A Moment In The Gin & Tonic Garden

Once in a while one’s garden has a ‘moment’, a brief period of time when everything comes together to create a picture-perfect scene and an exhilarating feeling. ‘Moments’ can be planned, but never guaranteed: nature and serendipity play far too great a part. A garden’s finest hour can be elevated to new levels by a […]

Read More

The Watch House Awaits

The pots are all planted and in position, their arrangements have been checked from every angle, adjusted and appraised again. Happy with the result, we finally feel ready for our garden opening this weekend. It’s been a long and winding road to get here. A cold, harsh winter and very late spring put us on […]

Read More

Here Comes Summer!

The title of of this post is tongue-in-cheek given I’m sat at my desk with rain pattering on the skylight and a brisk draught whipping around my ankles. Three weeks of ‘too-good-to-be-true’ weather ended, here in the South East of England at least, with an almighty thunder storm last Wednesday. More storms on Thursday were […]

Read More

Arctic April

It has been the strangest month; cold – indeed the frostiest April in sixty years – and desert-dry. Although we’ve escaped spring frosts here on the East Kent coast, it has been bitter day-in, day-out, with desiccating winds blowing in from the north and east. Most days I have returned from walking the dogs feeling […]

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

The Beast Is Back

Our garden is not designed for snow. In the fifteen years I’ve lived at The Watch House, I can only recall it snowing four times. The first occasion was during the build in 2008, when it snowed in April. This struck me as unusual. Perhaps it was a sign that I should choose my plants […]

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

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

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

Beginning with Brugmansias

I’ve been getting increasingly frustrated with myself for posting so infrequently. Okay, so I no longer have a long commute to London and I can’t wait to get out from behind my laptop at the end of each working day, but surely there must be time to draft a post or two? Seemingly not. Then […]

Read More