Strange Fruit

After 3 weeks of part self, part snow-induced exile, I returned to the seaside last night during an icy gale that would’ve had an Inuit running for his furs.  I expected to be welcomed by a few mushy looking plants, but immediately I stepped through the gate there was a disgusting squelch, followed quickly by another.  In […]

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Jobs for October and Early November

I always think good gardening calls for a certain type of ruthlessness. Never is that quality more needed than at this time of year when almost everything has become overblown and top heavy. It’s fine to sedately mow and deadhead your way through summer, but there’s no room for sentimentality when it comes to autumn […]

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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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Summer’s Here!

Having so often mentioned the terrible, rain-soaked summer we’ve been having I feel it’s only reasonable to acknowledge that the sun is finally out. The weather has turned hot (and humid) just in time for the opening of the Olympics, bringing London to life and turning the Underground into a sauna. The fish in the […]

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Welcome to the Jungle

One thing this weather is good for is making things grow…..really fast.  We arrived back home this morning and opened the gate to find a veritable jungle of dripping foliage and fragrant flowers.  The Holboellia latifolia has gone completely berserk, with long thin tendrils flailing about above our heads.  This aggressive climber was probably a mistake and is […]

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The Joys of the Road

As we drove down to the coast this morning, I couldn’t help noticing just how green and lush the countryside looked compared to a normal July.  Instead of taking on the golden highlights of midsummer, nature is still wearing its verdant green spring cloak.  On a steep motorway embankment old man’s beard (Clematis vitalba) cascaded […]

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Summer scents

July is the month when our seaside garden is at its most fragrant. In a normal year we’ll spend many happy evenings outside, enjoying the scent of the regal lilies (Lilium regale) and star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides). They always smell more potent and heady after dark, their white flowers glowing in the twilight. Less romantically, […]

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Sensational Sissinghurst (Part 1 – Wall Flowers)

The gardens of Sissinghurst Castle in Kent must be amond the best known in England, if not the whole of Europe.  They are the creation of two people, Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicholson, who arrived at the property in 1930.  Over a period of 32 years they worked together on this gentle masterpiece, […]

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Other People’s Gardens No.2 – Goodnestone Park, Kent (Part 2)

One thing all this rain and cool weather has been good for is prolonging the flowering period of spring and early summer plants.  Back in March my daffodils seemed to go on for weeks, when in other years a hot spell has sent them over in a matter of days.  So it was a nice surprise […]

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Other People’s Gardens No.2 – Goodnestone Park, Kent (Part 1)

Despite the showers, we set off after lunch for one of east Kent’s finest gardens.  That could be read as faint praise, given east Kent has a complete dearth of good gardens open to the public.  However, Goodnestone is a fabulous, intimate garden which is at its absolute best this month.   It’s a garden that steers a happy […]

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