Garden Talk


Exploring the best gardens in England:

Doddington Place

I had an idea to go and volunteer labour  in gardens of whimsy and interest to soak up history,  horticultural  skills and the genius loci.    Doddington Place was my first choice.  I was welcomed  by the ... read more

Chaumont International

Garden Festival v. RHS flower shows

“Have issue.  You were so adamant that you wouldn’t go to Chelsea again.  Discuss, please”. This text came through the day I was at this year’s Flower Show and looked like a   an essay question. ... read more

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 ... read more

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 ... read more

Umbellifered out and spoilt at Gravetye Manor

The day before yesterday we were umbellifered out and spoilt to bits  all in one sitting, so to speak.  A ... read more

A Potager of sorts

 At the entrance to our garden there is a courtyard.  In it a  raised  square flowerbed edged in green oak.  The design reason was to cut ... read more

Best and Worst Front Gardens - series 6

Nearly got run over photographing this but I just had to share this front garden. Ratings explained: *       ... read more

My terrible meadow sowing attempts

There is a patch of ground in my garden that has definitely got the upper hand.  It started as a sulking vegetable plot full of stones and rampant sun flowers.  That ... read more

Review of Deckchair Gardening by Anne Wareham

... read more

Dig your soil? Or then again, do not

Earlier this year ... read more

Why I do not want to plant lilies at all (plus random garnish of pics)

I do not ... read more

My 10 top tips for a successful PLANTING PLAN

This week I ... read more

Bulbs - try out the dolly mixture planting style

Bulbs are opportunists.  Most come from the far Eastern end of the Mediterranean, from rocky scree where early  snow melt gives ... read more

Pennisetum Red Buttons runs away with me

I have been having a love-in with Fountain grasses for quite a while.   Pictured here is the one that I ... read more

How was it for you? 2017 Garden Press Event

How was it ... read more

Greening the grey with High Line

... read more

Do 'water features' set your teeth on edge?

    Musings in our house  have turned to the magical quality of  water, to where  to put it in the garden and what the influences and inspiration might be.    ... read more

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 ... read more

A visit to Bury Court to see planting by Oudolf and Bradley Hole

I can never make my mind up whether it is best to thoroughly research a garden before visiting first-time round, clued ... read more

Why I did not visit Jupiter Artland

Visitors to the  Edinburgh Festival and its cuckoo offspring, ... read more

A Trip to East Ruston Old Vicarage Gardens

These gardens have become a bit of a pilgrimage site.  Particularly for those of us who live in the East.  ... read more

Planting combination for August: Tall, gauzy and with presence

By suspending all blogging activities for over a year, I have made some time to coax our garden into looking  more ... read more

The questionable matter of choice in choosing the right plant

... read more

Pattern of the DAY

... read more

Plant colour combos for your 2015 garden

Hours of the weekend have been spent drooling over  plant catalogues and trawling websites for ferns, clematis, dahlias, green manure ... read more

The days of Narnia

are almost over.  Without looking at the man in the suit on the telly, who seems to know so much ... read more

January Door

... read more

R is for La Ragnaia

Una ragnaia is a small wood for trapping birds - no doubt as a dinner-party delicacy.  Craig Sheppard's magical garden ... read more

Q is for Quercus ilex tunnels

Seen here at Villa Cetinale, near Siena.  The evergreen oak can be oppressive in its matt evergreen livery.  In the hot ... read more

Advice on fruit trees: which type to grow

Fruit trees are magnificent and lovely even without the eating.  Garden designers hunt around for architectural plants and most fruit trees ... read more

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 ... read more

O is for Piet Oudolf

Piet Oudolf is the maestro of perennial planting.    Aged 71 but he is still working - both designing and teaching.  He continues to innovate and  bring in change - there ... read more

N is for nectarine

or could it be B for boasting.  This is the Benacre nectarine - possibly the last one in the whole world. ... read more

L is for lemons

Lemons north of Rome get wheeled out in May. ... read more

M is for meadows

I know that tomorrow is going to be a mother of a day, so time to get ahead with my M.... ... read more

K is for Eddie Krutysza

At home, we are pickaxing up areas of the garden.  Grappling with unwanted curbstones, squinting at the winter ghosts of ground ... read more

J is for jazzy planting at Pensthorpe Park

... read more

I is for irises

-bearded ones used en masse as ground cover as you can see them here in the garden of Villa Cetinale, Tuscany.   The flowers are fleeting but the leaves are pretty ... read more

H is for hairy hedges

... read more

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 ... read more

Feast on your greens: winter gardening

December weather lays  bare the bones of the landscape and reminds keen gardeners of the delights of monochrome gardening.  Knock out  colour - except greens -   and think texture, movement, ... read more

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 ... read more

E is for Edinburgh, a wordy sort of place

... read more

D is for Don't be stupid and Dahlias

At a Dahlia Show you will see the  the bionic boob and tippety heels of this type of plant.   Go and and wow at a Dolly Parton of a dahlia ... read more

C is for coleus

(equally S is for Solenostemon scutellarioides)  - plants that come from India and Thailand and get called the 'painted nettle'.  You ... read more

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 ... read more

B is for Brian

Garden guides can be brilliant or so annoying that you want to rattle your teeth and burst into tears.  Brian,  ... read more

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 ... read more

Top boar of the year

by Sheppard Craige's wife.  At Il Bosco della Ragnaia. ... read more

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 ... read more

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 ... read more

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 ... read more

Flaunt your bindweed

Or - Pattern of the DAY.  I have spent hours this year winding my convolvulus up canes and snatching off the ... read more

Genius loci

If you were ever wondering what that is, read this and you will understand: It is too long  since a post ... read more

Pattern of the DAY

It is that time of the year when trees become ever more attention grabbing.  This is the hoary trunk of Morus alba, the white mulberry. ... read more

Yesterday I fell in love with the hop hornbeam

Ostraya carpinifolia. It was dancing in the wind at Cambridge Botanic: Shaking hop dangly earrings in the sunny breeze. ... read more

Tomato horrors: some fell witch has visited my greenhouse

This is a story of how NOT to grow tomatoes. Growing in the greenhouse  began so well.    I am ... read more

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 ... read more

Problem planting areas - slopes round ponds

or should I say moats?   In Suffolk, east of England,  moats are ubiquitous .   I have lost count of ... read more

This is my mistreated carrot

An extreme example of very poor soil preparation.  The wretched thing is coiled into a scream that stops it taking flight ... read more

Dahlia amazia: why and how to grow dahlias

Dahlias yo-yo in and out of fashion.  Right now the spool is taut and this genus of perennials are spinning high.  ... read more

Radicchio rage

I am having problems with my radicchio - or are they radicchi when they grow in a small flock like this?  ... read more

In the glistering light of September

Plants that would appear flat and bleached out in bright sun come forward and shine or have a luminous quality ... read more

Plants by Post - do I rate them?

