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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Going Potty

If the pandemic has taught us one thing, it’s to look after our mental health. If it’s taught us another, it’s to look out for others’ wellbeing at the same time. Having been vulnerable to depression and anxiety in my youth, these days I consider myself fairly robust. Even so, at the start of this […]

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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 […]

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