail order, so the mail order page can just extract those plants from the database. The price and name of the photo, if there is one, is also included in the one database. It really is a powerful method of sorting and organising your plants on your website.

Downloadable Catalogues?

We can convert your catalogue from whatever format you currently use, to a PDF file that can be downloaded from the internet. It is important to select the right conversion method, so the file size is kept as small as possible - smaller file sizes means customers spend less time waiting for the download to finish. Catalogues with pictures/photos create many problems in transferring to PDF, not least because it can make the file size very large, so as a general rule I would suggest that downloadable catalogues do not contain photos.


We can set up and config a webshop using osCommerce, one of the most common webshops for small operations. The administration is fairly straight forward - adding different product catagories and modifing current products can be carried by almost anyone. - My Own Demostration Webshop.

Feel free to have a go at ordering plants from the Kniphofia site, as it's currently set up as a demostration, so no plants will be ordered.

You will need to think about what payment methods you wish to use. It all depends on the volume of sales you expect, the average order value etc.┬áTo get started Paypal/Nochex are fairly easy to set up. As a guide, a basic Nochex merchant account costs £25 to set up, and then the costs are 20p fixed plus 3.25% per transaction. The maximum order value is £100 a time for a customer without a Nochex account, and £300 if they have an account. It costs customers nothing to set up an account.


Examples Of Webpage Design - Kniphofias On-line - Demo Webshop - Chandra Yoga, Leicestershire - Cotswold Garden Flowers, Evesham (Historic Backup Only) - Headspace Jewellery, Leicestershire - Worlds End Nursery, Worcestershire