When I asked  Tim Milward of Plant Me Now how many lines of seeds they had in their catalogue he looked at me politely and I realised I was ... read more

Aspirational corner: mainly things I want but have no room for Mark 4

Perhaps I am getting steadily more greedy.  Time, on the other hand, could be galloping faster and faster like ... read more

Garden workshops in Suffolk to get your garden looking gorgeous

I am running two workshops soon for any keen gardeners who live in Suffolk: HARMONIOUS PLANTING - on  Monday 6th October 9.30 ... read more

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 ... read more

Close up and personal at Castello di Celsa

Here is a a quick photo-study of Celsa - a castle and grounds near Siena, Italy.  I visited earlier this year.  If you want to do the same,   check their ... read more

More of these wild and woolly gardens

It is really a write-on from my post of August 7th about the serendipity of visiting two gardens back to back that are in wild contrast.  I just love it when ... read more

Aspirational corner: things that I want but have no space for mark 2

A maze to get lost in.  This one is at Glendurgan Garden in Cornwall.  Oh, and I will have those tree ... read more

Black List: Good old Ophiopogon gets a little jazzy

or even snazzy.  Ophiopogon planiscapus 'nigrescens' looks great in paving gaps.  Thrown into the limelight by the mullein skeletons. ... read more

A Bad Day in the garden

The hurricane is here.  It  has knocked down the bean tipi, smitten the amaranthus which are flaying their beards all over ... read more

Garden visits - the wild and woolly way

A couple of times a year, I put together a list of gardens and a bunch of us ... read more

That orange hunch was right

- just look at this: I can't tell you were saw this or I will get my arms chewed off. ... read more

Go away at your peril

in the summer and you will return to rampaging jungle syndrome.  I had just got it under control - the garden, ... read more

Shimmering border at Pensthorpe

Or Oudolf does it again.  Digitalis ferruginea and echinacea.  There was a time, way back in the blurred mist of yesteryear, when the flower borders were losing it for colour and ... read more

How to bud a rose

Well why would you?  Its quite simple - roses can be grown by taking cuttings but to graft a bud ... read more

Smelling roses

[caption id="attachment_3404" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Rose de Rescht"][/caption] The best way to smell a rose?  Cut the bloom and put it into ... read more

Am I mad to go orange?

I just think enough customers have said "no yellow and definitely no orange" to spin my my mind.  I have spent this week in Norfolk in a rose field and with ... read more

OK just this once a little bit of before and after

Here is a hoary handed son of the soil tilling - with rotavator -  this large border 17 metres long by 4 metres wide.  The photo was taken last September 2014. ... read more

Aspirational corner: things I want but have no space for

- a grotto, for example.  This is part of the massive one at the Palazzo Pitti, Florence. ... read more

Visiting a plant trial ground.

I have been round a trial ground before and it is quite something to see good looking new plants that have endured  the selective breeding process, survived the cull  and made ... read more

It is barking dahlia day today

... read more

So what is this garden coaching malarkey?

Well, one big part of my  garden coaching  is designing gardens.  However a quantum shift has come over me and ... read more

The struggles of the greenhouse virgin

I have been having a bit of a fight with germination.  Left it too late for quite a few of the ... read more

I want this gate

... read more

Hunting for old bricks

A Suffolk reclamation yard  north of where we live and not too many miles from the sea.   The owners specialise ... read more

Meadow Sweet: how nature heals itself

A friend of mine invited me to go and look at her hedges, latent woodland and wildflower pastures. 14 years ... read more

Pugs dressed for Midsummer Night's Dream

Yesterday we drove up to Norfolk to a pug tea party in the grounds of Wood Hall, Hilgay.   This ... read more

The hedge viewing season is upon us.

A real weakness for hedges plagues me.  They arrest me  when I am driving around.  This is ... read more

This list makes me drool with anticipation

For pure poetry just read this about Dichelostemma Ida-Maia: "Spectacular red, yellow and green coloured flowers, shaped like cigars, opening at ... read more

Garden centres deck the halls

I saw a nearly life size baby Jesus with Joseph worshipping at the alter of christmas tree lights, the fluffiest ... read more

Dr Noel Kingsbury and the daffodils

A banner for a recent lecture read:   ”The Daffodil – The remarkable story of the world’s most popular flower”.   ... read more

Wordless Wednesday

or seasonal mood swing? ... read more

Nerines at West Dean in a cold sweat

Nerine Enchantress. ... read more

Intuitive planting

I keep a list in a grubby old note book of plants that are looking good together.  I am stumped for the right word here, or phrase.  It could be 'plant ... read more

Provoked to think by the Bad Tempered Gardener

I have been reading Anne Wareham's recent blog post "It must Go" and it ties in with thinking about garden criticism - rolling the idea round like a pebble in the ... read more

Halloween Horror

No, this is not a camel with 16 heads.  It is a plane tree in St Jean Pied de Port. ... read more

The hen and rooster Miracle

Santo Domingo de la Calzado had a hard time of it.  He applied to become a monk but two holy orders  ... read more

A few vegetable images from the #Camino de Santiago

Cross the Pyrenees from St Jean Pied de Port at this time of the year and you risk walking in cloud ... read more

Plantaholic Post: A Sweet pea for Show and Tell

I have been badgering Tony for the name of this sweet pea all summer and now, October in, he ... read more

Looking down on this dahlia?

