Butter yellow with rust brown

Thursday last week was one of those days when the sky had been hung up  to dry without being wrung out.  It rained and when it stopped,  pregnant raindrops hung in the air.  Under a soft grey underbelly of cloud.  I could almost have fooled myself into being in Cornwall. Walking with squealching feet down…

A Daunting Planting day

The flowerbeds at the  wholesaler looked stunning at 8am yesterday morning.  I could have spent hours wandering around in the tapestry of beds.  Photos snapped and names noted  of new sorts of perennials and grasses.  The late season has not been touched by frost, and though ‘lifting’ of plants has begun,  there is much still…

And so to Columbine Hall.

Tucked away  in Suffolk behind rape fields and not far from ribbon development bungalows.  The house  takes its name not from the flower but by way of ancient association with the Norman family of de Columbers who owned the feudal manor in the 13C.  Moated houses are common in this part of England but this…

A quick gallop through some garden history

The first gardens that archeology uncovers are those made by the Egyptians.  Walled cool courtyards carved out of the arid desert and based round water, the formal planting of date palms, papyrus and figs in rows.   Since the making of the earliest gardens, there has  been a certain tension between the garden as a…

The best water features in Europe

or even the world are to be found in the hills near Rome.  For inspiration and ideas there are three gardens with which to cram a life-time of sketches and ideas.   Particularly if you could step back in time and help yourself to the purse of a Cardinal. My three favourites are these:  Diana…

Celebrity pin up

WHO? Laetitia Maklouf WHY? For whimsical and charming garden writing

If you don’t get to know a plant properly, it will trip you up.

I know this as I have just fallen flat on my face over peonies.  Lovely covetable peonies  with their bally flowers, huge and fluffy and oh-so Sarah Bernhardt gorgeous.  But with  a string in their tail:   bad late season leaves that cannot be cut down until the frosts are about to arrive.  And the…

In unlikely love with October from the plant point of view

Yesterday I stood outside this house – it belongs to one of my customers and we are planning an autumn tidy up quite soon.  The plants have not been staked, watered or minutely weeded around.  I’ve not made a visit here since April and the regular gardener does not give much time to flowerbeds.  They…

If you are a thyme lover you might be able to help me out of a spot

of bother.  I saw this fabulous plant in the Old English Garden in Battersea Park and fell for it immediately.  It is incredibly low moundy, roundy  and intense in greenness even now as autumn gets its claws in. Did not collar park attendant or passing gardener and say “oi what exactly do you call this…