How To Prepare Your Garden For A Spring Cold Snap

Over the last week we’ve been blessed with glorious spring weather. Sunshine and temperatures in the high teens and twenties (ºC) have, quite literally, made the garden blossom. It’s been a delight to be outside, getting jobs done and feeling the warmth on our backs, but don’t let a mild spell lull you into a […]

Read More

Hurrah! the Ides of March

Our garden is at its lowest ebb from early February until the Ides of March, on the 15th of the month. Battered by gales laden with salt and sand, scorched by snow and starved of light, everything but the eternal evergreens* is pale, frazzled or mushy. I try to like what I see, but I […]

Read More

Book Review – The Kinfolk Garden

I am generally reticent about writing book reviews. However, when the first couple of critiques I read online are comedically scathing, my interest is piqued. Can a book really be that awful, or is it the reviewers that I should call into question? I must judge for myself. Having received my copy of The Kinfolk […]

Read More

Iris Reticulata ‘Pauline’

In an exciting new development, the following post can now be enjoyed as a podcast as well as in text and photographs. Cultivars of Iris reticulata have enjoyed regular and enthusiastic coverage in this blog over the years. There are two good reasons for this. First, they bloom in February when few other plants are […]

Read More

February Flowers

It’s that time of year when galanthophiles (the polite name for snowdrop bores) start to bombard social media with images of their pearly-white treasures. Whilst I would not go as far as to say ‘they all look the same to me’, it’s certainly the case that one must be a) an ardent lover of winter, […]

Read More

Baby steps (towards spring)

Every weekend is pretty much the same during the lockdown. A time to catch up on sleep, to read, phone friends and family, make lists, walk the dogs, eat, drink and do a few jobs outside. There are a great many substantial projects that need to be tackled at The Watch House: fixing the roof, […]

Read More

Hairnets and Harry Wheatcroft – The Chelsea Flower Show in 1973

The Beau is a thoughtful chap. For my birthday earlier this week he managed to track down a copy of the Chelsea Flower Show catalogue from the year of my birth, 1973. Whilst the cover design leaves much to be desired, the contents allow me to draw some fascinating comparisons with the modern-day. Most striking […]

Read More

A Bookish Birthday

You might well assume that I’d had enough of being busy doing nothing over the Christmas holidays. That’s certainly not the case. Over the last year I have embraced ‘down time’ like never before. Perhaps it’s my age, or The Beau’s positive influence; maybe it’s simply having the time to entertain periods of relaxation instead […]

Read More

A Year of Plotting

January 2020 After waiting only four months, we got the news that we had reached the top of the allotment waiting list: if we were still interested, would we like to come and choose the one we wanted? Yes, we were still very much interested, although, I have to admit, I was a little hesitant […]

Read More

BITTERSWEET MEMORIES OF 2020

The year 2020. Where to begin? It’s tempting to dive straight into the obvious negatives – and let’s face it that would be rich territory – but I’m prepared to stick my neck out and say that in many respects it has been a good year, for us at least. I hope you won’t think […]

Read More

SEASON’S GREETINGS FROM THE WATCH HOUSE

Hello One and All! It’s been a while. Like everyone else, The Beau and I have been ducking and diving, trying to tackle this crazy year unscathed. Arriving at the eve of Christmas feels like an achievement in itself, although it’s not come a moment too soon for our sanity. That said, we are all […]

Read More

planting ahead

The first draft of this post began with a rather gloomy assessment of the year’s events. By the time I reached the third paragraph I had bored myself, which is never a good start. Besides, who really needs reminding of 2020’s shortcomings? Shortly after beginning again I learned of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ victory […]

Read More

Whatever the Weather

Since the end of August the garden has taken one battering after another. In Broadstairs we have experienced gales from every point on the compass, heavy rain and unusually chilly nights. By the end of September both the Jungle Garden and the Gin & Tonic Garden looked more like they usually do in early November. […]

Read More

The House by the Lane

‘Chyanvounder’: ‘Chy’ meaning house and ‘vounder’ meaning lane in the Cornish language. We have made three attempts to visit Cornwall this year. The first was thwarted by the untimely demise of The Beau‘s ill fated Mini Cooper. Dreams of a second sojourn were ended by lockdown. Thankfully it was to be third time lucky this […]

Read More

Getting Away From It All

Like many folk, we’ve barely spent a night away from home since the New Year. I love The Watch House with all my heart, but being there is not a holiday. Everywhere I look there’s a job to be done: a plant to be watered, a bulb to be planted, a wall to be painted […]

Read More

Glut Instinct

“Growing your own produce is great if you want no food, then 400 tomatoes, then nothing, then 120 cucumbers, then nothing, then 3 carrots that weren’t eaten by the local wildlife, then 40 weird looking courgettes, of which only 3 are edible.” This quote pretty accurately describes where we are right now with our allotment. We […]

Read More