It is Dahlia cactus Orfeo pictured here  with  Pennisetum setaceum Rubrum. This past May I got dahlia  tubers from de Jagar Bulbs ... read more

#Wordless Wednesday

Wordy at the  Veddw, Anne Wareham's garden. ... read more

pictorial summary of 4 important gardens: Rousham/Vedww/Abbeydore and Laskett

I have been very wordy of late and have run out of September's quota.  October's has not yet arrived.  In brief ... read more

Master Composters - making compost the new brown

My new volunteering  role  is  Master Composter.  So what is exactly is that?  Master Composters are trained by Garden Organic and ... read more

Peacocks on my walls

I would, for choice, have peacocks on my walls - as they do at Rousham Park, Oxfordshire. ... read more

Dahlia Amazia at Rousham

Jaw dropping, pulse-raising, spectacle-removing dahlia border at Rousham Park, Oxfordshire. ... read more

Roses move over: time for the New Planting

Most gardening books  make me yawn.  Soft focus, flowery pictures spinning fantasy – the veritable stuff to clutter a coffee table.    “Planting: A New Perspective”  by Piet Oudolf and Noel ... read more

Butternut Squash trounces rivals

No - this is not a marrow.  It is  wrinkled butternut squash AKA zucca rugosa grown from a packet from Franchi ... read more

Randoming can be done on the top of a bus: collecting garden inspiration

Randoming is what I call going about the place collecting ideas and quirks for the  garden - mine or for customers, ... read more

Perplexed by a vegetable foray into the italian spectrum.

The seed sowing has thrown a barbarous squash bigger than my foot, expanding by eye-widening moment and remorselessly green.  I share ... read more

10 tips for getting the wedding garden ready

Here in Suffolk we are getting a garden ready for a wedding this September.   It may come behind the cake, the frock and the marquee but any keen gardener will ... read more

Plantaholic POST: Stipa gigantea

Transparency is a major quality in a perennial.  There are plants that are of a certain stature, take the movement of ... read more

#Wordless Wednesday

...why I love sunflowers. ... read more

9 or 10 good gardener's eye reasons to visit Audley End

My last garden visit was to Houghton Hall, Norfolk.   It turned into a wordy splurge.   Now we are in August and life is too hot and short.  Instead I ... read more

Some advice on green manure crops, please!

In the blink of a few weeks the experimental green manure patch of Phacelia tanacetifolia has gone from this to this: ... read more

Guisachan: a rare old place in the Highlands

The wonder of Guisachan lies in the stone husk of a large house set in  mature parkland.  Mighty specimens of wellingtonia, beeches ... read more

Which to buy? Big v little tree specimens

Larger specimens of trees are tempting to buy for instant impact.  But does the promise translate in more bang for ... read more

The Highlands of Scotland: Glen Strathfarrar

Glen Strathfarrar is in the Highlands of Scotland, 20 miles west of Inverness.  The road into the glen is private - with ... read more

A review of the gardens at Houghton Hall, Norfolk

Five years ago this garden  near the Wash won the Christies and Historic Houses Garden of the Year’s prize.  I’d never heard of the award  but it sounded promising and so, ... read more

A bee magnet

This morning Phacelia tanacetifolia was furry blue blur in my garden.  Pulling  in the bees and the hover flies too. ... read more

Plantaholic Post

Dianthus barbatus or  Sweet Williams look fabulous right now and will continue to do so until the frosts get them.   ... read more

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 ... read more

#Terrified Tuesday

Aieeeeeeeeeeee is this another example of global warming? ... read more

Lovely Landriana: another Italian garden to visit

“The Education of a Gardener” by Russell Page is my favourite dipping-into gardening book.  Despite being written fifty years ago and by ... read more

A few summer tips and the oppo to win gardening equipment too

Those who blog a bit will be used to strange offers  for host posts on their site:  muscular pain, TV series ... read more

Wildflowers to be seen near Paris

From the Arc de Triomphe it is less than 40 kilometers to Maule - a leafy village just beyond spitting distance ... read more

Can yew combat box blight?

[caption id="attachment_2687" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="Yew edging at David Austin Roses"][/caption] Box blight is becoming a  scourge.  I read a recent  article in ... read more

La Ninfa - the most romantic garden

“The best garden in Italy?  Undoubtedly Ninfa” whispered  the olive oil taster. Set  out of the way in dusty ravine country about an ... read more

10 tips for the direct sowing of flowering annuals

Long  ago we had a cat and an attic in Peckham.  Seed trays were lined up to bask in the light beaming down through the sky lights.  The cat got up ... read more

A mole

This collage effect is a mole in the dull  shade round the Mere below our castle.  The boot (mine) is in ... read more

Which Ivy? Where?

This weekend I went to Fibrex,  the nursery for pelargoniums, ivies and ferns.  The unlikely name comes from a long family history in nursery growing which started out as a rose ... read more

The Best Tulip Award goes to Tulipa Cairo

The wholesale catalogues from the bulb nurseries have already slapped through the letterbox.  For 2013 I have taken a vow not to leave the ordering of tulips and narcissi etc  till ... read more

Broadcasting my woes on broadcast sowing

If anyone can give me some sound advice on how to sow this way for a perfect even sward - please ... read more

Why the gorilla?

