Best/worst front gardens – series 4

Too long since the front gardens got scrutinised and now once more, the pull is topiary.   I rate this garden *** as long as I can have the house too – or at least a porch and facade as red bricky as this one: Ratings explained: *         call for a…

A watery landscape in Norfolk

Yesterday was spent in Waterworld.  Driving along levees beside which marched rows of willows ripe for the pollard.  Past mills and dykes and marshes and boatyards.  On the ordnance survey  the language is uber aqueous:   Commissioners Dyke, Turf Fen and Swim Coots. Reach for a map and see between Norwich and Caistor on Sea …

I want some new wellies

Is the sensible wellington boot at an all time low or has it had a rebirth to dominate the fashion world?  Arthur Wellesley, 1st  Duke of Wellington, modified the hessian boot to go with new fangled trouser wearing.  This takes us back to 1817 and the wellington has stuck around ever since. Mine never seem…

Tribute to an old shepherd’s hut

This shepherd’s hut was found rotting in a spinney with young trees thrusting their way through its rib cage.    It must have been a pretty spry place to see the ewes through lambing.  Warm as toast with the shutters pegged fast, the little cast iron stove pumping out heat.  Hens cooped under the bench…

The very lonely Christmas tree

A Saturday stroll took us past St Pauls Cathedral and  the tent village.  It is looking permanent and not too uncomfortable.  Free books and beanbags to sit on beckoned.  An upright piano on a pallet and under awning suggested dancing and carousing later.  The plane tree in the middle was celebrating with banners, baby bootees…

The tree I would most like to party under is Larix x marschlinsii

To stand under  a full grown specimen can provoke a desire to twist strings of fairy lights,  hang lanterns and have a party. The branches of Larix x marschlinsii  sweep and curve downwards and act as a giant awning.  And the space beneath this is large and beautiful, prompting a peering up through the undersides…

The Tired Old Border and how to revamp

What most garden owners really need is the nerve to grapple with an unruly flower-bed and decide what to keep or throw out – how to deal with thug tendencies, what to plant in a bare patch and how to extend the flowering season.  Tired old borders turn up with regular monotony.  Perfect time now…

Fencing Your Garden

Did you know that if you put in a fence, you need to give your neighbours the best side to look at?  To be sure of the entente cordiale with the next-doors,  make sure that any new fence line is marked out and shake on it. So what materials should you look out for?  Slough…