Why the gorilla?

It is always at the Chelsea Flower Show but it’s easy to ignore it. The stalls that pin themselves round the Show Gardens and in the folds of the Great Tent are pop up shops.  Amongst the forest of teak benches and at either end of the spectrum there are some incredible things to look…

Best/worst front gardens – series 5

This garden disqualifies itself from the ratings for having no hammock opportunities to speak of.  It is here for the door and the would-be hollyhocks.  Nil points. Ratings explained: *         call for a skip **       concrete over it ***     covet it ****   I’d sling my…

Why you should visit the #Chelsea Flower Show

The television camera is the eye of Sauron.  Key hole surgery down the perianth of plants, peering behind cordoned-off places and practically staring up the nostrils of the horti-stablishment. So why bother to go there  to the Chelsea Flower Show in person? Is the lure the blitzkrieg of celebrity?  The heavy odour in the air…

Chelsea 2013: A few first thoughts

Goodness me, how calm  this flower show seemed today.  Restraint was the theme around the grounds.  In the Grand Marquee, down the spine of  Main avenue, out into Royal Hospital Way and beyond to  the outreach section in  Serpentine walk,   it was shooooooosh and hush in looks.

Ignore this organ

at the gardens of the Villa d’Este at Tivoli, outside Rome.  This water-powered organ broke down in 1561.  At last it has been mended and doors open to a tune blasted out at 10.30 precisely.  The crowds gather to stare in amazement at a show that, for the 3D generation, underwhelms.  Once the doors have…

A day in the life of the Master Composter

Master Composter is a  scheme which exists  to put out the word for making compost.  This means wearing a badge, going to public events or places and  and  enthusing people to make their own.  Gardening begins and ends with the state of your soil and this is determined by what is put in to improve…

Visiting Highgrove: a few thoughts

Going round these gardens is a breathless gallop.  We were slotted into a strict timetable and managed so that we did not dawdle, get lost in the bushes or come up with silly questions.  Renee, our guide,  had thought of all things we might want to ask and, most impressive,  she had pretty well covered…