It is always at the Chelsea Flower Show but it's easy to ignore it. [caption id="attachment_2615" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="kinetic piece David Watkinson"][/caption] The stalls ... read more

Wordless Chelsea

... read more

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.... read more

Chelsea 2013: A few first thoughts

[caption id="attachment_2540" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="installation by Marc Quinn"][/caption] Goodness me, how calm  this flower show seemed today.  Restraint was the theme around the ... read more

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 ... read more

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 ... read more

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 ... read more

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 ... read more

# Terrified Tuesday

6 weeks worth of the wrong sort of rubbish removed  from green waste bins. ... read more

#Terrified Tuesday

Sizewell B across the weather and the coarse grass. ... read more

What to do with the overgrown garden

Are you finding it difficult getting a grip on a garden that is new to you and reverting to nature?  One ... read more

Pattern of the DAY

painted ceiling, monastry on island of Lake Tana, Ethiopia ... read more

#Terrified Tuesday

so befuddled by this that I am a day late.  Out of kilter and nuclear wasted. ... read more

Interest in the #Chelsea Flower Show

will soon burst into the stampede of wildebeest hooves. Whatever anyone makes of this flower show at the tippity-top of its genre ... read more

Terrified Tuesday

can take any shape or form as long as  the subject - or subjects - are vaguely disquieting.  The blobs below shriek for themselves. ... read more

Beth Chatto and choosing the right plant

[caption id="attachment_2432" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Papaver orientale 'Juliane' hot and sunny site"][/caption] There is a terrible drawback to gardening called impulse buying.  I ... read more

10 tips for indoor seed sowing for the Allotment

The idea behind sowing into pots and the like, is to steal a march on the seasons.  Since outside is  Narnia, it is the only way to garden at all at ... read more

Celebrity pin up

WHO?:                       JAMES HITCHMOUGH WHY?               ... read more

A visit to Ben Coode-Adams

I am up  in my freezing cold attic,  under self imposed lock down. Not allowed out till the mind, the fingers and the keyboard get going.  Lurking round the cold pool ... read more

Plantaholic Post

This is an eyeball view of Corylus avellana 'Contorta'.  I visited two nurseries last week and at both it  threatened ... read more

How to choose a tree for the diminutive garden

The 21st garden can be a shrinking violet of a patch.   There is practically no room to swing a cat, but ... read more

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 ... read more

What isisisisis a Garden?

So What ISISISIS A Garden? Aldeburgh town, in the Empty Quarter of Suffolk,  and on threat  of being sucked into the waters of ... read more

Rome - city of fountains

Can there be anywhere else like it for the squirt, drip and gush of water?    Tritons clapped on the back ... read more

10 reasons why I hate planting plans

1.  They create unreasonable expectation. 2.  They are totally static and nature is not. 3.  Planting plans have people drooling for the ultimate moment of peak perfection for that lovely flower only to ... read more

Wordless Wednesday: no miracles here

... read more

The Staverton oaks of Suffolk

In this place there are thousands of ancient oaks.  Old and hoary and with trunks that look like agonised faces dissolving in ... read more

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 ... read more

Plantaholic POST

Eranthus hyemalis:   I would not be so in love with this little plant if the weather had sulked less ... read more

Pinterest for garden designers

So, a brief description of Pinterest  from the demi-ignorant.  An admission from the outset:  the time I have been spending on Pinterest is wonder blunder.  The feeling is like being on ... read more

Recycling tip for gardeners

Rethink your trip to the bottlebank: ... read more

Aaieeeeee - the paparazzi are here

TT is for  Territorial Army, touch your toes and Terrified Tuesday.  I have decided to keep a photo-diary of  things that ... read more

Stem ginger

The pollard, the stooling and  the time of the coppice are nearly here.  Cold February days are the viewing time for ... read more

A boundary story

The truth of it is no-go, slow stasis and paralysis and so I am going to post this opalescent image by Char ... read more

Wordless Wednesday on the hedge front

... read more

What to do with a teasel

Well you can brush them over your billiard table to raise the nap.  Or point the finches in the right direction ... read more

Modern Technology? Get me out of here.

Utterly spangled and bedangled I am by trying to get up to date with my techno-efficiency.  It's January init?  For once,  a ... read more

Monochrome zone: a black and white walk round my village today

A Black and White walk round my village today. I just love it that a in a stride about outside  all bright shades have been erased and noise is muffled and bleached ... read more

How to Choose a Tree for the Smaller Garden

This is part two of three posts on how to fit a desirable and covetable tree into your small garden. My ... read more

Designing with hedges

The landscapers are planting whips like anything right now.  Whips are twigs to you and me.  The cheapest ... read more

How to Choose a Tree for the Small Garden

Modern gardens are small, smaller and diminuitive.  Let’s start  with the largest of the small;   an imaginary plot ... read more

A conservation artist to watch out for

I want to tell you a little about Lil Tudor-Craig.  She paints pictures that send shivers up the spine.  Not in ... read more

Nine and a half Top Tips for getting ahead with the ALLOTMENT

Today the garden has gone monochrome and dispelled itself in grisly fog.  So I have decided to cheer myself up with a colour blast before tramping down to the allotment. ... read more

January 10th, 2013 Pattern of the DAY

Tiles from Rustem Pasha, a mosque in Istanbul ... read more

The gardens of Chateau du Champ de Bataille

Stumble into a film set through an avenue of clipped sphinx.  Tintin might be round the next corner or  Jaws and 007 ... read more

Le Jardin Plume

Step through a hole in the hedge off a field of stubble and you’ve got the   hallmark of Le Jardin ... read more

Les Jardins Agapanthe

Monsieur Alexandre Thomas, paysagiste, has taken an idiosyncratic tack with his family garden.  The sobriquet ‘nonconformist’ sticks and he revels in it.  He has two of them,  Les Jardins Agapanthe, mere ... read more

Disgruntled snail trail up Arthur's Seat in quest for the Speed of Light.

Today is the last time for  the climb in the dark in Edinburgh. NVA's Speed of Light which  is billed as ... read more

Allotment update

Allotment Week?  I read the Patient Gardener's Weblog and realised that this had passed me by.  Allotment ownership is a bit ... read more

The planting in the Olympic Park

For the East Angle travelling by train, Stratford is the gateway to the City and beyond.  For years we have had to ... read more

Looking good in August

All three of the perennials below are dominating the flowerbeds right now. Helenium 'Moerheim Beauty' ... read more

Wordless WEDNESDAY: Field scabious on the verge

... read more

And so WHAT do YOU want from your garden then?

