We are lectured by Tom Stuart Smith

Early in the month Tom Stuart Smith gave a lecture at Great Braxted in Essex and we gardening types were lured from our potting sheds. There was the usual charitable angle with the National Garden Scheme and Horatio’s Garden vying either for or funds or our attention in the most charming way. I had no…

Behind Walls at the Charterhouse

I was looking for a place called the Charterhouse. Getting in, even finding it made me feel like a Minpin trying to crack a walnut. Lurking behind a big brick wall in the Clerkenwall Road – the one door in was firmly locked. How was I to arrive? Wasted time pacing up and down in…

Galloping plant knowledge at Bressingham Gardens

It was mildly provoking to be sent this image of a tree by a holidaying husband.  The tree itself was not annoying, the request to ID it was.  What I didn’t realise at the time was that in a countdown of hours I would be gathering wisps of knowledge from the acknowledged world expert on…

Hats off to Chelsea

A whole week has evaporated since the  Chelsea Flower Show visit.  I’ve examined my pics and scribbled notes and here they are.  A little old hat by now.  I swear this lady wears this hat every year.  Definitely photographed her before. The sleuthing visit of one day gives a sort of hysterical edge to fitting…

The Best Walled Garden in the World is in Suffolk

This  year walled garden curiosity has quietly gripped me.  It started on the Isle of Mull in a squall, taking refuge behind the mossy stone of a 4 acre walled garden.  The kind climate of the Gulf Stream had allowed the rarest of shrubs and trees to flourish.  Back in Suffolk, a walk  through sandy…

P is for pug tea parties

these are regularly held in the gardens of the more stately type of home.  Fancy dress is pretty much compulsory but of course the pugs change into their gear after the games and competitions.  And for the owners there is the most delicious tea. These are fund-raising events for PDWA the charity that rescues and…

Hunting for old bricks

A Suffolk reclamation yard  north of where we live and not too many miles from the sea.   The owners specialise in dismantling old unwanted barns and rebuilding them.  The timbers in the pic are there for a barn in mid reconstruct. I love reclamation yards where you can stumble through brambles and fall in…

The hedge viewing season is upon us.

A real weakness for hedges plagues me.  They arrest me  when I am driving around.  This is one of my favourite local ones.  The three greens of hedge, grass and thuja and the Braque-effect shearing are  perfect.  You might think Lonicera pileata, commonly known as poor man’s box would be an uninspiring choice.  Not so…

Fleetingly at the Garden History Museum

On the south bank of the Thames and right next to Lambeth Palace, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s  London digs,  is a deconsecrated church. It’s graveyard, carved up like a wedge of cheese by busy road is the resting place of the illustrious in trade and horticulture.  There is a prosperous wax chandler,  the man who…

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…