Hampton Court Flower Show 2018: The Santa Rita ‘Living La Vida 120’ Garden

  I am becoming predictable. Just as at Chelsea, it was a contemporary garden featuring a blast of vibrant yellow and a generous entertaining space that captured my imagination at Hampton Court. In spite of the tongue-twisting name (henceforth I shall refer to it simply as the Santa Rita Garden), this was one of the […]

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How to Persuade Agapanthus to Flower

  It’s a good year for agapanthus here at The Watch House. A rough count of the flower heads produced by Agapanthus africanus tops 60, which is not the most I’ve ever enjoyed, but is the best in recent years. An increased amount of shade in the garden has not helped – more on which […]

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Midnight Blooms

  I have a new torch and I don’t mind admitting I am rather taken with it. The last one was indestructible but about as useful as a chocolate teapot, emitting a feeble yellow light even at close quarters. It consumed batteries at an alarming rate, going flat at precisely the moment it was needed. […]

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In The Garden This Week: Clashing Colours

Royal blue and orange, canary yellow and purple, candy pink and red, fresh lime and magenta – our coastal garden is packed with clashing colours during August. I love, cherish and celebrate them all. Whether the combinations are technically right or a little bit wrong, who cares? They are fleeting moments that perhaps only I […]

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Que Sera Sera ….

… Whatever will be will be, as the song goes. I have reached a point now where all I can do is clean and tidy in preparation for our house guests. The garden is in good shape, although we could have done with warmer weather to coax some of the flowers into bloom. The forecast for […]

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A Touch of Frost

Last week Jack Frost paid the South East a visit, spreading his icy fingers over fields, woods and gardens. The scenes at sunrise were breathtaking, a great satsuma of a sun illuminating layer after layer of petrified countryside. I was lucky enough to be out and about in Berkshire on one of those magical mornings, watching the day […]

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Stars of the Solstice

The winter solstice is the longest night and shortest day of the year, this year falling on Sunday December 21st. The Earth’s axis tilts the furthest away from the sun at 23-and-a-half degrees, giving all locations north of the equator less than 12 hours of daylight. This pivotal moment in the calendar has been marked by […]

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The Watch House NGS Open Weekend 2014

It was about this time last year when our friend Beth began twisting our arm to open for the National Gardens Scheme. We took the plunge, and in February found ourselves numbered 104 on the map of Kent in the famous Yellow Book. On the eve of this weekend it still seemed unlikely to me that […]

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Gardening Leave

No, I haven’t quit my job or been given my marching orders, but I have taken a couple of days off to prepare the garden for our National Gardens Scheme open days this weekend. I am fastidious at the best of times, but risk turning a little bit obsessive-compulsive over the next 24 hours. Suddenly […]

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Jungle Warfare

At a certain point each year our seaside garden passes from a neat, orderly state into jungly bedlam. It becomes increasingly hard to move around without getting swiped in the face by a wayward lily, tripped by a flailing jasmine or toppled by a booby-trapped begonia. Getting to the front door requires a machete, if we can find it in […]

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