Stripping away and paring back the overgrowth in my own plot, I have been musing and pondering the while. On ... read more

A fence to covet

Woven willow by Spencer Jenkins, greenwood artist. ... read more

Catching the zeitgeist at the Hampton Court Flower Show

To be a visitor at the glossy end of flower shows is akin to watching those cookery programs on the ... read more

Recent Introductions and Plants of Interest

I offer you 3 from the Hampton Court Flower Show, day one,  earlier this week.  I'd made ... read more

Plantaholic POST:

Rosa moyesii 'Geranium' is a brilliant rose for wild bits of the garden.  It is splays out like a fountain ... read more

Lush and jungly planting at Glyndebourne

Do these plants get high on arias?  The planting in the borders at Glyndebourne is in the exuberant category.  Grounded ... read more

Rest assured at Wrest Park

Bedfordshire?  Never given it much thought beyond gritting my teeth over the drive to Luton airport.  A prejudice I ... read more

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? ... read more

A plant to drool over

Nigella damascena ' Miss Jekyll Alba'.   A real jewel of an annual.  Free seeding with filigree leaves and seed heads like pop eyes. ... read more

Taxonomy phenomeny

Woe betide failing to keep those plant names under control.    In order to remember the name of that lovely purchase you can stick the label in along with the plant. ... read more

Welcome to Hound's-tongue

May shading into June is the best time for long country walks in the East of the country.  The wildflowers ... read more

Char Faber puts asparagus on the plate

... read more

So, David Hockney it is over, but not quite.

Thousands of us  stood and jostled  in the grand rooms up the stair of the Royal Academy to see the ... read more

On acid in a car park

Yellow has pushed its busy way forward the past few weeks:  throwing its hair around and dancing in the ... read more

Literary extract from The Great Gatsby

...."the lawn started at the beach and ran towards sun-dials and brick walls and burning gardens - finally when it reached ... read more

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.    ... read more

A feast of spring buds

Forget the daffodils.  The high-point  of spring is the dancing buds and dazzle of early flowers on  trees.   Warm ... read more

Allotment newbie: the first few shakey steps

Cucumber seedlings are sulking on an east facing window sill and waiiting to go down ... read more

I cannot speak a word of Turkish

but I know that these are the seeds of desire: ... read more

Tapping my innermost restraint at Beth Chatto gardens

I am at the gardens of Beth Chatto, just out of the whist and twiffle of the seaside ozone and beyond ... read more

The world's best nurseries: series 3

Santa’s Grotto or elves?  A very good way to write off a garden centre or nursery,  or so I used ... read more

Wordless Wednesday: Destruction

... read more

Mayhem in the garden: stump grinding

The temperature has dropped and the rain has bucketed down.  The ground out there is very soggy.  Winter conditions have at last come to the east of England. ... read more

What is the best way to deal with a lollipop hedge?

Now what is that?  I have not taken flight for Honeydukes  or gone Munchkin in the head. To keep the rabbits off, ... read more

A geeky discourse on ordering plants wholesale off the internet

This is a follow-on from yesterday or the day before's post on my blog.    It is not about buying ... read more

Plantaholic POST:

Salix 'Erythroflexuosa'. Willow seen in stark nudity by water.  At its best in the low light of winter afternoon sun. ... read more

Plants by post

Plants by post seems like a fairly crazy idea.  Especially when 18 large grasses were ordered up  in 2 litre ... read more

Wordless Wednesday: Great Bustard at Norwich Castle

... read more

If you go into the woods today, you're in for a big surprise

[caption id="attachment_1618" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="not quite fly agaric"][/caption] Serried timber trees, broad trunked with fly agaric mushrooms poking through dead ... read more

Pattern of the DAY

Banksy eat your heart out.  Seen all over Arezzo ... read more

The garden skeleton is revealed to bitter tears

Take a look at this and this: Dem bones.  ... read more

I have been sitting on Brita von Schoenaich's birches for too long.

Almost but not quite.   The image has been looming on the desktop and housewifery has hit the ... read more

Plantaholic POST:

Look  up into the hoary upper reaches of Platanus orientalis var. insularis.  A doughty specimen from Crete.  Tall as a house ... read more

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. ... read more

This tree is so dead it is alive

The blasted trunk, hit by lightening, stands it's ground in  the middle of a footpath. As a stately thing, ... read more

I'm thinking about trees this month

This morning the shipping news, poetic as ever, sailed us into the wicked stripping winds of winter.  I wasn't encouraged ... read more

Wordless Wednesday. Tony Cragg - sinuous and shiny

... read more

Plantaholic POST:

The only drawback to this juicy green and practically white flower is the name.  Schizostylis coccinea 'Pink Marge'. It has never ... read more

No camera? No excuse for bad website pics.

This is a blog post about pulling  my socks up.  I must have one of the worst websites around - a sort of Mickey-mouse-pasted-together affair.  A friend looked at it a ... read more

Choosing plants for a new planting scheme: some handy tips

[caption id="attachment_1477" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="porch planting at Great Dixter"][/caption] There are a few rules that you should keep returning to.   ... read more

Pattern of the DAY

Detail of door in Lalibela ... read more

St Catherine's Hill and St Cross

The top of the hill was an Iron Age fort.  Stand there and look around.  The beech woods slide down the ... read more

Grave places

used to completely creep me out.   Now I love a good graveyard.   It's probably an age thing.   Hidden away there are  numinous and peaceful places that are worth ... read more

Get naked at David Austin: some useful rose info

The leaves are off, or nearly, and  I’m taking my mind  back to David Austin and February.  I went there ... read more

Best/worst front gardens - series 3

I rate this garden ***  (largely due to snappily clipped yew) Ratings explained: *       Call for a skip **   ... read more

Plantaholic Post

Malus John Downie - the small crabapple with the cherriest of fruit.   We are about to plant an ... read more

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 ... read more

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 ... read more

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 ... read more

Pattern of the DAY

Craggy Cornish wall. ... read more

A quick gallop through some garden history

[caption id="attachment_1372" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Chatsworth gardens as laid out in 1699"][/caption] The first gardens that archeology uncovers are those made by the ... read more

