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 a source of water before summer drought.  The busting into leaf and flower comes from energy suppled by a modified root and shoot system stored in their fleshy cells. Photosynthesis and pollination accomplished, they…

Why I did not visit Jupiter Artland

Visitors to the  Edinburgh Festival and its cuckoo offspring, the Fringe, will find themselves beetling about from venue to venue in a mad rush to fit everything in.  In the frantic scurry-about, wearing down shoe-leather, the beauty of Edinburgh’s setting and architecture seeps into the soul. This year we decided to take in landscapes as…

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 La Ragnaia in San Givanni d’Asso is anything but a bird-trapping domain.  He gardens carefully, in harmony with nature and and the sprites and goods in his wood and field.

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.

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).

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.

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 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….