Kitchen Sink Drama

Not a square inch of my tiny garden goes uncultivated. Over the years I’ve found plants that enjoy, or at least tolerate, every environment I have to offer, from bright sunshine to deep shade, and from exposed to sheltered. It’s involved a process of trial and error that will be familiar to every gardener. There […]

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In Search of the Surreal

No visit to Cornwall is complete without a spot of plant shopping. The nurseries in the county I consider home are among the best in the country, particularly for the kinds of plants I am interested in. As a rule, the further south west you go, the more gem-like the nurseries become: there’s Penberth Plants […]

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Omens

  “I laugh because I must not cry. That is all. That is all.” Abraham Lincoln To say our current travails with the building project have taken their toll would be an understatement. At times over the last few weeks I have just caught myself before having an attack of the vapours. After taking a […]

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A Tale of Two Gardens

  Nurturing two gardens eighty eight miles apart is mainly a blessing, but sometimes a curse. The task becomes tricky if we want to take a holiday, spend more time in one place than the other, or if we hit a dry, wet or windy spell, which is all too often. Each scenario comes with […]

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The Winds of Change

I’ve just come in from the garden, where the temperature has dropped dramatically since lunchtime. A brisk, rain-laden breeze has whipped up, carrying away summer’s last whispers. I fear autumn is finally here. This means one thing – it’s time to prepare the garden for winter and spring. Stoic dahlias are plodding on, albeit with slightly smaller flowers […]

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Triumph Over Adversity – Tresco Abbey Garden

When, in 1834, the handsome Augustus Smith secured the lease for the Isles of Scilly, I wonder if he was aware of the legacy he was to leave behind? The son of a wealthy Hertfordshire family he had the resources and energy required of the newly styled Lord Proprietor. He set about improving employment and education […]

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Aeonium Envy

I have loved a great many aeoniums, and lost a few too. Not to frost, which is is their main enemy in UK gardens, but to lack of sunshine and a mysterious, munching caterpillar. Back at home in Broadstairs they demand some winter protection indoors, which invariably results in pale, anaemic leaves. These are quickly […]

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Uncouth Cats and Kamikaze Kisses

On Saturday we a had a visitation from the Assistant County Organiser for the Kent National Gardens Scheme. So naturally, what could go wrong promptly went wrong. Eager to impress I was up at the crack of dawn to prepare for our inspection. The weather was a dream – sunny and breezy with the morning […]

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Classy Clivia

A few years back my partner’s mother gave us an offset of one of the many clivias that bask in her front porch.  The lucky escapee has since languished in our bathroom, on an east facing window ledge, where it appears to be very happy.  For most of the year the glossy but fairly unexciting […]

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A Moment of Drought

Some things are just not meant to be.  I set off, already late, to visit Eltham Palace.  Once the home of the Courtaulds this famous Art Deco house is now in the capable hands of English Heritage. Within spitting distance of my destination a rear tyre blew out, resulting in very long journey down to […]

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