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. ... read more

Celebrity pin up

WHO? Laetitia Maklouf WHY? For whimsical and charming garden writing ... read more

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 ... read more

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 ... read more

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 ... read more

Things I like in Battersea Park

There are many.  It starts before stepping off Chelsea Bridge heading south.  The burger van.  Greasey smell and crumpled paper ... read more

Her Madge's beds are enough to make you gasp and stretch your eyes

Outside Buckingham Palace there are a pair of beds that flank the top of the Mall.  This piece of land ... read more

Well Hello Window Boxes

Hmmmmmmmmm, those tidy little planted patches  outside slick offices.  An urban phenomenon.  Downtown there are guys who are primping the ... read more

Black List

Aeonium schwarzkopf  has wierd twisty stems and succulent slabs of leaves in polished black.  The  cauliflour inflorescences of acid yellow ... read more

Do not throw stones: a love affair with Palm Houses

In a new city, the beeline I make is to the Botanic Gardens.  Once there the homing in is ... read more

Friday Creature Feature: can some keen entomologist identify this?

Cross between a teddy bear and a bee.  They move as packs through lavender bushes garnering nectar at high speed.   ... read more

Celebrity pin up

WHO?        Antony Gormley WHY?        For his exploration of the space that a body ... read more

Wordless Wednesday in Borgo di Casignano

Does it still exist? The WW bit I ... read more

Doing it with vegetables: a bit of a rant on the part of garden designers

The non glossy but very cool Garden Design Journal often has a thought provoking contribution from Tim Richardson. His latest, for September,  will raise a show of hands from garden designers ... read more

Catalogue of desire

Catalogue time is here again.  All through the summer they have been thumping through the letter box.  A dusty pile ... read more

Pattern of the DAY

Chestnut trunk covered with lichen beards in Tuscan wood. ... read more

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 ... read more

WWOOFING: a short guide to success

“I cultivate 1 hectare of aromatic herbs and collect wild herbs too, I also have 2 hectares of woodland and 9 donkeys.  ... read more

Hot baths and the quest for the best tomato ever

[caption id="attachment_1201" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="succulents date"][/caption] Aqui Terme.  Town  of roses and water.   Show-off fountains and sparkling expanses of wet marble.  Sulpherous ... read more

What rose?Where?Which?Why?

March has crept in overcast and hand-wringing in East Anglia.  Late into the rose buying season, ... read more

GREAT DIXTER - from the Archives

The trouble with this garden is that you might never make it further than the car park.  Swinging in from the flatlands ... read more

The Death of Crumpet

I  remember her arrival vividly.  Ticking the weeks off on my fingers, it’s possible to work out the date accurately:   the ... read more

Border patrol: What looks good in the dog days

Once upon a time in the  garden in winter,  borders were put to bed, plants neatly clipped back to ground level ... read more

Plantaholic Post

Geranium psiliostemon is shocking magenta with a black eye.  The colour looks particularly good in a little bit of dappled ... read more

Sculpture gazing in Sussex: Cass Foundation

Flicking through a magazine, I came across pictures of a fish on a bicycle and a rubber palm tree  and knew that ... read more

Pattern of the DAY

We did end up buying a carpet on the recent Syrian trip.  Or it might be a rug or a ... read more

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 ... read more

Celebrity pin up

WHO?    Martha Schwartz WHY?    Transforming urban ... read more

Wordless Wednesday on 6.10.10

... read more

Pattern of the DAY

Hebe rakaiensis is sturdy and a stalwart evergreen small shrub that can behave in the box ball ... read more

Oh lovely Damascus.

Damascene rose, damask fabric and as the guidebook would have it, Dimashq.  The old town is an ellipse - bounded more or ... read more

Get that goat

Holiday Time and I am off to find this goat in Syria.  Or the friends of this goat. ... read more

Ambassador of autumn

Just when you had had it  with green, autumn brings on the other colours.  Senescence or the ageing process in ... read more

Playing with scale

There is a walk round here that I go on nearly every day.  The landscape is pretty spacious and empty.  We ... read more

Pattern of the DAY

Eighteenth century looking glass with embedded lenses. ... read more

Astonishing yellow to ward off Chicken licken skies

Rudbeckia fulgida, from the Asteraceae family and a familiar sight in a prairie planting, is a plant that you can ... read more

The World's Best Nurseries Series No 2.

I have never been to Avon Bulbs in person.  Once a year in autumn, a parcel arrives with contents ... read more

Soil rescue in the vegetable patch

Our vegetable harvest has been pretty much a complete flop.  We have giant pale marrows.  Watery and with skins like toenails. ... read more

Plantaholic Post

Sanguisorba officinalis Arnhem is tall and see-through so that you can peer out from behind  a clump as if looking  through ... read more

Weeds that deceive by lovely looks

Neither  a  slate platter of sushi or  a  weed salad. I had spent half a day in the vegetable plot.  To get ... read more

Best/worst front garden collection expanded a little

I have been a little too  terse with the best/worst front garden collection.  A bit of explanation is required.  In ... read more

Pattern of the DAY

The lovely phyllotaxy of the nettle.  Leaves are arranged in opposite pairs to catch maximum sunlight. ... read more

Celebrity pin up

WHO?          Carol Klein WHY?     ... read more

Plantaholic Post

Rosa x odorata 'Viridiflora'.  This rose would go well with either pistachio ice-cream or a dark red flowering clematis such as ... read more

Il Sacro Bosco. The Garden of Dreams.

Il Sacro Bosco is a wierd and perplexing garden set in a ravine below the town of Bomarzo in the Sabine ... read more

Best/worst front gardens

I rate this garden **** Starred listings explained:      1.  Call for a skip/    2.  Concrete over it/  3.  Covet ... read more

Ancestor Worship starts with Mordecai Cubitt Cooke

We’d made a plan to go and look at some graves.  A little  eccentric perhaps.  But in the spirit ... read more

Ignoring yesterday's mushroom

The meadows below our house are sprouting field mushrooms.  The formula is correct - cows and cowpats rotate with fairly marshy ... read more

Plantaholic Post

Pelargonium Leslie William Burrows.  Make no mistake, absolutely nothing to do with 'Naked Lunch'. ... read more

Pattern of the DAY

Mosaic floor of bedroom, Hadrian's Villa. ... read more

The World's Best Nurseries Series: No 1.

