The Magical Landscapes of Disneyland Paris

  There is something especially delightful about going on a holiday that one hasn’t organised. Perhaps it’s the element of surprise, or the ability to shirk responsibility for anything that goes awry. Either way one can sit back and – quite literally in the case of my recent holiday – enjoy the ride. I am […]

Read More

Watergate House, Fordwich: A Modern Romantic Garden

The town of Fordwich has the distinction of being the smallest in England. Situated on the River Stour, which connects Canterbury with the English Channel, it was to Fordwich that the Normans shipped tonnes of pale Caen stone to build the city’s cathedral. At Watergate House the precious cargo arrived safely on English soil after […]

Read More

34 Cross Road, Walmer: A Garden For All Senses

Living and gardening by the coast, I find my senses become attuned to a very specific set of sensations: the sound of seagulls, restless wind and tourists dispossessed of their volume control; the smell of seaweed and fish and chips; the feel of salt in my hair and sun on my cheeks. So when I […]

Read More

Hostas and Heritage

  It was a nice surprise to return home from Cornwall to find the latest Plant Heritage Journal waiting on my doormat. Some weeks ago I was asked very politely if I would mind a photograph of Hosta ‘Patriot’, one that I took in my former London garden, being used for the front cover of […]

Read More

Godolphin Rises

As I make my way home from Cornwall I have time between snoozes to reflect on how lovely the last few days have been. The weather has been vastly better in the West Country and England’s gardens are sprinkled with a floral confetti of pink, white, yellow, blue and mauve. (In Cornwall, thanks to a […]

Read More

Cornwall Spring Flower Show 2018

As great days out go, I rank a visit to the Cornwall Spring Flower Show up there with Chelsea and Sissinghurst. It’s a special day for many reasons. The setting alone, deep in rolling parkland at Boconnoc near Lostwithiel, makes it worth a trip from near or far. The Boconnoc Estate has been at the […]

Read More

Trewidden, Cornwall: Anything But Magnolia

It’s been a cruel winter for spring flowering shrubs and trees. Today at Trewidden in Cornwall we witnessed the impact of subzero temperatures and six inches of snow on gardens that rarely experience such harshness. Rhodendron buds and tree fern fronds stood blackened and lifeless against a benign blue sky. Yet beneath the burnt and […]

Read More

RHS London Orchid Show & Plant Fair 2018

Orchids are extraordinary flowers. They display remarkable diversity in colour, size and form. Some are scented, some are designed to entrap insects and few, like vanilla (Vanilla planifolia), produce edible seed pods. Among the 28,000 currently known and accepted orchid species, many are cultivated and inevitably there are still new species to be found in […]

Read More

The Late Late April Show

Spring is arriving in slow motion at The Watch House. I’ve been watching a single bud of Narcissus ‘Golden Ducat’ striving to open for ten days, willing it to reveal the acid-yellow petals tightly furled within. My clematis have been held in suspended animation since early February, their tender shoots primed and raring to go. […]

Read More

10 Easy Flowering Bulbs to Plant For Summer Colour

  There are few plants as rewarding and foolproof to grow as those that sprout from bulbs, corms, tubers and rhizomes. Among their number we can count favourites such as gladioli, begonias, lilies, dahlias, amaryllis and nerines, alongside lesser known, exotic beauties such as habranthus (Brazilian copperlily), gloriosa (glory lily), eucomis (pineapple lily), eremurus (foxtail […]

Read More