G is for ghastly

In  1458 Piccolomini set about the construction of a small  town but he was  called to Rome to become Pius II and the job never got finished.  Nethertheless Pienza is an absolute gem of a  Renaissance town. Perched on a hill top and garlanded with churches and piazzettas. Please do follow us!

F is for Ian Hamilton Finlay

If you read a review of “Letters from IHF to to Stephen Bann”  which appeared in December 4th’s London Review of Books, you will learn that he was agrophobic, foul-mouthed and one to raise a mallet to his friendships, notably his best man Hugh MacDiarmid (described as the poineer of synthetic Scots). Please do follow…

B is for Brian

Garden guides can be brilliant or so annoying that you want to rattle your teeth and burst into tears.  Brian,  I am happy to tell you, is my nominee for guide of the year award.  Tucked away up a remote valley in Umbria due south of Lake Trasimeno is the weird and wonderful architectural fantasy…

A is for anonymous

This summer I  visited a garden in England that was designed by the elusive Pascal Cribier.  After an exchange of letters I was given permission to have a look but not to write about it and flaunt photographs.  So here are two anywhere pictures that respect the privacy sentiment. Please do follow us!

Jardin d’Epi Cure – jardin de soin

I’m struggling a bit – my  french doesn’t go beyond ordering a cuppa  and Wiki translation is not helping.  I’m leafing through a document that is headed:  “La Maison des Aulnes, residence d’accueil pour personnes cerebrolesees”.    The computer throws up nonsense in translation.  The gist is obvious so, tear up the paperwork, and let…

The gardens at Quai Branly, Paris by Gilles Clement

Sitting pretty by the Seine, in the 7th arrondissement,  with terraces of Haussmann-order breathing down on the south side,  there was a bit of a brouhaha over this plot of land. It’s nearest metro stop, Alma-Marceau  is also the right one if you want to visit the Paris sewers and the Eiffel Tower which sticks…

10 Italian Gardens not to miss

Italy again – the copy below first appeared in IntoGardens, the on-line gardening app.  It gives a quick overview of 10 gardens in Italy that I love. Five are very old and five are from the 20th century. Villa d’Este a Tivoli, Lazio: Ippolito (Hercules to you and me) d’Este, son of Lucrezia Borgia and…

Little Sparta – what did I think of it?

Standing in a white-walled contemporary  gallery,   I am looking at pieces of rock strung as a necklace.  Inspected through the chained magnifying glass the mica glints in cool electric light.  I have booked on line to take the bus from under the 20 foot high  message “We don’t stay here Because of Gravity.  We…

This week I visited Piet Oudolf’s own garden

This week I visited Piet Oudolf’s garden in Hummelo in the outreach zone of north eastern Netherlands and buried deep in agricultural land.  The Friesian cows were peering through the hedge and the rumble of active tractors was resonant in the otherwise still air. The economics of the trip were such that it was pretty…

The RHS Dahlia Show – what did we think?

My friend Frenchie of Moat Farm Flowers is big into cut flowers.  She lives up here in Suffolk and is growing and selling beautiful blooms for weddings and the like.  A Dahlia Show at Wisley? We gasped with excitement and made the date to go together. She for the learning and I for the gawping….