Whenever I go plant shopping, lingering time is built in.  The notebook, pencil and camera tag along.  There is nothing quite ... read more

Wordless Wednesday on 11.08.10

... read more

Top Ten Tips for drought in the garden

August is a time for frazzled lawns, thistledown parachutes and gaps in the flower-beds.  In ... read more

Pattern of the DAY

Bare wattles, unplastered,  on Sussex barn.  Exposing the bones of a timber-framed building. ... read more

Black List

What is it with ... read more

All going horribly wrong in the vegetable patch

For starters, a rat or mouse has been chomping on my oh so wierd squash zuccheta Serpente di Sicilia. ... read more

Strolling past this plant, it finally got the better of me

and I came home and looked it up in a book.  It's name is Chicorium intybus otherwise known as chicory.  It is ... read more

Trial fields and Wolsey woven together by Ernst Neto

[caption id="attachment_731" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="trial fields at Thompson and Morgan"][/caption] I had a very strange day that started with marvelling ... read more

Plantaholic post

I am in love with hollyhocks.  At the height of their magnificence right now,  they appear to peer down at shorties ... read more

Celebrity pin up

WHO?          ANTONY GORMLEY WHY?          Because his installation at White Cube, Mason's Yard was the coolest thing I saw last month. ... read more

Hestercombe garden: a lesson in stone

Garden designers like to talk  about hard and soft landscaping.    These two divide roughly into stone ... read more

In praise of with animal chorus

[caption id="attachment_690" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="on the pigs back"][/caption] As a self-confessed techno-phobe and luddite, I feel I am on the pig's ... read more

Plantaholic Post

Stipa tenuissima with Knautia macedonica and pale cranesbill, possibly Geranium Mrs Kendall Clarke.  Backlit by sun and ... read more

Pattern of the DAY

Designed in 1936, this is the gateway to the Spider Garden, Hoveton Hall, Norfolk. ... read more

Find your inner child at Terra Botanica

TERRA BOTANICA.    Never heard of it?  Just opened, it’s France’s brand spanking new theme park.  All about plants and ... read more

A weekend the colour of high summer

A weekend of the colour of high summer is over.    Latitude Festival is packing itself up right now. ... read more

Black List

It's a fantasy, I know.  Unseasonal and a  leftover from May's Chelsea but ... read more

Pattern of the DAY

An abstraction of rusty bedsprings. ... read more

Pattern of the DAY

Indentured vegetables. ... read more

Hampton Court palace flower show 2010: some impressions

[caption id="attachment_619" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="in aid of Over active bladders"]... read more

Drat that bracken

The first world war turned bracken into a serious menace.  The exodus of agricultural workers from the land and with that, ... read more

Monthly black list

A snazzy cultivar of the black elder.  Since I last looked it has aquired a ... read more

Celebrity pin up

WHO?       THIERRY HUAU WHY?        This man is behind the rebuilding of Beirut. ... read more

The Thames Barrier Park will shake you up a little

[caption id="attachment_599" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Thames Barrier"][/caption] On a visit to the Louvre, I found it weird and rather fascinating to go ... read more

Elephants and green walls

These elephants are made of fibre-glass, have been painted by artists and are to be auctioned by a charity, Elephant Family, ... read more

Hurray samphire time again

The question is: which is ... read more

Eye-catching hedges

It cannot be kept a secret: I have  a thing about hedges perfectly clipped, very ... read more

Owlish horror this weekend

At the last tree, the dog came off the lead.  Imnediately  she retrieved live to hand.   A small thing ... read more

Plantaholic Post

Camera has stolen a little of its soul.  Trollius chinensis 'Golden Queen' is more orange ... read more

This is the bed where Just Joey blooms

Can't think how the  bucket got in the picture.  An outward and visible sign of ... read more

Plantaholic Post

Sputnik plant has come to live with us.  Bought from a charming Frenchman who nurtures bonsai trees. Sputnik plant ... read more

All that was missing from the evening was Rupert Bear, truly

I have just returned from a completely magical evening ... read more

Bird on Head series one: Robert Adam

This is Edinburgh.  Overwhelmingly grey but lovely.  Scottish neoclassical architect, interior designer and furniture designer.  Adam, not the seagull. ... read more

Pattern of the DAY

This is a detail of the main door, St Maurice, Angers. ... read more

Monthly black list

I am almost heading for the weird and wild lands with the genus Arisaema, known as Cobra lilies.   They ... read more

Barbara Hepworth's sculpture garden in Cornwall - a lesson in planting

[caption id="attachment_466" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="sky in St Ives"][/caption] The hill down to St Ives is thronged with genteel boarding houses, ... read more

A stunning oppo to see the washed and brushed side of farming at Yesterday's Suffolk SHow

The Suffolk Show yesterday.     Hmmmmmmm - the washed and brushed side ... read more

Plantaholic Post

This is Lychnis flos-cuculi 'Jenny', related to hedgerow Ragged Robin.  Yes, I know it was all-over Chelsea ... read more

An Iris that looks like a Tibetan terrier?

The trouble with some plants is they shyly make themselves impossible to photograph, and this one, Iris germanica Vigilante, ... read more

Celebrity pin up

WHO?    BETH CHATTO WHY?     As Vidal Sassoon was to hairdos so Beth Chatto is to the garden. ... read more

pattern of the DAY

an intimate look at the stem of the monkey puzzle. Why exactly was the monkey puzzled? ... read more

Chelsea antya just sick of it? Let's talk rhododendrons..

[caption id="attachment_399" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="Exbury gardens"][/caption] On Sunday went to Exbury Gardens  on the Beaulieu River, Hampshire.  It was at its rhody ... read more

Cranium man at #Chelsea Flower Show

Hard at work on last minute preening before judging on Monday ... read more

Don't miss these gardens at Chelsea Flower Show

[caption id="attachment_365" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="garden by Decembrini and Zanzi at Chelsea"][/caption] ... read more

Plantaholic Post

Pennisetum massaicum Red Buttons looking seriously good on the Knoll stand at Chelsea Flower Show.  Likes a sunny ... read more

Hippopotamus motions a table this week at Chelsea Flower Show

Dine out on it? ... read more

Carnivorous plant judges at Chelsea Flower Show

Judging away yesterday in the mid-day swelter. ... read more

Oh no a surfeit of church rooves AND insomnia

but the upside of not being in bed asleep is that  I can ... read more

Victorianarama at Chelsea

[caption id="attachment_329" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Cattleya Orchid and 3 Hummingbirds. 1871 oil on panel MJ Heade. c National Gallery of Art, Washington DC"]... read more

An unusual way to wean a pup

[caption id="attachment_341" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="15th century angel roof"]... read more

Pattern of the DAY

[caption id="attachment_349" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="early 14th century church roof"][/caption] Scissor-braced, seven-canted roof ... read more

Pattern of the DAY

Lovely ploughed field in Suffolk. ... read more

Tulip embarrassment strikes again

Oh no what has happened here?    The ... read more

Monthly Black List

[caption id="attachment_286" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="Paeonia delaveyi"][/caption] Paeonia delaveyi makes it into May's list for its tempestuous dark foliage.  For this ... read more

Plantaholic Post

Lovely peony with joke name Paeonia mlokosewitchii transcendental in Sunday's rain.  Less yellow than usual. ... read more

Trilliums run riot in nut grove

Taking over along with white bluebulls, regal fern and our ladies bed straw.  Superb ground cover at Sissinghurst ... read more

So this is it - off to see the Bishop in Kent

Loved the Bish who presided over a long confirmation service in a very plain Edwardian Church.  We are ... read more

Pattern of the DAY

a detail of Fulani cloth - someone told me it was a bathmat for a tribal elder but that might ... read more

Update on plug plant experiment

I've just been for an early morning stroll in the garden with bare cold feet.  Peering into my ... read more

Plantaholic Post

This is Omphalodes cappadocica 'Cherry Ingram'.  Lucky her,  I would love to have this sparkling blue patch of ... read more

I promised to post Cottage Garden pictures

[caption id="attachment_244" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="cottage garden planting"][/caption] and while I am thinking what to write about the fabulous garden that ... read more

Pattern of the DAY

The lovely leaves of Heuchera 'Chocolate Ruffles' .  Try it with Alchemilla ... read more

The extent of the tragedy

This tree is - or was - my friend Panda's prize possession.  The tree - a 300 year ... read more

Design tip with Macaws

So how  do you liven up that  austere area of gravel, low hedges and grass in front of ... read more

In praise of cardboard

Our vegetable patch is 2 winter's old.  We went for the 1.2  metre wide beds (a la Joy ... read more

Celebrity pin-up of the Month

WHO?    Richard Mabey WHY?  Because he has championed our native flora and fauna.  He writes beauttifully and makes me feel ... read more

My old house

is the really yellow one.  I stayed with friends on Thursday night and drove through Lavenham yesterday morning. ... read more

Marauding chickens

I met Lyn for the first time a week or two back.  She was standing in ... read more

Stalking my Cottage Garden

The cottage garden is just that  - a bit of everything from vegetables, to dahlias through ponds and roses.  It is an undesigned sort of place,  but practical can be beautiful. ... read more

Pattern of the DAY

Part of the  13th century Cosmati pavement in San Crisogono, Trastevere, Rome ... read more

Plantaholic Post

[caption id="attachment_154" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Tulipa Antraciet"][/caption] Tulupa Antraciet, a double late flowering tulip, is in flower right now. ... read more

I have to tell you a little bit more

[caption id="attachment_104" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="Tudor courtyard of Okenhill Hall, Suffolk"][/caption] about Okenhill Hall, near the castled town ... read more

Celebrity pin-up of the Month

WHO?  Dan Pearson WHY?  Because he is articulate, a  top notch plantsman and  good looking too.  He walks quietly through the ... read more

Travelling about Suffolk on a sunny, sunny Friday

Yesterday was balmy - sunlight and blossom and the unfurling of new leaves.   I met my friend Georgina for ... read more

Pattern of the DAY

[caption id="attachment_99" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="patterned brickwork at Okenhill Hall"][/caption] A swatch of magnificent Tudor brickwork at Okenhill Hall - this is ... read more

That proves it

DON'T do what I did and choose your flowers from the pictures in the catalogue.  The colours will be totally wrong, ... read more

Pattern of the DAY

Has to be this trunk spotted in Botanic Gardens, Rome ... read more

Plug plants

Plug plants are just that - of a size to scramble to fill the bath plughole.  Lots of nurseries offer them for sale - flip through the weekend gardening pages and ... read more

Mellow Yellow

Am I alone in finding last week's radio rant  about daffodils in the countryside  just a little bit wierd? ... read more

Oh No what has happened to my daffodils?

What I have pictured here is a seriously naff daff which has arrived unbidden in our garden. We had, alas, ... read more

Growing Plants Up Walls

Beds, borders and pots are all very well but don’t overlook your walls – almost all houses look softer clothed in foliage and really ugly ones can hide behind the makeover ... read more

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 ... read more

Reclaiming Old Trees

COUNTRY GARDEN I know a man who looks like God in the Sistine Chapel, bestowing life on Adam.  Angus,  bearded of course, is an absolute whizz at restoring old orchards.  He will ... read more

Spring Planting

COUNTRY GARDENER [caption id="attachment_14" align="alignleft" width="180" caption="Beautifully pleached tree"][/caption] Let March invoke a paean to pleaching.  This old word is defined as ... read more

Stoned and Rocked

in Japanese Gardens

Stoned and Rocked  in Japanese Gardens   1000 rocks from the coast were chosen.  Each one individually wrapped in silk for protection and taken to a Zen garden in Kyoto.   This  town, the former ... read more